Quarantine Diary: Week 1


Sunday 22nd March

Took the toddler to the supermarket as we had been away and needed to do a weekly shop. We arrived around 10am, which is when the shop usually opens on a Sunday. Was shocked to discover the car park was FULL. I’ve lived here 9 years and never once seen it full. Grabbed a trolley and joined the queue to get into the store – lined up all along the car park, but was quite fast-moving so only took around 20 mins to get inside.

Once inside managed to find what we needed relatively quickly, but was shocked to see so many of the shelves already stripped bare by desperate shoppers barely 20 mins after the shop opened. Turns out they had opened an hour early for NHS staff, elderly and vulnerable people, and the queueing had started at 8am around the carpark. We were restricted to no more than 3 of any item, and managed to resist any stockpiling, even though it’s hard when there is so little left on the shelves…

20 mins to get in, 20 mins to find all our shopping (I had done a proper meal plan the night before so knew exactly what I needed to make the meals for the week). Then we queued for an hour to checkout at the tills. No hope of social distancing at this point, and lines of people blocking most of the aisles so people having to squeeze past you to get what they need off the shelves anyway. My 2-year old was amazing and stayed mostly calm and quiet the entire time, and the staff were fantastic, keeping everyone organised, keeping the lines moving, making sure everything was calm and as safe as possible, and even handed out free flowers to all the mums as it was Mother’s Day.

We got home eventually and pottered about in the garden the rest of the day.

Monday 23rd March

Pottered about at home doing some more gardening, the kid had fun bouncing on the trampoline in the sunshine and chasing bees around the garden. We went for a quiet walk around our little cul de sac. So glad that the weather is finally sunny and warming up after a grim cold, wet, grey winter, and spring is here – all the flowers are blooming. The kid and I used up the yoghurt that was about to go off making some more ice lollies for the freezer (frozen mango and frozen mixed berries, greek yoghurt and honey, little bit of milk – all in the blender and into the lolly molds – it’s bloody delicious!).

Wondered what will happen if the nurseries can’t reopen by the time I’m supposed to go back to work, and if I’ll still get paid or not if I can’t do any actual work (ironically I could totally do my job from home under normal circumstances, but not while keeping a 2-year old entertained and safe and alive etc). But decided things are changing so rapidly on a daily basis so there’s no point worrying about what’s going to happen in 2 months. Literally anything could happen in the next two months.

Started batch-cooking meals for the freezer to ensure my food doesn’t go to waste and that I’ll have lots of tasty ready-meals in case I do get sick later on – today’s meal: Beef Massaman curry

Tuesday 24th March

Got up and put on my gym clothes, determined to do an online exercise class or yoga class, but failed to do anything of the sort.

Today’s outing – took the kid out on her little bike up to the library to return a book through their letterbox, and check in on a couple of friends and neighbours on the way home. Chatted to them from a safe distance and checked if they needed anything. Discovered that my neighbour who has a severely autistic son was stressed because he will only eat twisty pasta (fusilli) and she couldn’t find any, and asked me to keep an eye out. I posted a request on facebook to see if any of my local friends had any they could part with, and was heartened to receive 5 offers within 2 hours, so by evening was able to drop her off 2 large packs to see them through the next couple of weeks.

Waited in the afternoon for the plumber to fix a minor leak in the bathroom radiator – an easy fix, but while he was there he discovered a potentially major problem with the way my new boiler was installed 3 years ago, which I’ll have to sort out. Ho hum.

Batch cooked pork stroganoff to use up the mushrooms.

Wednesday 25th March

Got up and put on my gym clothes, determined to exercise today, but failed to do so yet again.

Today’s excursion – I walked/she rode her bike over to the park to go to the Refill Shop to get more laundry detergent, fabric softener and hand soap. Was eerily quiet walking around our deserted neighbourhood, hardly saw a soul, and only about 3 cars. Felt a lot like a zombie movie right before someone gets violently eaten.

However the empty park in the sunshine was glorious and really peaceful. One or two dog walkers out but everyone keeping their distance, and no queue at all at the refill shop. They had very sensible distancing measures in place, and I got everything I needed refilled – they had everything in stock, even hand soap!

Realised the kid probably slept really badly last night as she’s not getting enough exercise, and not really tiring herself out properly, so I’ve taken the decision that we will no longer be napping during the day and will power through in the hopes of a good night’s sleep. It might be a rough adjustment though, as I’ll have to give up my beloved quiet mum hour in the middle of the day, but it was bound to happen eventually anyway. We also had a spontaneous dance party in the living room to burn off some extra energy.

Cooked beef and broccoli bulgogi/stir-fry with rice.

Thursday 26th March

Gave up on wearing gym clothes and just accepted I wasn’t doing any exercise today.

Wrote some old-school style letters to my niece and nephew and another friend’s kid, offering to set up a little correspondence school, so we walked up to the letterbox to post them, and then checked in with the corner shop to see what they had – happy to see they were mostly well-stocked up, which was reassuring.

Spent the rest of the day busting out some new at-home activities with the kid – bubbles, magnetic building blocks, play doh, and making chocolate truffles. Thank god they just launched the new Disney+ streaming service so we’ve been watching a fair bit of that too, though the kid can’t quite make it through a whole movie yet.

