My intention was to post diary entries from 2004 (when I stopped keeping a diary) back as far as the day Sean was born, to try to give an insight into his life as a baby and a boy, and into the lives of the rest of his family too. I have now reached the beginning.
28/7/91 – I have already described this day here
29/7/91 – I got up pretty early, not having slept well. I spent a good part of the morning with Pauline and the baby, having first phoned work (cheers in the background) [and others] … the baby was fine – sleeping a lot – and Pauline was fine too … I cycled to the Coombe and back. Peter and Nuala arrived around 1.30, and after a cup of tea we went to the Coombe … Sean (we still hadn’t finally decided on a name) was looking great, and of course P & N loved him … [later] Christine, Aileen, Dave and Dervla arrived … the five of us went to the hospital (Christine was driving), where Sean again made a big impression. Later, the uncle and aunts went with the father to Arbour House, where everyone had a few drinks.
30/7/91 – The others were visiting Pauline in the afternoon session. I cooked spaghetti bolognaise for dinner, and we had a bottle of red wine, then Christine drove us all to the hospital. Mary and Aisling arrived too, Sean was universally eulogized; the uncle and aunts and I went home and then to Uncle Tom’s Cabin. We had all decided on ‘Seán Peter O’Brien’. [note: I always used the fada (accent) in Sean’s name in my diaries, and it appears on his birth certificate, but he didn’t bother with it himself, and I have followed his example on this blog.]
31/7/91 – I didn’t feel much like going to work, but went. The uncle and aunts were poised to go to Milltown Malbay or some such place … [later] Pauline rang me and listed some things that she needed; I left for the hospital soon after getting home from work, although it was raining heavily. Got wet even under the rain gear on the bike. Bought some requisites in a chemist’s in Rathmines. Pauline was a bit frazzled – she’d got no sleep at all last night due to the various noises, and Sean had been crabby … [later] I did a few hours’ freelance work.
1/8/91 – At 1.05 my dad was here before me. The man next door (Tom?) shook our hands and congratulated us. He was seeing off some guests from Chernobyl … I made a fry for myself and my dad, and left him here when I went back to work. He intended to visit the grave of his first wife in Mount Jerome cemetery … [later] Christine and Aileen were here … Christine drove us to the Coombe. She and Aileen had been to see Pauline this afternoon, and headed for Warrenpoint.
2/8/91 – It was time for mother and baby to come home. I rang for a taxi, and a nurse carried Sean out of the hospital … From then on we had a pretty fraught time, although Pauline was greatly relieved initially to be out.
3/8/91 – We had all got through the night intact. I went to the chemist to get the name of a female doctor; they gave me the card of Dr Maureen Boyd. I rang Dr Boyd, and she called to the house a little later. She proved to be very good, and managed to reassure Pauline greatly. She was young and had four children of her own, so she understood … [later, after family visits] All this social contact, especially the calm presence of her mum, was good for Pauline’s confidence, and put everything into a more routine framework. When they left we felt that the worst was over. Feeds and nappy changes went ahead pretty smoothly for the rest of the evening, and we all went to bed or to basket quite early.
4/8/91 – We had a much better night than the last one, although we were awake with Sean quite a lot, especially Pauline.
5/8/91 – We dressed Sean up in his maroon tracksuit and took him out for a walk to the sportsground in his sling – Pauline took him there and I took him back. His first time out with us, except for the taxi ride home. He seemed to like the movement, and slept peacefully all the time. Took some photos … I felt a warm glow of happiness.
7/8/91 – We took Sean up to Dundrum to meet the people at my work. Deirdre, Irene, Phyllis, Mary, Bill, Aidan and David seemed suitably impressed, and Pauline was able to put faces to the names at last.
13/8/91 – People in town all admiring Sean.
14/8/91 – As I write I’m trying to pacify Sean, whom I’m holding in my left arm.
15/8/91 – Back to work … everybody asking about Sean … Home to Pauline and Sean at lunchtime for the first time. Pauline was horrified at the murder of a German tourist in the Phoenix Park, and had bought a sympathy card to send to the German embassy.
19/8/91 – Momentous news today from the USSR – Gorbachev’s overthrow in a ‘hardline’ coup.
21/8/91 – Another good day at work – I’m feeling very happy and positive these days.
25/8/91 – Pauline and Sean were still in bed, Pauline having been given her breakfast by me, when Liam, Christine, Dervla and Dave arrived. They had been to see Dire Straits at the Point last night, and then to Bad Bob’s, and stayed in a bed and breakfast in Clontarf. Big news: Christine is pregnant … so, Sean is to have a cousin at an early juncture – in April or so.
26/8/91 – We lost a lot of sleep because Sean, though not crying, was imitating parrots, lions, buffalo and other wildlife at the top of his voice.
28/8/91 – John phoned, and called to the house at lunchtime. In fact he answered the door to me with Sean in his arms, and described the youngster as ‘a cutie’.
29/8/91 – I’d had a pretty good sleep; better than Pauline, as usual. Sean’s jungle noises hadn’t been as deafening as of late. Pauline brought Sean to my work, and we showed him off to the girls in the showroom. Pauline also showed him to the lads in the stores.
30/8/91 – Another very hot day … I spent my working day correcting the maths figures – ‘invisible mending’, I hope. Also trying to think of titles for the book … Mathemedia, Sets etc., The x-directory, The means to an n, From here to infinity, No problem! And so on.