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Party poopers

Nurturing

The Dad Diary
Edwin McGreal

Frankie doesn’t know it yet but she’s unlikely to be having a big birthday party this year.
She turns four on November 21 and is already talking about her birthday party and how all of her friends are going to ‘come and play with me and Éamon’.
She doesn’t watch the news – just as well, says you – and so is not up to speed with the latest restrictions which forbid household visits.
As it was, before that announcement last week, Level 3 meant only visitors from one other house, so even then any birthday party would be a very exclusive guest list.
Either that or you could rotate who visits, but that would be far from the spirit of the guidelines.
So one of these days, we’re going to have to explain gently to Frankie that there won’t be a big birthday party. She has a habit of asking ‘Why?’ in response to every single statement you make, so I think that word will be in high usage that day. Once the tears stop, of course.
But, no more than Halloween, just because you cannot visit or receive visitors, it doesn’t mean you cannot make it a great day.
So we will spoil her. Have loads of fun and make the most of things.
And every cloud has a silver lining, so at least the noise levels that come with a gaggle of three and four year olds running around the house will be markedly absent.
It’s a pity though. No more than that, no less.
It is the first year she is really aware of her birthday coming up and really excited about having a party. This is not a moan, more of a gentle lament. People have found themselves in far worse situations as a result of Covid. We’ve been incredibly lucky, in fact. I’m just not sure Frankie has grasped the importance of perspective yet!
Éamon turned two on September 3. We’d a small gathering that evening at home and he visited his grandparents in Breaffy a couple of weeks later for a small party there. He wouldn’t have noticed if we didn’t do it. He was in his element, of course, with presents and cake going around, but there was no excitement in advance. He just wouldn’t grasp it.
Frankie has told us the names of all her friends she wants to attend her party. It’s basically everyone in her playschool class.
If she’s not talking about that, she’s talking excitedly about Halloween and trick or treating. Another discussion that won’t end well.
But the great thing about kids is that they get over things very quickly, once the next bit of excitement comes along.
Kids Frankie’s age don’t know it yet, thankfully, but there’s millions of people who would gladly trade their problems.

In his fortnightly column, Edwin McGreal charts the ups and downs of the biggest wake-up call of his life: parenthood.



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