Time warps and head melts


The Dad Diary
Edwin McGreal

Frankie and Éamon were looking at photos and a video of our wedding day recently and wanted to know why they weren’t in them.
The wedding was in 2014, Frankie was born in 2016 and Éamon two years later.
“No, ye weren’t at it guys,” I told them.
“Who was minding us so?” Frankie retorted. I could just have said ‘Nana’ for an easy life, but I tried to explain that they weren’t born.
“Were we in Mammy’s belly?” she comes back with.
“No, not then.”
They were really sad they missed out on a great, big party, and you kinda think the same way.
The concept of them not being around is something they struggled hugely to grasp. In truth, a time before kids seems a long time ago for us too! Although planning a wedding whilst making arrangements for three kids does seem a bit of a nightmare. We were barely able to take care of ourselves then.
Their minds were completely blown another evening when they were eating Donegal Catch.
“What’s Donegal in Irish?” came Frankie’s reply.
So Aisling told the kids about the story of Tír Conaill and its different kings.
“Where are they now?” asked Frankie.
“Oh it was fadó fadó,” replied Aisling. One answer tends to spark more questions. So Aisling went all in… It was so long ago that there were no cars, phones, lights, ovens.
So much information… so many questions.
How did they go to school? How did they eat? How did they ring their nana? How did they get to the shop? How did they cook their dinner?
Frankie and Éamon could not grasp that to go on long journeys, you’d have to go on a horse, that light at night only came from the moon and the fire and that there was no such thing as Peppa Pig.
Kids, by their nature, are very self-centred. It’s not a criticism, just a reality. Their whole world is what they see in front of them, and they can find it hard to see past that.
But they are intrigued when they hear that things were not always the way they are now.
I remember when I was younger and seeing black and white pictures of my parents and asking my mother when was colour invented. Not in pictures, but in life itself. I was so convinced everything was black and white in those days.
Frankie and Éamon (and Séimí, in time) are finding out so much about the world. They were shocked when I used an ATM in a shop last week and got €50 and my bank card back too.
This ‘magic money machine’ was brought up repeatedly for days. I decided against explaining about what constituted money back in the time of Tír Conaill. They do need to get a bit of sleep every night.

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