One week ago, Marie took the kids for a short trip in her car.
She hasn't driven or left the house without me since. Her days are almost exclusively filled with eating, sleeping and the internet.
For the rest of us, family life continues relentlessly.
Around lunchtime on Tuesday, I got a call from Orla's school. I was to come immediately to collect her. She had fallen in the playground and was a bit upset.
I arrived at the school to find Orla crying hysterically in the First Aid room, her hand firmly clamped over her mouth. Her school uniform was drenched in blood, she had a bruised eyebrow, bruised cheek, a scraped hand and a cut knee. She wouldn't let anyone inspect her mouth, so the first aid lady didn't know what damage had been done there.
I got Orla home and simply nursed her for the next hour and a half, after which she became more settled and let me look tentatively at her mouth. She had pretty much mashed up the inside of her lips and it looked as if a couple of teeth had been damaged. Later on, I was able to clean her and change her clothes. I fed her ice cream (she wasn't able to eat or drink) and put her to bed.
She looked so pitiful and vulnerable, sleeping.
On Wednesday evening, Joseph and a team from his school swam for charity. He swam a creditable 250m (about 275 yds) in a 40 minute session, while Orla (who has been stuck to me like glue all week) and I looked on. His enthusiasm made me very proud of him.
On Friday morning, Joseph went on a 3 day school trip with a group from his school. I collected him this evening. His teacher told me that he had been a pleasure to have on the trip, and he had got an award for his skills as a team leader and for his consistent good manners. Again he made me proud!
While Joseph was away, Orla and I had spent a lot of time together - just the two of us. It was just what she needed after her terrible tumble. Yesterday afternoon she felt well enough to go to a school friend's birthday party, although she insisted that I stay with her. Her friend's mum, looking with horror at Orla's bruised face and swollen lips, instructed the other little girls to be careful not to hurt her; the instructions were duly followed.
Today, most of Orla's scabs came away and although still swollen, she is definitely looking a lot better. She is to attend the dentist tomorrow to see what can be done about her damaged teeth after which she will go to school again.
So...an eventful week - both good and bad events - but I hope that this week will be quieter. And it would be nice if Marie could improve a little too!