Mixed milestones


The Dad Diary
Edwin McGreal

The milestones are coming thick and fast in this house and while they’re usually something to celebrate, some of them bring a mixed reaction.
Top billing though has to go to Éamon who has learned how to cycle a bike in the past two weeks. He won’t be four until September so he is well chuffed with himself, especially when he is told that his older sister didn’t learn until a few weeks after her fourth birthday. The sibling rivalry is real!
While I taught Frankie, Aisling can take the credit with Éamon. Finding time to do something one to one with them is not easy, especially if it is outdoors and weather reliant.
But one day Séimí wouldn’t go for a nap, and we were presented an opportunity. I brought him in the car for the surefire sleep, and I wasn’t gone ten minutes when I was sent a video of the buck cycling around the house without so much of a wobble.
He had been using a balance bike for well over a year before and that definitely had him ready. For the uninitiated a balance bike is a small toddler bike without pedals which kids push along with their feet and get more and more confident with their feet off the ground for longer. Cycling a bike is the logical progression from there. I’d highly recommend this route rather than stabilisers, which can be counterproductive.
So going for a walk with the two older kids around Dooega is lovely now with them both pedaling away.
Frankie made her own little progress last week too. She’s been playing with the Achill Under-6 Gaelic football team since last year but in recent weeks an insatiable desire to practise and improve has come over her.
It hasn’t been that I, as a football lover, have been haranguing her, honest! No, she’s developed the interest organically and is constantly practising in the house, much to Aisling’s annoyance and my quiet satisfaction!
I was showing her how to solo the last day and she mastered it so quickly on her right foot that I got her to try on her left foot and, et voilà, she nailed that too. Now, it might be a bit of a Kevin O’Neill solo (if you know, you know) but she is on the right (and left) road.
Séimí? Well he has started to climb – and how… If I was sending a text message, now is where I would use the rolling-eyes emoji. Not only can he climb onto the couch but onto the back of it. Take him down and he goes straight back up so you have to man-mark him constantly.
If only we had someone in the house eager to learn all the fundamentals of Gaelic football defending.

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