Dot writes: stuff has been happening, but I keep on failing to write about it, so I’m going to have to gallop through it for the record. I ran the mini-marathon (10 km) on 2nd June in 1 hr 4 mins and 20 seconds, which was a cause of some pride to me as it took me around 1 hr 14 minutes last year. It was also impressive as I’d had recurrent insomnia through the past week, and only by heroically foregoing a mums’ night out on the Friday had I recovered sufficiently to do the mini-marathon at all. No, really – by Friday morning I’d had enough bad nights that I was feeling a bit sick and couldn’t manage breakfast, quite apart from having lost the top layer of my brain. But an early night and resolute avoidance of caffeine, chocolate and alcohol more-or-less sorted me out. (I am still tending to wake around 5am. It is just so light at the moment.)
Anyway, I ran my 10km, felt pleased with myself and also raised 220 euros in sponsorship for Hugh’s school. I went out again in the evening to a recorder practice. Then I came back a bit before 10pm to be greeted by the au pair telling me she was leaving on Friday. Her boyfriend had rung her over the weekend to tell her he’d been cheating on her; she was miserable and wanted to be with her family.
Poor girl. I was sympathetic. But also, I had to find a new childcare arrangement in slightly under a week, just before the end of term. Frank was not so hard to accommodate as he could switch to full-time in his creche, but Hugh was harder: the creche has never picked up from his school, so I needed to find something else. I tried asking Julie, in case she wanted the work (following her stint as our au pair she stayed on in Dublin to do a PhD and still does occasional evening babysitting for us) but it was too many hours for her to commit to, especially as she doesn’t live very near us. Through a friend I got the number of an after school club in Raheny and contacted them with my slightly desperate plea. Happily they could accommodate Hugh. After that the woman who runs the creche offered to pick Hugh up after all, but I stayed with the after school club, since I’d already got them to do me a favour and it was also a chance to scope the place out.
I think I will have to get another au pair in the autumn. The after school club has a pleasant atmosphere, and every time I have picked Hugh up from there he has seemed to be enjoying himself, despite swearing afterwards that he hates it; but I can’t bring myself to leave him there for more than absolutely necessary, and the effort to get him as early as possible each day is not very good for my work. On the one hand, he is doing proper non-television activities, arts and games and so forth, with trained childcare workers. On the other, he is stuck in one room for hours with no outdoor play space. He has been very fretful and difficult in the evenings this week. He isn’t very good at change at the best of times, and it’s the meltdown season anyway at this stage in the school year.
So, a busy and rather stressful couple of weeks. The au pair has emailed from Spain and seems to have cheered up considerably; it seems that going back there was the right decision for her. Hugh will cope and it is only two weeks now to the end of term anyway (the school year is short in Ireland). I have planned out a chapter of my book but not managed to start actually writing it; I’m hoping that momentous step will be taken on Monday.