Quarantine Diary: Week 3

Sunday 5th April

Quiet day today. I’m feeling much better and sure that it was all in my head, or at least psychosomatic, and not virus-related. Just fear and stress and tiredness.

We did some yoga and some children’s workouts (Andy’s Wild Workouts on Iplayer is great for little kids). Hoovered the house and changed the bedsheets. Sat in the sun in our tiny garden. Took the kid out for a little ride on her bike, and watered the plants. Watched a silly movie with friends in the evening. Ordered a few more random toys and bits and bobs to help keep the kid entertained. My neighbours must think I have a serious shopping addiction based on the number of amazon boxes piled up outside. And they would be correct.

Made a daal with sweet potato and some sweetcorn fritters, and started planning more meals for the week, working out what we might need and by when, as we’ll need to do another run to the supermarket this week.

Monday 6th April

Tough morning and I lost my shit with the kid, there was a fair bit of yelling, so we got our shoes on and got outside to try and walk it off. Walked up to the post box to post some more letters, cards and postcards to various friends. We are on day 16 of our lockdown and it feels like forever.

Decided it’s warm enough to plant out my tomatoes and chilli plant, as well as a few seedlings the kid has been growing. Today it was also time to bust out the secret sticker book I’ve been hiding from her for weeks (sent to us by a friend ages ago). Timing is everything in keeping a toddler amused… We also tried out a random bubble activity we saw online which was fun. Then most of the afternoon she was hitting and biting me so had to lock myself in the bathroom for a few minutes in order to avoid yelling. She is exhausted today, even after a long nap, and she is sad and angry and confused and lashing out and I am really struggling today to be the grown up and not lash out myself.

I started mentally planning a new quilting project – I’m going to attempt to make myself a bright, colourful duvet cover for summer to cheer myself up.

There is talk that they may ban people going outside to exercise if too many people flaunt the rules in the upcoming sunny weather (we are hearing that London parks are still crowded, though round here they are deserted). Ironically the more they threaten to take away people’s rights to walk around outside, the more people feel they must get out and have one last walk or run before they are no longer allowed to do so. It seems a self-fulfilling prophecy.

There are more and more rumours that shops are starting to only allow one person in from each family, and are barring people from bringing children into shops, which is upsetting most of the single parents I know, unsure how they will buy food in these uncertain times when they cannot leave their child alone at home or in a car, and cannot ask neighbours to watch their children anymore (Thankfully so far we have had no issues at any of the supermarkets we have been to). There is a sense of panic and fear building every day in many of the single parent forums I am part of, though I have now left most of those groups as they are providing me with more anxiety than support on the whole.

Life feels like it is standing still. The absence of people is unnerving us both, and the kid has started to ask “People gone?” when we go for our walks. Occasionally we will see a twitch of a curtain, an anxious face looking out of the window as we walk past. It is so quiet everywhere that she told a delivery van to shush when it drove past us today as it sounded deafening in the stillness of the street in the middle of the day. Walking up and down our little cul de sac the only sounds are birds chirping, the clanking of plates as someone washes up in their kitchen, and the tense muffled yelling and screaming of cooped up families losing their minds at each other on the other side of the windows. The oppressive silence seems to be settling over us all, like a silent blanket of fear.

Tonight I feel sad, and scared, and tired and worried, and overwhelmed by it all. Time for a bath and a cry, and an early night.

Tuesday 7th April

Last night was awful. I couldn’t stop crying and the bath didn’t help so I went to bed at 9.30pm. Had stressful, anxious, frightening dreams all night. Kid came into bed with me around 4am and we slept fitfully the rest of the morning. Woke up feeling exhausted, drained, and weepy, and cried several times before breakfast. So hard to imagine how we can possibly get through the day when you wake up feeling so tired and defeated before you’ve even gotten out of bed. Feels like a glimpse into how depressed people feel, and the urge to just cry and stay in bed all day is overwhelming.

We called my mum for a chat, then did some cosmic kids yoga and another of Andy’s Wild Workouts which both helped a bit, and had a little wander down our road to look for sticks. She refused to nap so we spent an hour of her screaming and me rocking, begging, pleading, and ignoring her before giving up on the nap., and of course she immediately then fell asleep the minute I stopped trying.

