The Dad Diary
Many parents of older children will tell you about how they miss the era of sleepless nights when the kids were smaller. How they always felt safer when they knew where their kids were at all times, before the advance of the teenage years.
But take it from me, they don’t miss the sleepless nights themselves – more so some of the more enjoyable elements of that phase of life.
Because, with Séimí just gone two, and more than likely our brood remaining at three, we’re confident we’re nearly over the hump of the sleeplessness. The noise of a little cry from one of the monitors doesn’t induce wild panic now, but a confidence that they will just turn over and go back to sleep and forget about whatever little bad dream they just had.
It got me thinking though.
Because, at every stage in a child’s development, there are things you love and things then that you are looking forward to them growing out of.
Séimí has definitely been the busiest of our three at the toddler stage and sometimes can be a little human wrecking ball, but he is so much fun too. We definitely won’t miss having to tie a hair bobbin on the fridge after every use so Séimí won’t go raiding it and throwing everything on the ground. We used to have a child’s lock on it but Séimí broke that… so a bobbin does (and when he breaks them eventually, they’re easier to replace).
The same applies to bamboo sticks put down or across drawers and cupboards to stop him raiding there and child locks on the cupboards that are harder to break.
If you’ve any antitheft measure not in place, he will pounce quicker than you can imagine.
Convincing him that he needs to eat the meal in front of him or else he will be cranky as hell 20 minutes later can be draining, too, I won’t lie. He just wants to find things he thinks he’s capable of breaking and showing us how. Oh he’s definitely a boy!
But all the cute things he does instantly outweighs the constant rollercoaster of dashing around the kitchen in a bid to keep one step ahead of him.
He does a lovely thing when he’s going to bed, putting his two arms down in front of him and cuddling into your shoulder. It’s his way of telling you he’s ready for bed.
In the morning then, when you bring him into Éamon’s room in your arms and lift Éamon out of the bed, the instant hug they give each other and Séimí’s rubbing of Éamon’s back would melt the coldest of hearts.
If he sees you lying on the ground or on a bean bag, it’s an invitation for him to come running towards you as fast as his little legs will carry him and jump onto you – you had better be ready!
And bringing you his shoes to tell you in no uncertain terms he wants to go outside NOW is cute, even if he thinks he can go out in the hailstones that are belting off the window.
In his fortnightly column, Edwin McGreal charts the ups and downs of the biggest wake-up call of his life: parenthood.