Some diary entries … December 1991 to February 1992

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2/12/91 – Sean was asleep at first in his cot, but has now awoken and I’ve brought him downstairs. His teeth have been bothering him lately, so there may be some squalls. Later: Sean was good.

5/12/91 – Went to supermarket and cooked pasta with veg sauce, some of which I succeeded in getting into Sean.

6/12/91 – I have a day’s leave, and am minding Sean. Pauline is at a training course in Harold’s Cross for the job. It’s 1 o’clock, and so far it hasn’t been too bad; just the odd bout of crying. He went to sleep at 12.30 but woke at 12.35. I’ve been giving him breast milk that Pauline left. Later: Sean and I went to Dundrum, him in the pram and me on foot. Borrowed Francis Stuart’s Pillar of Cloud and a book of Garrison Keillor stories in the library. He screamed a bit when we got home; I gave him half a rusk and some fennel drink. Pauline arrived and made a big fuss of him – she’d never been away from him for so long.

8/12/91 – Sean had been restless during the night. I got up with him at 8.40, had breakfast, read the paper and kept him amused. He tore up the business section … [Later] Had a good time strolling around with Sean in his pram, going to various shops and Bewley’s. Dave took some video footage in Stephen’s Green. We had a drink in the South William, but left quickly as it got too smoky for Sean.

12/12/91 – Sean in great form, with the gamut of screeches.

14/12/91 – Had coffee/tea in Bewley’s. where Sean was in great form, was much admired and took a liking to a young boy.

17/12/91 – I minded Sean until Pauline and Aileen got here, around 9.45. Aileen of course was completely taken with Sean. We sat up talking and playing with him.

21/12/91 – Sean was in fractious form and Pauline was exhausted.

25/12/91 – My dad and I took Sean out, to allow Pauline to cook the Christmas dinner. We walked a long way – as far as the Stillorgan dual carriageway, up The Rise, around a good part of Mount Merrion and back. My dad intended to visit Máiread McCarthy tomorrow and wanted to determine the best way.

27/12/91 – We got the train to Dundalk (there was a bomb at Newry station). Sean was very well behaved, and fascinated by a garrulous American kiddie across the aisle … [later] Pauline, Sean and I slept in the big sitting room – Pauline and I on the airbed, which wasn’t blown up sufficiently; Sean in a borrowed cot. It was a great relief when Nuala offered to take Sean in the morning – Pauline and I got in a couple of hours then.

29/12/91 – Nuala and Peter were spending a lot of time playing with Sean, and getting a great kick out of him. He was ridiculously lively and playful until after 2, despite our best efforts to get him to sleep.

30/12/91 – Pauline, Sean and I had a quiet evening. He seemed glad to be home. We were certainly glad to be back in our own bed.

31/12/91 – Woken by the doorbell at 7.15, having been woken by Sean earlier. The postman, with 16 more Institute of Metals papers and a horrendous gas bill (£310.59!). We were convinced that something was terribly wrong … [Later] Sean’s progress at 5 months: sitting up unsupported for long periods, creeping a bit, one tooth nearly through.

1/1/92 – I got up with Sean reasonably early, and let Pauline get some more sleep. In the afternoon we went for a walk as far as Ranelagh, and dropped into the Pronto Grill, where my pavlova was uninteresting and the peaches were off … [Later] Sean was bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, and we couldn’t get him to sleep until 1.30 a.m. or so.

2/1/92 – I rang the gas board – it turns out that they’ve been charging us on the basis of our meter being in imperial units rather than metric, whereas the opposite is the case. So in fact they owe us money! This was a relief.

13/1/92 – Sean spent a couple of hours at the crèche for the first time, and seemed to get on OK, although he cried a fair bit.

15/1/92 – Sean spent a couple of hours in the crèche, and was crying forlornly when Pauline came to collect him – looking very small and helpless. She still has doubts about the efficiency and atmosphere of this place.

17/1/92 – Home to Peter, Nuala and Sean at lunchtime. Sean had been keeping them on their toes … [Later] Peter and I went to the pub and had two drinks each. It was the night that 7 workmen were killed by an IRA bomb, and Peter Brooke got into trouble for singing ‘My Darling Clementine’ on the Late Late Show.

27/1/92 – Sean is officially crawling on the eve of his half birthday!

2/2/92 – Sean did two new things: He held the bottle and fed himself. He went from a lying to a sitting position on his own.

29/2/92 – Did a big shop in Quinnsworth, Sean sitting up in the special trolley looking up at me.

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