The Dad Diary
Santa Claus is a mighty fella altogether.
Do you know he watches all the children all over the world to see if they’re eating their dinner, going to bed on time, staying in bed until morning and generally being good?
Frankie and Éamon are utterly amazed by this magic.
And of course it helps Mammy and Daddy to keep order on things too.
Éamon has some doubts though. He reckons Santa cannot see into his bedroom, as it is ‘too dark’.
I’m explaining to a three-year- old about the concept of an all-seeing, all-powerful figure, and he cannot get his head around it. Maybe he’s going to be an atheist.
Frankie is much more faithful. Indeed, we’re using the concept of the nursery rhyme ‘Wee Willie Winkie’ to good effect with her for the rest of the year.
Wee Willie Winkie runs through the town,
Upstairs and downstairs in his nightgown;
Rapping at the window, crying through the lock,
“Are the children in their beds?
Now it’s eight o’clock.”
It’s slightly creepy but mightily effective for Frankie’s bedtime at 8pm. And Frankie found the rhyme, not us, I must add.
But imagine the rush for the remote one day when a different version of it came up in a cartoon where instead of 8pm it was 10pm. I nearly tore my hamstring!
Frankie’s biggest concern now is who is watching over her at night, Santa or Wee Willie Winkie.
With being in national school, Frankie has grasped the excitement of Christmas much more this year than last. And Éamon is feeding off that too, so both of them are revelling in the build-up.
We went to see Santa in Keel on Sunday and they were amazed that Santa could be in Achill while also ensuring all the toys in the North Pole were being arranged at the same time.
Two weeks before we ventured to Smyth’s in Claremorris to see if they saw anything in particular they wanted to ask Santa for. Of course the answer was everything they laid their eyes on.
But we still got a better feel for what was at the top of the list.
We made a bit of an adventure out of it too, driving to Castlebar and hopping on the train to Claremorris.
It was their first time on a train and they were agog.
We walked from the station to Smyth’s, a ten-minute walk. When we headed back that way an hour later the rain started to lash. Of course it wasn’t forecast. The best laid plans….
We made our way along, stopping for shelter where we could. Eventually, the realisation dawned we were not going to make it all the way without getting soaked, so we took cover and I called a friend in Claremorris who kindly agreed to our rescue and taxi us to the station.
While we were waiting, both Frankie and Éamon said they needed to go to the toilet and Frankie was upset at getting wet from the rain.
She looked at me, with tears in her eyes and informed me: “Daddy, you should have brought the car.”
She was right but, unlike Santa, I am not an all-seeing, all-powerful individual.
In his fortnightly column, Edwin McGreal charts the ups and downs of the biggest wake-up call of his life: parenthood.