herald

Friday 15 December 2017

‘I’m being love-bombed every day’

Aoife Finneran meets the Dads won over by their golden girls

IT is the recurring dream for every expectant father. It will of course be a son, a mini-man to carry on the family name and inherit all those stunning but under-appreciated soccer skills.

So what happens when that longed-for son pops out and reveals himself to be a “her”? Is it a case of packing up all those dreams of fatherson bonds and placing them in cold storage until a chance for a son presents itself ? Or do Ireland's modern dads find themselves helplessly enchanted by the new girl in their lives who catapults them headlong into a hitherto alien, pink, feminine world?

RTE 2FM DJ and producer MICHAEL CAHILL admits he barely contemplated the idea of a daughter during his wife's pregnancy four years ago. In fact, he was so convinced the new arrival would be a boy that he placed a €20 bet with his father-in-law.

“I was there for the birth and the second that Ella was born my first reaction was ‘Oh no, I've lost €20’,” he laughs. “That €20 is now framed in the family kitchen.”

The blow to his wallet wasn't the only jolt, as Michael concedes: “Initially I thought I was more ready to deal with a boy.” But he was so captivated by his baby daughter that he immediately allowed himself to be “taken over” by this other world.

“It's funny,” he says. “To be honest, I loved her so much I don't even think about it. You're suddenly down on the floor and playing with dolls.”

In the 2FM offices, Michael has become the go-to person for confused colleagues attempting to buy presents for young nieces. “I'm like the consultant,” he says. “I know everything about Barney and Dora, and in the past few months Ella has gotten really into Barbie.”

Just 10 weeks ago, Michael welcomed the arrival of baby Jack, rekindling all those dreams of a son to bring to football matches.

This particular dream remains unfulfilled for Newstalk presenter TOM DUNNE, proud father to daughters Eva and Skye.

He revealed: “Joe, the producer of my show, has two boys. He'll say things about dropping them off to football training and I look at him and can't imagine anything I'd rather do.”

Tom admits he was fully convinced on each occasion that he would welcome a son. “I would have put the money for a house on them being boys. I didn't even think of girls' names.”

Despite trying hard, Tom hasn't been able to influence Eva towards an appreciation of soccer. And with the arrival of younger daughter Skye two years ago, Tom happily admits to being “surrounded by girls”.

“I love it. I'm being lovebombed every day,” he enthuses.

Childrens' TV presenter BRIAN ORMOND certainly bucked the stereotype when awaiting the arrival of his daughter Chloe, now aged 10. “I always said I'd love my first child to be a girl,” he reveals. “I can see why some dads would want to have a boy to play football and so on, but I was delighted to have a girl and it's great to have a relationship with your daughter”.

As for any dreams of teaching his son how to appreciate sports, Brian doesn't have to wait because Chloe is already stepping up to the plate.

The doting dad explains: “She's into everything — Irish dancing, Billie Barry, swimming, and she also plays football and hurling so I got to go and buy a hurley for her. I really get the best of both worlds.”

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