Cosy Christmas countdowns


The Dad Diary
Edwin McGreal

Every morning in the run-up to Christmas Frankie and Éamon would get up and ask Alexa ‘How many days until Christmas?’.
Alexa, for the uninitiated, is an artificial intelligence device that will answer any sort of questions you ask. So every morning she would say how many days were left along with a lovely message from Santa himself.
The kids loved it but, it was not half as enrapturing as when Éamon asked on St Stephen’s Day and was told there were 364 days until Christmas. That’s a big number when you’re four.  
Everyone has a fear of the post-Christmas blues, but you are acutely aware of it in kids whose whole lives have orbited around the concept of Christmas Day for weeks and then, suddenly, Christmas Day is over.
But we’ve been lucky. Frankie, Éamon and Séimí had a lovely Christmas, both before and after the arrival of Daidí na Nollag.
They were thrilled with their presents, even if we had to space out the opening of them to avoid present rage! But they loved the mood and atmosphere around Christmas.
Family visits, a trip up to Castlebar on Christmas Eve to soak up the atmosphere – and finish the shopping. One of these years we’ll be organised!
Doing the dreoilín on St Stephen’s Day around Dooega for the second year in a row was lovely, calling into all our neighbours, and the kids could not believe the amount of sweets that were gifted to them.
Indeed, Frankie woke up on the 27th and declared ‘Daddy, I’m having no sweets today, I’ve had enough’. Two things I must add:  A. We had been keeping an eye on their intake; B. She wasn’t half as shy about sweets when cousins arrived at lunchtime with some!
A trip with cousins to Funster in Castlebar filled one of the days in between Christmas and the New Year. It was Séimí’s first time there. I never saw him as excited, running off to explore this land of adventure.
Weather curtailed the amount of times we could go outside, but snowsuits proved great on days the kids just needed to get out of the house. No issue going on wet slides in them either.
Frankie and Éamon were great too, doing their best to afford their Mam and Dad a sleep in until close to 8am – believe me that’s a treat!
Their baby brother didn’t get the memo though. Séimí went from waking around 7.30am before Christmas to waking between 5.30am and 6am during the Christmas holidays.
He probably wanted to get a clean run at the day with all the fun and adventure ahead of him. He was in fifth gear, ready for road from the get go each one of those mornings. I’ll be getting my request into Santa early this year – for a decent night’s sleep next Christmas!
Tired as we might have been with the early starts, it was a wonderful holiday. Only 349 days to go until next Christmas, Alexa tells me.  

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