3/12/99 – We let the kids stay up to watch The Late Late Show’s toy show, so they were up after midnight.
5/12/99 – Sean finished writing an unnecessarily long story for homework, and I had to get him to correct numerous spellings – his spelling is very bad, largely because he doesn’t stop to think.
6/12/99 – Sean’s teacher praised his story highly, which gave him a boost. She also praised his keyboard playing when he had a lesson later – he’s been doing a fair bit of practice.
7/12/99 – Susanna and I retrieved our Monopoly from the garage, and the four of us had a game – the kids had never played it before and really enjoyed it, especially Sean.
8/12/99 – Sean and AJ spent the afternoon playing Monopoly.
11/12/99 – The kids had gone up the fields, but not far as it was cold and wet.
12/12/99 – I read Harry Potter to the kids in bed.
17/12/99 – We got the kids out to school, and an exhausting day commenced – the day we moved from Knocktemple to Lurganboy.
19/12/99 – [In Dublin] We went to Yellow Brick Road, and Sean bought a number of stones – he was thrilled with what was on display, and told anyone who would listen about his fossils. Susanna bought some stones too.
20/12/99 – We had a good breakfast at the hotel – Sean and Susanna were loving staying there … we all went to see Jack and the Beanstalk at the Gaiety. It was a very good show and we all enjoyed it thoroughly, especially the kids.
25/12/99 – The kids were up in the middle of the night; we sent them back to bed. We all got up around 8.15 and the presents were opened – the kids were very pleased with theirs.
29/12/99 – Susanna and Sean played with Andy and AJ.
31/12/99 – [Various visitors in the house] The [five] kids were over-excited and it wasn’t a very relaxing evening for the adults. They put on a show which involved the keyboard, tin whistles, songs and poems; they also devised and practised Irish dancing routines which the adults then watched. We let them stay up after midnight. We counted down with the help of the TV, and were into the so-called new millennium, but the evening was rather subdued for the adults – we weren’t too lively.
1/1/00 – [Some of us] went to the megalithic tombs, and managed to get inside the large one, which was interesting … In the wider world, the ‘millennium bug’ had caused no disasters. And the world had not ended.
3/1/00 – Sean and I started a bonfire. I had intended to burn only a small amount of rubbish, but we added to it and eventually burned all the combustible debris from around the site, and a good deal of wood … The four of us started a game of Monopoly later.
4/1/00 – Sean was up and down the road, playing with AJ, Andy and Niall … Later we all played Monopoly (Sean won).
6/1/00 – Pauline and the kids are making a bird house from a kit …
15/1/00 – The plasterers were here for the morning: Sean chatted to them at great length and they allowed him to sit in the digger and raise the bucket and so on.
19/1/00 – Sean played with a new computer game (Virtual Safari) that Pauline had got cheap with a magazine.
21/1/00 – Pauline and Sean went with Erika and Kristian to a schools’ quiz in Sharkey’s hotel … Kristian and Sean are on a team … Pauline and Sean got home around 11.45, having gone for chips with Erika and Kristian. Sean was tired, pale, and looked shocked at the realization that his team had come second out of 20-odd. He had won a credit union rucksack, and had had a great time.
25/1/00 – Sean played his latest piece, ‘The Trombone Player’, numerous times.
27/1/00 – Sean and Susanna are having great games involving the blackboards on their walls.
29/1/00 – Pauline took Sean and Susanna to a drama class in Virginia.
31/1/00 – The kids made a tape of themselves doing poems and songs, to be sent to Granny and Grandad.
8/2/00 – I kept Sean off school because of his sore throat. Susanna was a ray of sunshine, as ever, and was able to go to school though she’d been coughing in the night and I’d had to give her medicine … I did a ‘timetable’ for Sean in the morning, and he did some work at home. He’s very keen on drawing these days.
9/2/00 – Pauline gave the kids presents from Granny and Grandad – bubble bath and stuff for Susanna; a keyring screwdriver set for Sean (and one for AJ) that Grandad had bought some time ago. They were delighted.
10/2/00 – Pauline rang to say that Peter had died at 4.30. This is very sad news. He put up a great fight, and it will be a long time before I can fully believe it. Peter was a wonderful man – a great father, father-in-law and granddad to the members of my immediate family. We will miss him very much indeed … Sean was very upset – Susanna was quite upset too, but has less comprehension of death.
11/2/00 – I got up around 8.45 – the kids were already up. Sean was crying and talking about Peter. They were on their midterm break, and wouldn’t have had to go to school in any case … [later, at the wake] Sean made a name for himself, as he was to do all weekend, by chatting charmingly to all and sundry.
15/2/00 – We watched The Wonder Years … Sean is making a helicopter with his Meccano set. He also made up a pop song, ‘Girl from the Shoe Shop Window’, inspired by a previous Wonder Years. It’s not bad. Susanna started to write a story about a magic pepperpot, with me spelling the words.
22/2/00 – We all looked out the windows in the morning at an abundance of hares – they seemed to be everywhere, and were coming right up to the house. Pauline dropped the kids to school. The hares continued to frolic – two of them even mated in the front garden, then lay around washing themselves.
24/2/00 – Sean did a lot of work on a very detailed picture inspired by a book on the Celts, of which he’s very proud.
26/2/00 – Sean had Gaelic football training in the morning – Noel picked him up … Noel, on dropping Sean home, said he had the makings of a good footballer, if he practised.
27/2/00 – The kids were full of beans, and they and Pauline danced in the office to ‘Back in the USSR’.