5/3/96 – Sean had a great time on a school trip to the National Concert Hall, where the kids sang songs from The Sound of Music as well as being entertained … In the afternoon Maria was here with her three sons and her sister’s baby, and Pauline was minding Olivia for a while, so the house was full of children.
7/3/96 – Pauline and Susanna went to the Wesley playgroup, and then collected Olivia. They, plus Sean, went to Bushy Park in the afternoon and had a great time.
10/3/96 – I took the kids to Sean’s school and they played in the playground – Sean brought his bike. It was a beautiful day. Sean went to Philip’s party in Wally Wabbit’s in the afternoon.
11/3/96 – Sean told his teacher that he and I had put out a small fire near the school yesterday [this was true], and she got him to tell the story to the whole class, so he got a lolly and was very pleased with himself.
12/3/96 – Sean came into the bedroom at 7am and asked me to tell him the dragon story again, so I did.
16/3/96 – In the afternoon Pauline, Sean and Susanna headed off to the planetarium in Armagh, picking up Dervla and Keelin on the way. Unfortunately Pauline soon had to leave the show with Susanna, but Sean and Keelin enjoyed it. Sean was convinced that his seat had been flying and spinning.
23/3/96 – Pauline and Sean went to Heuston to meet my dad’s train, and duly brought him home. The kids gave him a good reception. He gave Susanna a doll and Sean a model Batman, which were very popular.
26/3/96 – Sean was awake from 6.45, and watching the Muppet Movie video.
28/3/96 – Sean’s teacher, Ms Kingston, has been off school for one week and will be off for another six weeks or so. This is unfortunate, as she is very good and the substitute is older and does fewer things with them.
29/3/96 – Pauline was minding Olivia for the day, and took all three kids swimming – Sean and Susanna are doing very well at it.
31/3/96 – Pauline made scones and the kids made buns, which were left in the oven too long. Sean and I went out to the shop, collecting a lot of cans on our travels. Then, as Pauline was painting her designs on her shelves, I took Sean and Susanna out for quite a long walk and more cans were collected … [later] Sean wrote a birthday card for Aedín.
2/4/96 – Sean had his first ever school test today – a word recognition test – and scored 21 out of 21, so we were very pleased. We’d been coaching him at home.
4/4/96 – Sean disgraced himself in the morning by sandpapering parts of the kitchen floor (he was allowed to sandpaper his desk). He’s now on his Easter holidays … [Later] Pauline and the kids painted the school desk.
7/4/96 – We had an Easter egg hunt for the kids in the back garden … [Later] We went around Stephen’s Green in a horse-drawn carriage – the kids really enjoyed this. Then we went to the zoo and wandered about for a couple of hours, then home.
9/4/96 – Pauline, Susanna and Sean called to Maire’s, and Sean stayed there for a few hours, digging with three other little boys in the garden … [Later] Got Sean to bed very early – he was shattered.
10/4/96 – Mary and the girls arrived at lunchtime, and Pauline cooked a roast chicken lunch for us all. As usual, they were laden down with presents for Sean and Susanna, and the girls played with them enthusiastically while Pauline, Mary and I chatted.
14/4/96 – Around lunchtime I took Sean and Susanna for a leisurely walk to the video shop and back, and we collected cans … [Later] Sean was thrilled because Pauline had bought him Snakes and Ladders.
15/4/96 – Sean was back at school, and was pleased about this. He played a couple of games of Snakes and Ladders before he went to school … [Later] The four of us went out on a can-collecting expedition – it was a nice evening. We found four Nissan hubcaps over a fence, and shortly afterwards a couple approached us to say that the hubcaps had been stolen from their car, so we gladly handed them over.
16/4/96 – Sean had a sore arm from his booster injection yesterday.
18/4/96 – Pauline & co. picked up June, Billy and Michael and they all went to Marley Park. Pauline and Susanna had been at the Wesley playgroup in the morning.
19/4/96 – We all went to the video shop in a desperate effort to keep Susanna awake, and I foolishly hurt my back by running with Sean on my shoulders.
21/4/96 – In the afternoon Pauline took Sean to see Babe in Harold’s Cross while I minded Susanna – it was too wet for us to go out for a walk.
23/4/96 – Sean has been bold at school, his teacher reported, so Pauline and I had a good number of stern words with him.
26/4/96 – Pauline had been minding Olivia for the day. She had taken Sean out of school early and had taken the three kids to see a Barney show at the RDS, then taken them swimming.
27/4/96 – Sean and Susanna went to Louise’s birthday party in the afternoon, and Pauline went into town.
28/4/96 – Dónal rang at 12.45am – Ruth was in labour. They dropped Daniel over – Pauline looked after him – and went on to Holles Street. Dónal rang again around 6 – Ruth had had a baby boy; he was home and wanted us to ring if Daniel became in any way distressed (Daniel didn’t) … [later] Dónal arrived to collect Daniel. He stayed for a while and we chatted. The little boy is to be called Rory, and everything had gone well and quickly. So this is a very happy day.
29/4/96 – Pauline bought presents for Rory and Daniel in the morning, and after she collected Sean they all went to Holles Street to see Rory and Ruth, who are both fine (Dónal and Daniel were there also). Andy Platts had rung me in the morning; I also spoke to Bill and in the background there were sounds of people cooing over Steve and Jacque’s baby, Conor.
4/5/96 – Nuala and Peter arrived around 4. Sean and Susanna were very pleased to see them, with Sean going hyper for a while … [later] After Sean and Susanna were in bed Pauline and I went out and caught a bus to Rathmines and went to Slattery’s, where we had three very enjoyable pints each.
5/5/96 – We all went to Model World in Newtownmountkennedy.
7/5/96 – Pauline and Susanna walked Sean to school … Pauline minded the kids at school at lunchtime. Billy said to her – ‘Gary squashed that ant! That ant is God!’ … [later] Pauline took Sean, Susanna and Olivia to the dump in the afternoon and to Bushy Park. Pauline and I took all three kids to the grassy area after dinner and we played football.
8/5/96 – Strange start to the day – a bowl that had mysteriously been broken a few nights ago and tidied away with its shards in it was sitting on the worktop with the shards nowhere to be seen … [later] Pauline had bought sand for Sean and Susanna to play in – it was a beautiful day and lots of other kids had been in the garden too. We had salad for dinner and went to play football with Olivia again – ‘football’ being a loose word for all kinds of games.
15/5/96 – Sean was thrilled to find 90p under his pillow in the morning, evidently placed there by a fairy on orders of a money spider that had been on Sean’s hand the other day … [later] Read Sean some stories in bed – he’s being extremely good these days.
21/5/96 – Sean got 21/26 in his word test, even though he’d known them all beforehand.
22/5/96 – The day was uneventful. Sean spent part of it playing in the home of Simon, which backs onto ours, more or less.
23/5/96 – Pauline and the kids met June and her kids in the afternoon and they went to Pirate Pete’s.
24/5/96 – Pauline took Sean, Susanna and Olivia swimming in the afternoon, and to McDonald’s.
27/5/96 – Olivia was here in the afternoon, or else Susanna was in her house, and Billy was here playing with Sean – his brother Michael had arrived too, but immediately took fright and Pauline had to bring him home. Sean and Billy had a great afternoon – they get on very well.
30/5/96 – June delivered Sean and Susanna home- they had been to Marley Park and were loaded down with daffodil and tulip bulbs that a lady had given them, which are now planted in the garden.
31/5/96 – I bought five books in Hodges Figgis, including a storybook of Irish mythology for Sean (I’d been telling him stories about Finn McCool in bed last night) and a ‘Spot’ book for Susanna.