1/9/97 – Sean went back to school. Last night in bed he had been worried that he wouldn’t be able to read and write well enough, and he practised a bit of reading this morning. He’s going into first class … [later] Sean’s day at school went well – he needn’t have worried, he said … [later] in what is to be a nightly occurrence, the four of us sat down at the table for 10 or 15 minutes and the kids did some drawing, writing and (in Sean’s case) reading.
2/9/97 – Pauline left Sean to school – he’s got all his old enthusiasm for going.
3/9/97 – Sean had another good day at school.
4/9/97 – Pauline picked Sean up from school around 12, and drove the kids to Malva’s place for the afternoon, which is in the middle of the countryside near where Kildare, Wicklow and Carlow meet … [they] had a great day – the countryside was lovely; they saw a lot of animals; held a kitten, met a pig walking down the road and had to shoo it into a field, etc.
5/9/97 – The kids were up quite late – Sean did a lot of drawing.
6/9/97 – Pauline took Sean to his swimming lesson.
9/9/97 – Did our family time, incorporating Sean’s homework. His reading is improving a lot, and his writing is coming on too.
11/9/97 – I took Sean’s coat to his school – he and Matthew are being allowed to walk to Matthew’s house on their own, and Sean dismissed both me and the coat.
12/9/97 – Pauline and the kids ‘splatter painted’ the kids’ shelving unit.
13/9/97 – I read the paper and then took Sean and Susanna to town on the bus. We got off at Westland Row and walked across the road, then got a DART to Sandymount, where Sean had his swimming lesson and Susanna and I watched.
15/9/97 – Pauline collected Sean from school at 2.30 (typically, he loves having to stay the extra hour). She also brought Billy here, and the two boys played with the black-and-white cat in the front garden.
20/9/97 – We got up pretty early and got ready to go house-viewing in Meath. Our first appointment was at 10.30 in Wilkinstown. We weren’t too impressed with the house, and Sean and Susanna weren’t too impressed with the big dog, which had to be tied up.
22/9/97 – As soon as the kids woke up they were playing in the hammock that Pauline had put up between their beds.
1/10/97 – We did ‘homework’ as usual – Sean has a reading test tomorrow and is very keen to do well in it.
7/10/97 – Sean had got 58/80 in his word test the other day, and apparently had had difficulty with a lot of the words he got right, so Pauline had a word with Mr Neary. Mr Neary said that it’s not yet time to consider remedial teaching for Sean – this upset Pauline, who has always felt that Sean might be better off a year further back at school – many of those in his class are more than a year older than him.
10/10/97 – Sean did very well in a spelling test, with 17 out of 18 correct.
11/10/97 – We watched Beethoven’s 2nd, which Sean enjoyed.
19/10/97 – Pauline took the kids to see Hercules in the afternoon: all three of them enjoyed it, especially Sean.
20/10/97 – Pauline got Sean from school early, and they all went to the Nutgrove, where the kids bought their ‘virtual pets’. Sean got very into his, but Susie was too young and too miserable [sick] to do much with hers.
23/10/97 – I got Sean ready for school – Susanna was still unfit. He didn’t have to wear his uniform, because they were going to Marley Park to plant trees. I walked him to school … I also collected Sean from school – he had enjoyed the tree-planting.
29/10/97 – Pauline took the kids to Dundrum. In the afternoon she made their Halloween costumes – Sean is to be a devil, Susanna a ghost.
30/10/97 – The kids were up at 7, and as they played a loud game it was difficult for Pauline and me to sleep after that.
2/11/97 – Sean got his first Irish reader today.
5/11/97 – We did Sean’s homework with him and drew pictures with Susanna.
6/11/97 – We did the kids’ homework – Susanna can now write and then read a number of words, with some guidance, and is very pleased with herself. Sean is impressed too.
8/11/97 – Pauline drove us to Three Rock Rovers for Sean to do football. Pauline and Susanna went home, and I watched Sean play his first ‘proper’ football match. He ran around enthusiastically, but didn’t get too many chances to kick the ball on the all-weather hockey surface. He enjoyed it, though. He and I walked home.
13/11/97 – Sean walked with Matthew to Matthew’s house after school, and played there … Pauline worked on a Finn McCool outfit for Sean.
14/11/97 – Pauline was up early, putting the finishing touches to Sean’s costume. He looked really good as Finn McCool, and was disappointed later that he didn’t win a prize (Matthew, as Mr Twit, won one).
15/11/97 – Pauline left the kids to speech and drama. We read the paper, then I took Susanna to town on the bus and Pauline took Sean to his swimming lesson. Susie and I walked down Grafton Street and collected her caterpillar cake from Marks & Spencer’s – she was very pleased with it, especially as it had shoes, unlike Jane’s caterpillar cake.
22/11/97 – I took Sean to football at Three Rock. He’s on a team called Albion, and will be from now on. They were beaten 5–0 by Inter, who included Billy. Sean was in goal for the last part, and let in one goal. As a footballer he has some practising to do. But he enjoyed himself immensely.
23/11/97 – Pauline blew up a postcard on the projector for her counselling project, then Sean and Susanna had a go. Sean, Susanna and I played the ‘Hover’ game on the Windows 95 CD for a while.
25/11/97 – I bought a Tchaikovsky/Dvorak CD for £2.99: Sean listens to Tchaikovsky at school and expressed an interest.
26/11/97 – Sean was awake for hours after going to bed, and complained of being worried about various things.
30/11/97 – We bought harmonicas for Sean and Susanna in Habitat.