Quarantine Diary: Week 2


Sunday 29th March

Clocks went forward. Spent most of the night wondering if the cats would be retaliating after the kid peed all over the sofa and marked her territory, and whether or not we would be heading into full on pee wars. God I hope not.

Washed a few more curtains. It’s surprisingly enjoyable even though they look exactly the same afterwards, (I’LL know how clean they are). Had the plumber back after it transpired they had not successfully fixed the leak in the bathroom at all. Hoovered. Wondered if my car battery will die from lack of use. Decided to do more online shopping and have a look at summer clothes for the kid – I love Boots Mini Club stuff, but discovered that there is a queue to get onto their website now and there were LITERALLY 271,000 people ahead of me in the queue. Astonishing.

Ate leftover cauliflower cheese and pasta with veg, and planned a few more meals to cook next week.

Monday 30th March

Remembered that I have a huge bag of cardboard loo-roll tubes I have been saving for ages, so we painted them rainbow colours. Have not yet got a plan of what the hell we will do with them but I’ll do some googling later. Went back to the supermarket this afternoon for the first time in over a week – our one trip out for the day, and a little run in the car to check it hasn’t died. The shop was MUCH more organised, and calm, we went in the afternoon, it was mostly quiet, and they had most things. Was able to get a few bits we needed, plus do a big shop for my neighbour in isolation who is about to give birth any day now.

Today is our 9th day of lockdown/quarantine. and as predicted the novelty has worn off as we enter week 2. I think I have been mostly in a deep state of denial for most of the last few weeks, so I have been completely fine and not feeling at all stressed or anxious really. However today the reality of potentially living like this for several months really sank in. My kid is too little to understand what’s wrong or why we aren’t doing fun stuff or seeing anyone, she doesn’t really understand routines and timetables yet, but yesterday and today she was just really sad, and really unsettled and really hard work. Today despite having slept well, I woke up feeling tired, emotionally exhausted, and worn out, and my left eye won’t stop twitching. When it was nap time, the kid decided she wasn’t napping today. I begged and I pleaded, I tried holding her hand and stroking her hair and angrily dumping her in the cot upstairs and leaving her there to scream. In the end I just melted down completely and screamed and cried and wept and generally let myself bawl. It was very cathartic though probably quite unsettling for the kid to watch. Afterwards I put Peter Rabbit on the telly and had a micro-nap on the sofa for 15mins which helped.

Cooked a chicken pie from the freezer with some broccoli and carrots that needed using up (she had a fish finger). We treated ourselves to some ice cream for afters.

Found myself unable to stop crying for most of the evening so just leaned into it and let it all out hoping I would feel better in the morning.

Tuesday 31st March

Today was a MUCH better day. I was still tired when I woke up, and my eye still twitches intermittently, but I forced myself to do PE with Joe Wicks to try and get some endorphins flowing and make the kid jump around enough to nap (which she did).

We used some of the toilet-roll tubes we painted yesterday to make a snake and a butterfly.

We also went swimming, cos we both miss it. I think Land-Swimming should really be a new Olympic category.

Dropped off a couple of bits from the shop to my friend as our outing for the day. Was nice to sit in her garden (more than 2m apart of course) and chat in the sun for a bit. She also gave us the most amazing gift – a little kid’s table that she has made a mosaic on! The kid LOVED it and insisted on sitting at her new table for snacks and dinner!

Cooked a chicken tikka masala to use up some chicken and because it freezes well. And it was bloody DELICIOUS. Recipe here.

Also treated myself to a relaxing bubble bath after the kid was asleep with music and wine and a funny book. Self-care 101.

Wednesday 1st April

Today it was bin day so we left a wee message out on the road to say a big thank you to all the bin men and other amazing people making life bearable for us at the moment.

Obviously it’s not terribly gender-neutral and should say “Postal Workers” and “Garbage Disposal Operatives” but you know, space constraints and habit led to a very male-centric message. Apologies on behalf of feminism.

Trip to the Post Office was our outing today. Very quiet and easy, no queues, though was shocked to hear the lady there tell me they have received so much shocking abuse recently they have had to start wearing body cams and have extra security. Astonishing and so sad to hear.

Leftover tikka masala and rice tonight – it’s SO GOOD I want to marry it and have it’s babies. Have literally just ordered a sexy new hand blender (my old one died) so I can make more curry paste for the freezer.

Thursday 2nd April

Bad night with the kid again, we were up and down and awake a lot, she’s definitely very unsettled at the moment. Took some flour from the refill shop to a couple of friends who are isolated and struggling to get any and discovered that my friend also had a total meltdown on Tuesday. She went for a walk with her baby in the buggy and just cried while walking round the park for 2 hours. So glad to know I’m not the only one spontaneously bursting into tears in these tough times.

Noticed that the lockdown is having an interesting impact on my daughter’s verbal development. One of her new favourite phrases is “Go away mummy!”, a clear sign we have been spending too much time in close confinement! My left eye is still twitching intermittently and it is VERY annoying. Walked to the pharmacy for my prescription but they’ve changed the opening hours so it was closed.

