3/3/97 – I took Sean and Susanna to the little park at the end of the road, and Sean and I played football – Pauline joined us after a while.
4/3/97 – In the afternoon Pauline took the kids over to Alison’s. Ruth, Daniel and Rory were there also, and the kids all played … I took Sean and Susanna to the end of the road; Sean and I played football again.
5/3/97 – Pauline went to her last counselling class and Susanna to her playschool. (Susanna’s ‘teacher’ says that Susanna is a great girl – good fun, self-contained, mixes well and so on. She always sits beside her little friend Gillian, who was 4 yesterday, and holds her hand in the yard.)
6/3/97 – Pauline and the kids continued to do big art on the back of wallpaper rolls – Sean did a vey good sea-serpent scene, all by himself.
7/3/97 – Sean’s friend Simon and another boy were here playing with him, and he was in Simon’s house for a while.
8/3/97 – Pauline took the kids to Sean’s swimming lesson; they were then going to go to Andy’s birthday party.
9/3/97 – I got up first; Pauline had a decent Mother’s Day lie-in. Sean and Susanna had made cards for her at school and playschool; Susanna had made a pink earthenware bowl at playschool and Pauline had bought a pendant in town yesterday which I gave to Sean to give to her.
10/3/97 – Susanna said to Pauline: ‘Mummy, I really really love you, but I love Gillian the best’ … Pauline, Sean and Susanna went to Sean’s motor activities class, which Sean enjoyed very much – they had races.
17/3/97 – Pauline took the kids to see the St Patrick’s Day parade, dressed as Robin Hood and Batman. It was very good.
19/3/97 – Sean was playing with Simon earlier – he enthusiastically tells him that Simon is his best friend.
21/3/97 – It was a beautiful morning; Pauline and the kids walked to school/playschool with Bertie [dog] – Sean and Susanna were very proud to show him off to their teachers.
22/3/97 – We all went to Powerscourt waterfall – I travelled in Peter’s car with the kids; Nuala travelled with Pauline there and back. It was a nice day and we had a good time – the kids had their wellies on and paddled in the water, and luckily dry clothes had been brought for them.
23/3/97 – Nuala and Peter took Sean, Susanna and Keelin to mass. During mass Maria took them and other kids into a room and taught them a song, which they all performed on the altar at the end of mass! … Pauline took Sean and Susanna to the Nutgrove … Susanna got a ‘baby feeding set’ and Sean got a drawstring-powered motorbike with which he became infatuated in typical style. [Later] We talked about the weekend – we’re very proud of Sean and Susanna, their charming ways and good behaviour.
26/3/97 – The kids are on holidays now – Sean had been tired and weepy, so it’s probably as well.
30/3/97 – The kids were up early but were quiet downstairs for a good while. Then they opened their Easter eggs and joined Pauline and me in bed.
21/3/97 – Pauline took the kids to Marley Park in mid-afternoon, and when I had finished my work I followed them on foot. It was a beautiful day – Sean had just fallen off his bike at the BMX track when I arrived, having been around the track numerous times before that. We played for a while, and I walked home.
1/4/97 – The kids and I got a bus into town. Went to the Natural History Museum and then they ate ice cream in Stephen’s Green and Sean chased pigeons.
2/4/97 – Sean and Susanna played on the computer – Sean is getting very competent on it.
6/4/97 – [At my dad’s house] I took Sean and Susanna out for the papers, and entranced Sean with stories of haystacks and working in a sweet warehouse. He thinks I had an idyllic childhood. Last night I made up stories for himself and Susanna, as we had forgotten to bring any books, so there is plenty of storytelling this weekend. [Later, at my friend’s house] Sean and Susanna were a bit scared of Chia, who is a big, powerful Alsatian, but once there was an adult near by they were happy to throw stones for the dogs to chase on the land behind the house. So I spent a lot of time throwing stones – Sean was raving afterwards about what good fun this was.
