Every week is different which seems strange considering in many ways every week is exactly the same, the same six people in the same four walls, trying our hardest to make this difficult time into something fun and to keep our fears away from the children. I wrote a little diary each day again as I try and make sense of how this is all working.
It was Easter Monday and after the excitement of egg hunts, family face time and alllllll the chocolate that has been consumed, today was about recovering and doing what we need to do. For the children that meant watching films and playing on the x-box nearly all day. I couldn’t sit still though so I spent the morning cleaning all the doorways in the house with my trusty cream cleaner and my afternoon tidying, sorting and cleaning the boys room and setting up this den. I took the mattresses off their bed and they loved it, bringing tablets and books up there for the afternoon too. I want them to have fun memories from this difficult time and hopefully camping out on the floor can be one of them. It felt tough without any direction today but I think we all feel better after our chill out day.
The children hadn’t been out the house in over a week and they were going to bed later and getting up earlier so I thought they needed to stretch their legs a bit further than the garden. Two of them were reluctant to go out (they told me all the good places to go were shut so there was no point) but it didn’t take long for them all to love the opportunity to run. We walked/scoot/ran down to the beach, threw some rocks in the sea, ran around playing tag for a few minutes and then walked home. It felt good to be out with them all but it makes me feel nervous as we are a big group (although it is clear we all live together). I don’t want them to come out of this lockdown scared to go out, but I don’t want to put us or anyone else at risk so I think we will stick to infrequent walks and use the garden whenever possible.
I had bought a pack of chalk pens and then forgotten all about them, so we dug them out today and decorated the back doors. I know that nobody else will see our pictures, but they loved drawing them and we did a few on the front door too. We have got to the point where they are reluctant to get dressed in the morning knowing we won’t be going out anywhere and I am ok with that at the moment, but I think I will enforce clean clothing each day from Monday when we are supposed to be ‘back to school’ as it makes them much more productive with their days.
I am struggling in the mornings, without a school run I find it hard to motivate myself to get up which means we often have lazy /tv time until lunch. I feel torn between guilt that I am not doing the best for them, and understanding that this tiredness is how my body is dealing with the difficulties and stress and I should respect it all the while the children aren’t coming to any harm. It was a day spent not doing a whole lot, bits of cleaning for me, playing for them and plenty of screen time for all of us along with painting tiny fingers and toes. I feel like I am bombarded on social media with both messages of all the things I should be doing in this time – exercising more, learning new skills, tidying the house etc and also messages that it is OK to do nothing but survive, that this isn’t a holiday but a pandemic. I find myself flitting between these two approaches frequently, usually multiple times a day but today felt definitely more about survival that thriving. That said, it wasn’t stressful or tearful like the earlier tough days were, just accepting.
The children found some tattoos and we applied all of them to all the arms, only for one child to decide he didn’t actually want them on anymore and scrubbing them off. It was tough to find motivation again but we got up and dressed, I bribed them into the garden with biscuits and made it into a game of last to leave and we snuggled up on a floor bed to watch a film in the evening. I have a busy weekend planned socially which doesn’t involve leaving my house at all. We are all trying to keep in touch with video chat apps and I have a quiz tonight with some friends and then a birthday party tomorrow. We were supposed to be jet-ski-ing during the day and at karaoke for the evening but instead we are having a zoom party, each with our own background music and drinks. A lot of things feel like a compromise at the moment but I understand this is what it needs to be.
This week was our ‘half term’ and I am planning on going back to a more structured day for next week. I know it works best for me and if I am happy then it influences the children. It has been a week of up and downs, like them all but every week things feel a little bit more settled, the highs a little less high, the lows a little less low.