It’s Granny to the rescue as the cry-offs hit new high notes

The toddler is grappling with the sudden intrusion of her little sister into her world

It is Granny to the rescue.

Well, there are now two under two in a house in west Cork and the competition during the cry-offs would put even the best banshees out of business.

To be fair, it is not surprising that Ada, the toddler, is confused by baby Ellen; four weeks old as I write and the dotiest dote I have ever seen, other than her bigger sister, of course. She had Mammy and Daddy all to herself during her lifetime of lockdowns. Now, without having been consulted over a bowl of chi-chis (Cheerios) or a sliced nana (banana), she has a four-week-old sister whose feet dangle out of a sling on Mammy’s chest.

Meanwhile, Aisling is probably out in the garden hanging out yet another line of washing while Daddy almost trips over the stair gate as he rushes down from his office in the spare room. Ada’s armed with her favourite book, That’s Not My Monkey, and is ordering Daddy, in no uncertain terms, to read it for the 575th time that morning.


It’s all go these days, in Casa Creche O’Malley Morrissey.

Super Granny

Meanwhile, with my Super Granny cape in my case, I'm on the first leg of my journey from Westport to Cork Kent and drinking a latte during my most discreet disrobing of my mask. This will be the first time I have been on a train or, indeed, crossed the Shannon since February 2020 and, unsurprisingly, I find myself thinking of Caesar and that other great river called the Rubicon. Although, the only troops in my army are a selection of new teddies and dolls for the babas.

Walks in the sylvan grounds of Westport House and on magical Bertra Beach kept me sane during the lockdowns of the last 18 months. That is for sure. However, it was watching Ada develop from a baby to a toddler in my daily video chats with my eldest princess that kept tactility with the world intact.

Her obliviousness to the catastrophic challenge to our world by this pernicious virus instilled not only hope but a certainty that we would come out the other side of the pandemic. She was the perfect antidote to the media monster’s daily diet of doom and gloom. She went from gurgling baby to tottering toddler. Abandoning the buggy on her morning walks with her mammy, she insisted on licking bollards, talking to garden gnomes and stealing hula-hoops or sweeping brushes: basically anything that wasn’t nailed to the ground along the route.

Now she is grappling with the sudden intrusion of her little sister into her world. I have to confess I am shocked at how visceral her confusion and fear is when I first witness it shortly after my arrival. It is an important reminder that just because our toddlers today are stimulated and educated so early with such a plethora of toys and books, they are still a faltering step away from being babies. All the proactive parenting in the world, which defers to apps and social media forums, will not change that.

Intuitive parenting

Fortunately, Ada’s mammy and daddy have honed the skills of intuitive parenting too. Six months of her colic afforded them a masterclass in sensing baby’s needs. This time around – touch wood – there is no sign of colic and its desperate cries and screeches for help. Ellen seems as chilled as a baby Buddha contemplating the world from her Moses basket. (Well, most of the time.)

She sleeps right through our visit to the wonderful Glenview Gardens and Fairy Trail where there is a family of teddy bears having a picnic, trees with magical doors and a Hobbit house that inflames the imagination of even an aging adult called “Gaggy”.

Although, later that afternoon, a certain tireless toddler is not impressed when the last lick of the Twister ice-lolly we share inadvertently slides down my throat.

“Silly Gaggy,” she says, before tearing off on another mini-adventure.

Not before eyeing the sleeping baby Buddha in the buggy though. A few minutes later she returns and says something very serious to herself, before depositing her favourite floppy-eared rabbit beside her sleeping sister.