The world gets a little bigger


The Dad Diary
Edwin McGreal

Aisling is a big believer in the ability to jinx things, as are a lot of people. Don’t say ‘The baby is gone to sleep’ because uttering such will definitely wake him. Don’t say ‘Isn’t it great the kids haven’t been sick all winter’ because if you do, they’re sure to get an infection the very next day.  
I’ll be advising Aisling not to read this week’s column so. Because, whisper it quietly, things feel like they are starting to get just a little bit easier.
I won’t lie, the first three months with Séimí here were far from simple at times. Lockdown severely curtailed a lot of the supports we would be used to, so there was no naíonra for Frankie, no childminding, no wider family supports, no trips out for meals, no long drives.
We couldn’t visit people or receive visits. It’s only when outdoor meetings were allowed again and the 5k lifted with the easing of restrictions that we realise what a solace they are.
Frankie and Éamon got to see some of their cousins last week for the first time this year. They were non-stop outside, playing on the trampoline, cycling, running and having lots of fun.
It makes the day for everyone. Myself and Aisling can take turns to mind Séimí, who is becoming more settled himself and content to be lying down on his play mat or bouncing in his bouncer for longer periods of time.
Now easier is a relative concept of course.
For us, it means having ten minutes to sit down and eat dinner together while the kids played outside with their cousin. Séimí’s aunt, seeing him for the first time, gladly held him.
It felt like a date!
Such days have been repeated a couple of times since restrictions eased. We’ve really been reminded about all that we missed out on in the earlier part of this year. It helps us appreciate some things that we may have taken for granted before.
The weather has been another big boon of late. Séimí’s first three months were January, February and March, and the weather that those months usually promise was delivered in 2021.
With Frankie (4), Éamon (2) and Séimí (just gone three months) all in the one house and very little outlets available, it was a test of creativity for different ways to keep the older kids busy, active and engaged.
We managed it – I think – without too many rows, but it is fair to say that it is easier for small kids when they have a wider range of options of activities and things to do in a given day, indoors and outdoors, home and away.
And then there was Séimí. Newborns are so utterly dependent on you for surviving.
There’s a flock of lambs in the field next door. These little creatures run around giddily within hours of being born. Meanwhile, newborn babies need to have their hands covered for months so they won’t damage their skin or eyes by scrapping themselves.
But Séimí is getting much more content and settled now, the days are getting longer, the restrictions are easing and the dial in the house can be moved from utter chaos to just everyday chaos.
Unless I jinx it, of course.

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