Dad’s world with Jonathan deBurca Butler

IT’S been one of those roller-coaster weeks with its randomly shot milieu of great achievements, bad luck, giddy frustrations, and little accidents.

It started off with a burst of enthusiasm from Daddy. 

On Monday, I got home with a spring in my step and a determination in my forehead. Today the grass, which was morphing into Argentinian Pampas, was going to get it. I donned the jeans, the steel-toe boots and made myself a wildrag (cowboy scarf) out of one of Luke’s blankies.

“Is Daddy going to cut the grass?” asked Fionn as his mummy sat the boys down to eat.

I sure was. Out came the mower — an electric affair I had bought last year and used...oh...maybe three times since. This would be its first outing of 2-15 as Michael Noonan likes to call it. 

I ripped the cord and off I went into the jungle; an eco-system that in less than half an hour would resemble centre court at Wimbledon. 

I envisaged sitting in the back garden watching the boys running around on the grass —and actually being able to see them — while I sipped a Robinson’s and smugly pondered my masculinity.

My lawnmower had other ideas. As soon as I finished one row and turned like an Olympic swimmer to go back down the garden, it decided it had had enough. 

After turning it upside down, cleaning it, trying it again, and then giving it the inevitable few kicks, I decided to leave it. As Kenny Rogers famously said, you’ve got to “know when to walk away”. And so I did.

There was another problem that needed to be tackled anyway. Earlier in the week the curtain in Luke’s room had fallen down. Now nobody is quite sure how it happened but there is a suspicion that a certain little man who has been known to swing out of said curtains might have brought them down. 

To be fair, Fionn (nearly three) is usually very good at telling us when he has done something bold. In fact, there’s rarely a week goes by that he doesn’t come to the door and tell us “I pushed Darragh in school today,” with a sad little face.

So when I asked him about the curtains and he said he basically hadn’t a clue, I believed him...at least to a point. My suspicion is that he did pull them down but he just didn’t know he did and you can’t really give out to somebody for something like that.

Besides, whoever had put them up in the first place had done an appalling job — not me, by the way. If the mower wasn’t going to work, I’d tackle this instead. An hour later and with the wall in Luke’s room looking like the GPO circa 1916, the curtain was back up.

Besides my own herculean DIY, there were other great achievements. Fionn has gone from using the potty to using the toilet. It’s classic Fionn; we spend two weeks trying to get him on the potty, he learns how to use it and then he decides ‘nah, don’t like this’ and moves onto the next step.

He’s delighted with himself and the grey gloomy cloud that was over him has lifted somewhat. God love them, the confusion and pressure must be terrifying.

As for Luke, it’s been a traumatic enough week. He’s fallen off a couch, walked into a door and the other morning he pulled a lamp on top of himself which he wasn’t too happy about at all. To top it all off, when he met a lady called the doctor and said ‘hiya’ in a nice friendly manner, she repaid him by sticking a needle into his chubby little legs.

When he came back from his MMR, I tried to console him with advice.

“It’s a jungle out there,” I told him as I bounced him in my arms.

He looked at me inquisitively, looked out into the garden and pointed at the grass.


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