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Waiting for the arrival

Nurturing

The Dad Diary
Edwin McGreal

By the time you read this, there’s every chance our family will have grown in number.
Baby number three is due today, January 12, but at the time of writing we’ve no news to report. So now we’re enjoying the final few days of life with just the four of us.
Frankie, four since November, is very curious about the new baby. She loves feeling it kick and is always asking Aisling how’s she’s feeling.
“Are you okay Mammy? Is the baby kicking you?” she will ask sympathetically.
Of course she’s also capable of coming out with anything as far as pregnancy is concerned.
A walk through the town of Castlebar before Christmas saw us encounter a male relative of mine who shall remain nameless. Frankie starting pointing to his impressive belly and before we could intercept, she asked, “Have you got a baby in your belly?”
In fairness, he took it better than most would.
Éamon, two since September, is either less aware of the impending arrival or simply trying to ignore the reality that soon he won’t be the baby of the house. We’re not quite sure which.
“What’s in Mammy’s belly?” I often ask him.
“A doggy,” he will invariably answer before changing the subject with all the skill of a politician trying to duck out of a controversy.
So we’re not sure how he will react but are hoping his mainly kind and friendly nature with people will see him through.
It was a Christmas with a difference for us. We didn’t visit anywhere on Christmas Day, like a lot of people. Aisling is considered in the vulnerable strata of society because she is heavily pregnant so we’ve been very careful in recent weeks.
So Christmas Day was a day when the four of us had all our fun at home and it was lovely.
Frankie was over the moon with what Santa brought her, the long-awaited ‘unicorn bike’.
Éamon loves his Vtech track and Frankie loves having a go too. Telling them that ‘sharing is caring’ works a lot of the time, but not always!
Éamon is fond of climbing up on Frankie’s bike even though he cannot reach the pedals.
They have both knocked huge fun out of a toy Dyson vacuum and a Hetty cleaning kit. We’ll see how long they stay eager to tidy up as they grow older.
Frankie started on stabilisers but was confined to indoors with wet and windy weather. We got enough of a clearing on New Year’s Day to try cycling outdoors and to see if she could manage without stabilisers.
I was holding onto her saddle and letting go without her realising for a few seconds at a time. She was getting there but kept telling me to ‘hold onto me’.
Next thing, after about an hour’s work, I’m on a quick phone call and Frankie tells me to turn around. “Look at me Daddy!” And there she is cycling on her own.
It’s a lovely milestone and she’s got better and better since. Which is just as well, because we might need to send her on the bike to do some shopping once number three arrives.

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