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23rd Jan 2015

Holding on to a hero; one Dad on his dada-daughter bond

One Dad's struggle with sharing his little girl's adoration

Vinny Beirne

One of the perks of having a daughter is being the most important male figure in her little universe. I’m twice as lucky; I have two daughters – Juno, 5 and Noa, 3. Over the past few manic years, my name has started to change. Now, I’m regularly called ‘Prince’, ‘King Dada’ and my personal favourite, ‘Hero’.

I’ve also been proposed to numerous times; detailed wedding plans have been hatched.

Having two daughters has provided ample slagging fodder for my mates – much of which relates to what I’m going to do when hopeful boys start knocking at the door. My half-joking response has been to shrug it off. Sure, the girls will be in the convent by then.

I must admit, driving past Wesley Rugby Club on a Friday night sends a particularly chilling shiver down my spine. Yes, that makes me sound a bit ‘Victorian Dad’ but really, it’s just because I want the best for my little feckers. The thought of them getting hurt or taken advantage of along the path of life is not something I find easy to entertain.

But that time is a long way off. Or so I thought until September, when Juno started ‘Big’ school and we were introduced to the ‘buddy’ scheme. For the uninitiated, this is where an older school kid takes responsibility for a younger one. It’s a brilliant idea and it works on so many levels.

All good in the hood, until Juno’s buddy turned out to be a boy…. from 5th class.

Soon after, I began to detect a little change in Juno. She would leap out of bed every Thursday morning gleefully shouting, on repeat, “it’s buddy day!” No longer was I the hero in the bedtime story. Pictures were being drawn of Juno and this buddy fella, holding hands with love hearts all around them.

Before ‘Buddygate’ I used to be that guy.

One morning Juno excitedly told me, “I’m going to follow him all around the place for the whole day!” Knock yourself out kiddo, I thought. Mr ‘Buddy’ won’t stick around for much longer with that level of space invasion. But he did. And Juno’s teenage-like crush continues, *swoon swoon*

Then, at the Christmas fair, I got to meet my arch nemesis – the faux ‘Prince’ who had almost dethroned me. My first impulse was to whisper in his ear, in my best Robert De Niro impersonation, that I knew what his game was; that he wasn’t fooling me for a second. But it turns out, after spending a bit of time with him, he’s a cool and sweet little kid, and I couldn’t help but really like him.

“Alright buddy,” I said.

So good on Juno. And while neither she or I are ready for her to enter datesville just yet (shotguns at the ready), at least when that time comes I can take a bit of solace that her instincts seem pretty good. Until then, I’ll enjoy being ‘King Dada’ and getting married a few times a year.

Vinny Beirne is a director of documentaries and a film editor at Windmill Lane, and a DJ. Follow Vinny @VincenzoBernini

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