Dad's World with Jonathan deBurca Butler

Holidays should be mandatory for people with families and instead of just a week they should be a month long. 

I FOUND out more about my children on the week-long holiday I just had with them than I have done in all those bitty moments that I normally get with them while getting their food ready or driving them here, there, and everywhere between telling them what to do and how to do it.

Holidays are great and there should be more of them. Holidays should be mandatory for people with families and instead of just a week they should be a month long. 

Indeed, if I get enough backers I will start a political movement calling for compulsory month-long holidays.

Mayo, I tip my hat to you, you were fantastic. 

Although the weather was abysmal for much of the time we were there and we only occasionally caught site of Croagh Patrick’s finely sculpted peak, we managed to ‘get out’ every day. 

Most of the time, the boys wanted to get into the water.

This was my first discovery: Fionn loves the sea. 

Every time we went near the door of our holiday home, he’d run inside to his room and come out, like a dog with a lead in his mouth, carrying his wet suit. 

When we’d explain to him that whatever coffee shop we were going to didn’t really approve of people in wet suits he was almost inconsolable.

“But I want to put it on,” he whimpered at one stage.

Such was his allegiance to the Lycra that I was convinced he was going to ask to wear it to bed at one point.

My second revelation was more passive. In fact, it was exactly that, being passive and discovering what good fun it was. 

That was an eye-opener for myself and Ciara — although they may constantly ask us to do stuff with them they are sometimes happy to do nothing with us as long as we do that nothing together.

On day four, when their grandmother, uncle, aunty, and two-year-old cousin arrived we also learned that they like to play to the gallery but then again we kind of knew that already.

Poor little Layla, although she found them funny, there were times when the two boys just wore her down with all their energy, requests, and general brash boyishness.

There were times when they just wouldn’t leave her alone and on at least one occasion I thought it wiser to take them away from her for a long and manly game of Simon says. God bless her, she has the patience of a saint.

While admitting that boys will be boys, I am proud to say that they are also two very kind little fellas. Though they were in her face quite a lot, they also looked after her, included her, and made sure she was happy.

On one particular evening when Layla’s mum and I were left looking after the kids, the boys got into the bath as Layla was being put to bed. They were high on giddiness and there was no way Layla was going to sleep unless they calmed down.

“Guys,” I whispered to them, the two of them in their birthday suits. 

“We have to be quiet for Layla.”

“Why?” asked Fionn. “Is she going to bed?”

“Yes,” I explained, “and we have to make sure she goes to sleep because she is very tired. So we have to be like superheroes while we are in the bath.”

“Do you know what superheroes do in situations like this?” I asked.

Luke nodded his head as Fionn shrugged his shoulders.

“There’s a code,” I said. “They’re quick and quiet and they’re quiet and quick.”

They seemed to like the catchiness or maybe their bodies just needed the few seconds of me talking to realise just how knackered they were from that day’s running around.

Whatever it was, it clicked. They made hardly a sound and they were out of the bath, dried and changed as quickly as you could say scrub-a-dub-dub. 

Twenty minutes later they were fast asleep.

Thanks again Mayo, especially for your soporific air.


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