9/4/97 – Had to wake Sean and Susanna, Sean having climbed into our bed at 7.30 or so. Their sleeping pattern hasn’t got back to normal after the holidays … [later] Pauline wanted to do some painting, but Susanna had hidden her new paintbrushes which weren’t found until it was too late.
14/4/97 – Sean is very taken with Elenora [Italian student] – he says he likes the way she smiles and says ‘hello’ … In the afternoon Pauline took Sean and Susanna out and bought them new runners: Sean feels that he can now run much faster, typically.
15/4/97 – Sean was up before 7, excited about today’s trip to the National Concert Hall, where he and his class will be singing.
22/4/97 – Susie was up during the night, unusually these days, standing silently by our bed and crying when put back to her own bed. Pauline took the kids to school and playschool. Susanna said to her, ‘Remember the day we went to see the Irish dancing?’ ‘Yes.’ ‘Why do those children live behind the curtain?’ [later] We all went out for a walk, and got Sean to cross numerous roads – he’s now allowed to cross the less busy roads by himself.
29/4/97 – Sean came in for a while during the night, having had a dream/nightmare about a giant rhinoceros from James and the Giant Peach.
1/5/97 – When Pauline and the kids got back we cut down most of the handkerchief tree in the back garden – Sean, Susanna and, for a while, Olivia had a great time playing back there.
5/5/97 – Pauline took Sean, Susanna, Olivia and Andrew to see Space Jam in Stillorgan.
6/5/97 – Pauline did lunch duty at Sean’s school, and took the kids swimming in the afternoon.
9/5/97 – Sean had no school today; Susanna had her farm visit. I pushed Susie to the playschool in her buggy; Sean went on his bike. Then Sean and I went to the newsagent and bought the Irish Times and a Ladybird book. I read the paper; Sean read his book. Then he went to Simon’s on his bike.
12/5/97 – A letter arrived from Elenora – she will have to take a job in the local cake shop if we can’t fix her up with a job here by the end of May. So we’ll try to. Pauline went to Dundrum in the afternoon and left Sean and Susanna here – they were very good. Sean was an angel all day, in fact.
13/5/97 – Sean is an angel again today – something to do with a lack of orange juice?
14/5/97 – Pauline left the kids to school – Sean wasn’t in his uniform as he was doing a sponsored walk to Marley Park with his class … [later] Sean was shattered after the long march … I took the kids to the end of the road to play football: Sean sometimes, by a fluke, managed to kick the ball high in the air, which pleased him.
16/5/97 – Anne told Pauline that yesterday Susanna went up to her and told her she wanted to sing a song. She then sang ‘Mary, Mary’ loudly in front of the whole class. A breakthrough for her confidence level in front of others – we were really pleased.
18/5/97 – Pauline drove us all to Ballsbridge, and I took Sean to the Packie Bonner testimonial match in Lansdowne Road – Ireland XI v. Celtic … I enjoyed the match; much of it was over Sean’s head but he enjoyed the occasion. Ireland played well until disrupted by numerous substitutions, and won 3–2 … Sean’s first football match – a staging post in his life, and mine.
19/5/97 – Sean got dressed in old clothes rather than his school uniform – they’re doing tie-dying today.
20/5/97 – Susanna was at the bottom of our bed for most of the night, having seemingly had a bad dream.
21/5/97 – Sean was up and down, claiming nightmares.
22/5/97 – Sean has an African drumming session at school this morning with Camilla, the African woman who has been doing arts with them all week.
23/5/97 – Sean was playing games with Simon and his friends all afternoon in Broadford Crescent.
24/5/97 – Pauline and the kids headed into town – there’s a family day at the National Gallery and also Sean has his swimming lesson … [later] The kids had a great time at the gallery, which had all kinds of activities going on.
26/5/97 – Pauline and the kids are painting the shed.
28/5/97 – Maire took the kids to Marley Park for the afternoon (they all fell in the water except Sean).