Tonight at 8pm everyone came to their doors or windows to clap and cheer for the NHS, who are doing so much for the country right now, and who are at the frontline and exposing themselves to risk on a daily basis to save lives. It was heartwarming to hear cheering and clapping ring out in the otherwise silent night, to know that in that moment, the whole city, and the whole country, was cheering on all our doctors and nurses and standing with them by staying indoors.

(Feeling lazy, so ordered a pizza delivery for dinner).

Friday 27th March

Back into my gym clothes this morning, partly to try and egg myself on to do some yoga later, and partly cos they are so damn comfy! Obviously did nothing active at all though.

Little one slept really well the last two nights, so the no-nap plan was working well, but sadly today the cumulative tiredness was clearly too much and she just melted down for two hours straight, which was exhausting, then she crashed out and napped anyway. So clearly we still need to tweak the plan a little bit…

Took her out on her bike in the afternoon for a zoom round the park, still very quiet apart from the odd runner or dog walker, and the only sound in the stillness was the faint buzzing of helicopters overhead, presumably checking the parks for large gatherings and so on.

Later on we did some drawing with giant chalks outside on the pavement – we drew some rainbows outside some of our neighbour’s houses to cheer them up.

Started washing all my curtains out of boredom and realised this lockdown is incredibly bad for my online shopping habit, which is spiralling out of control for want of anything better to do.

Ate leftover stir-fry, and planned more meals to cook next week. Managed to order more fruit and veg from a local greengrocer’s for delivery which was quick and efficient so no need to go back to the shops for a while. Had several really nice catch up chats with various friends this evening so spent most of the night on the phone, but it was really nice to reconnect and check in with people and feel like I had someone to talk to.

Saturday 28th March

Got up, dressed in my gym gear AND ACTUALLY DID SOME EXERCISE! I know, I’m as shocked as you are. After a quick call to my dad to say hello in the morning we got out my yoga mat and did a quick 15min yoga session from my gym’s new online classes, then we did PE with Joe Wicks for half and hour via you tube on the telly, which was great fun and we both giggled and jumped around a lot. Then some painting, another nice phone call to a couple of friends, and a bit of screen time in the afternoon on the tablet and tv, and a cold, brisk walk down our little road and back.

We also thought while we are stuck at home, we’d give potty-training a go, (and by we I mean me, the evil dictator mummy that I am), as we’re not up to much and there’s only so many curtains I can wash. Overall, it was a total disaster. In the morning sitting on the potty was a novelty and she sat on it several times, and at about 9.15, halfway through PE with Joe she did a big wee in the potty and we celebrated how awesome she was.

Later in the morning she had a big bottle of milk, so after that I started checking on her, getting her to sit on the potty every 15 mins or so (as the stupid ridiculous “potty-train your kid in three days” person says you’re supposed to). She enjoyed sitting on the potty roughly 4 times, and after that I got a series of responses that went like this: “Darling, shall we do a wee in the potty?” “No mummy” 15mins later….. “Sweetie will you please sit on the potty for mummy and do a wee-wee?” “No thank you mummy” 15mins later….  “Honey, come and sit on the potty and see if you can do a wee” “NO THANK YOU MUMMY! NO!!!”

This went on for a while, into the afternoon and after a carton of juice and some snacks, I started to get concerned. This is a girl who usually wets through our cloth nappies every 2-3 hours, and always soaks them after a bottle of milk or carton of juice. Yet here we were, approaching 5pm and several drinks and nearly 8 hours since she last had a wee. I was BEGGING her to sit on the damn potty but the more I begged the more she seemed determined to avoid it. It started to become a battle of wits, and clearly she is the brains of this household when it comes to tactical warfare.

I thought I had won by offering her the ipad to play on IF she sat on the potty in the kitchen while I cooked dinner. She played on it for 10 mins then got bored and went to watch TV. After shoving a changing mat under her bum, I was cooking dinner, dashing into the living room every 10 minutes asking her to go on the potty. Nothing, The girl is not only as stubborn as her mama but also has INSANE bladder control. After running back and forth during the cooking several times, I finally got our dinner onto plates, and came back in to try one last time. I asked if she would have one more try to do a wee on the potty before dinner, and she merely gestured in a bored manner to the EPIC river of wee she was now sitting in, pooling on my sofa cushions and running down her legs, drenching her socks and dripping onto the floor. She did not care in the slightest that she was now sitting in a lake of her own wee.

I stripped the sofa and the child, wiped everything thoroughly down, popped her back into a nappy, at which point we discovered she was also holding in all her other bodily functions and it was, quite literally, a shit show. Further cleaning and disinfecting of everything happened, and as I sat down to finally eat dinner utterly defeated, the kid pointed to the sofa and burbled cheerfully between mouthfuls of pasta “MY wee EVERYWHERE!”.

We have mutually decided she is not yet ready for potty training, so we will regroup and try again when she is 40.

Tonight’s somewhat hectic dinner: A cauliflower cheese and pasta-type dish to use up the cauliflower.


Tune in again next week if you’re bored enough….

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