Had a work call today at 4pm for an hour, so planned very carefully to try and get a sense of what it might be like when I go back to work for real and have to juggle work with a toddler for a whole day. Made a point of playing with the kid lots all day and avoiding screens so that she would hopefully sit for an hour in front of the telly/ipad without needing me. Changed her nappy 10 mins before the call. Here’s how it went:

4pm – Yay! Mummy’s given me the ipad! Woohoo!

4.10pm – Bored now. Mummy is talking to some randoms on her laptop and not playing with me. Will whine at her that I want to watch Peter Rabbit.

4.11pm Woohoo! Peter Rabbit! Mummy’s gone into the kitchen, muttering about how she can’t hear her boss with the tv on.

4.20pm – Bored of Peter Rabbit, mummy’s in the kitchen, so I’ll go in there and shriek until she gives me a cuddle. Made her put me on the counter, which she did, then tried to bash her laptop closed cos I’m bored of those people now. Mum gave me an ice cream if I promised to sit in the living room to eat it. RESULT.

4.35pm – Finished ice cream so started squawking again til mummy put on Waffle Doggy and she retreated back into the kitchen to pop the oven on and get dinner on the go.

4.45pm – Decided to use my superhuman bladder for evil and wet through my nappy, despite it being less than an hour since mummy put it on. Made sure I was sitting on the same side of the sofa that she’s just washed all the cushions on too- you should have seen her face! Laughed at mummy trying to balance the laptop strategically on the back of the sofa so she could change my nappy without those random guys on her call seeing my bum. Secretly quite impressed she was able to continue talking about learning outcomes and digital badging while wiping my arse.

5pm – She’s still talking. I’m so bored so started shrieking again. Hilarious watching mummy dash between the living room and kitchen nodding at the screen while cuddling me and heating up my beans. Now she’s burnt her hand on the baked potato she just got out of the oven and grinning like a madwoman at the people in her computer while talking about gantt charts, project management reviews and sign off milestones.

5.15pm – Finally the internet cuts out and her call has ended abruptly. Mummy triumphantly places my dinner in front of me while holding ice on her burned hand. I am displeased by her shocking neglect of her beloved daughter so I throw my plate in her face to express my displeasure.

Friday 3rd April

Spent the morning teaching the kid to hold scissors and we did some cutting and sticking. Then walked back to the pharmacy where it transpired there is now a shortage of my B12 tablets so I’m to call back next week and see if they’ve got any or not. Not a major drama, it’ll be a while before my levels drop noticeably so should be fine if they get them in the next few weeks.

Called the Gods (my name for the Godparents) to check in. Some good catch ups for me and the kid, and nice to connect with friends. Last night I also managed to watch the National Theatre live showing of One man Two Guvnor’s with my friends online, which was fun, (it’s on YouTube all week, and it’s HILARIOUS – give it a go). My eye twitch is still literally driving me to distraction.

We drew some more chalk pictures and an adventure trail for local kids, and got way too excited about my new hand blender that arrived today. The kid mostly enjoyed tearing up the polystyrene into tiny pieces and sprinkling them on the floor, but then she also enjoyed sweeping them up with the dustpan so I can’t complain,

Was getting worried about our lovely postman Neil, as we haven’t seen him for a few days, and wondered if he was sick (we heard from friends in London they haven’t had post for a week and they assume all the postal workers there are getting ill or having to isolate themselves). Thankfully we bumped into Neil (from a safe distance) today while walking home from the pharmacy and he told us they’ve had to change routes now that they can’t share the post vans, so he’s doing parcels in his van and his mate is doing the letters on foot. Phew. We love Neil, he’s awesome.

Saturday 4th April

Today would have been the day we were going to fly to Australia to visit my family, so my dad and my brother and his family could all meet my daughter. I’m still pretty gutted that they won’t meet her now for a really long time, (she’ll be 3 by the time they get to meet her) though obviously I understand why we can’t go.

Today is also our 14th day on lockdown. We are coping, we are surviving, and some days are certainly better than others. This week has been harder than last week, we are both definitely more tired, more stressed and more unsettled. My eye still won’t stop twitching. At this point we have literally no clue how long this might go on, though it’s very likely the initial 3-week lockdown will be extended indefinitely. Glad the weather is perking up and it’s due to be lovely and sunny next week so we can spend a bit more time out in my tiny garden.

This morning I woke up with a very mildly sore throat and a little bit of tightness in my chest. It’s impossible in this current crisis not to be a complete hypochondriac and feel convinced something is wrong even though I don’t have a fever or a cough and I mostly feel fine. And yet every in-breath I find myself thinking “Was that harder than normal? Is this in my head?” The self-reporting Covid app asks if I’m experiencing fatigue, but after 2 weeks with a toddler in isolation I couldn’t distinguish between everyday fatigue and illness fatigue, and my involuntary eye-twitch has previously been a sign of tiredness/stress, so no shock there. Obviously given my sore throat we will try and stay in as much as possible, though may still need to walk up and down our road once in a while with the kid. We’ve already been avoiding people for two weeks and apart from the supermarket have been 2m away from everyone all the time, so if it is the dreaded C-19 then I must have got it while at the shops. Have now got a freezer stacked with meals and ordered some more fruit and veg from our local greengrocer this morning which should see us through. I had an upset stomach this afternoon so it could literally be anything – or could even be brought on by stress, probably some sort of psychosomatic illness.

It’s hard not to feel scared though, even if it is almost certainly all in my head.

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