In the afternoon we went back to Tesco’s again for a few more bits and bobs. Not only did I plan my meals carefully and did a proper shopping list, but I even organised my list by aisles as I know my local shop so well, so that we can be more efficient at the shop and get in and out quicker rather than doubling back and forth around the shop as we normally do. The queue was longer than last week, but not too bad, and as they are being much more careful about how many people can come in at once it was much quieter and easier to shop once we got inside. Was happy that we found everything we needed, and the shelves are no longer looking stripped and barren, which is very reassuring. The kid was really good again and seems to understand she needs to stay in the trolley while we shop (though she was rocking an imaginary baby to sleep, then started shouting “Baby gone?” and at some point she decided the baby was in the car, so started shouting “Baby in the car!!”. I hope the other shoppers were not too concerned that I had abandoned a baby somewhere….)

Have realised that I’ve been drinking more and more in the evenings these last few weeks to try and feel better, so decided to have a few deliberate days off so it doesn’t become a habit or a crutch. Not sure yet if it will improve my mood or make it worse, only time will tell. I bought some alcohol-free beer at the shop, as the hot sunny days coming up will make it tempting to reach for a cold one.

After the shopping was done I got out a few bowls and a saucepan and we made a little mud kitchen in the garden, and the kid spent a happy hour spooning mud and water from one bowl to another while I did some laundry and called some friends. The afternoon in general was better and I feel a lot calmer for now, though the kid was struggling to get to sleep and has lately been finding bedtime harder than usual.

Wednesday 8th April

Slept much better last night and woke up feeling rested for a change (although my eye has still been twitching on and off all week again). Called the pharmacy to check if my prescription is in yet. It was so we walked up to collect it. The sun is shining and it was a lovely morning for a little quiet walk.

Got out the slow-cooker to make a sausage casserole that can sit and cook all day happily with minimal effort. Made some more ice-lollies with the kid to use up some leftover yoghurt, and also baked some nutella banana bread to use up some old bananas about to go off.

Realised we haven’t had any post for three days (other than Amazon deliveries) and wondered if it’s because our postmen are struggling.

Sorted out the garden for a bit – wanted to re-arrange a few plants and bulbs and make space for some more vegetables and attempted a makeshift anti-cat device to stop the cats digging up my seedlings and shitting on the vegetables. Got my first spear of asparagus up this week which was nice!

Here is the anti-cat device… (tall sticks and some tea bags with essential oils on)

All in all it was a very good day, and we certainly needed one of those!

Thursday 9th April

Kid had a really bad night last night. There’s this funny thing where parents can differentiate between different types of cries. You can tell if your baby/toddler is hungry, tired, upset or in pain. They have different noises. Last night the kid woke up around 11.30pm and was crying in a type of distress I have never heard from her before. It was really upsetting and I couldn’t work out if she was in pain or having a night terror, which is common around this age. In the end I gave her some Calpol and water and she settled after about an hour, but it was a bit worrying.

This morning in my bed she was playing under the duvet making a den with her teddies, and I heard her talking to her penguin and it sounded like she was saying “It’s not safe”. I don’t know if she was trying to say something else, but that’s certainly what it sounded like. It is a stark reminder that kids at this age are absorbing a lot more than we realise.

The rest of the day was fine though – we pottered about doing things and had no drama or stress at all which was nice. Here’s a little photo diary of our day for you.

Helping with the hoovering…

And mopping…

Taking some pictures of the bees in the garden with her pretend camera (facing the wrong way!)

Building an impressive house with magnatiles…

Playing with the water table that mummy cleaned out.

Spot of colouring and cutting/sticking out in the garden as it was such a lovely day.

Friday 10th April (Good Friday)

Our 20th Day on lockdown. Feeling so so grateful that the weather is nice, as it is really helping us feel more cheerful and upbeat. This morning was nice, we pottered about, played with some play-doh, and made a necklace with a shoelace and some cheerios, so she could take a snack out on our walk. We walked up to the post box again to send some more letters and cards. I really enjoyed a quiet walk in the sunshine, birds chirping, and the sun on my face, and took time to stop and smile and appreciate it. The lockdown is really making me much more mindful of the simple pleasures.

In the afternoon we washed my car with the hose, watered the garden, and just generally pootled about the house.

We haven’t received any regular (non-amazon) post for a week now, (last Saturday was the last time we got any letters/post) which makes me think our poor postmen are all isolating or sick now. I’m hearing that lots of people have had a letter from the Government by now, but we haven’t had one yet.

I’ve had a book I’ve been wanting to start for ages, but realised these last few weeks I haven’t had the brain power for a new book, or even for new movies or tv shows, so have just been watching old re-runs of comedy shows mostly as it’s easier on my tired and overwhelmed brain. I really want to start that book but can’t just yet.

Saturday 11th April

Had an ok night – we were up a couple of times but no more than usual. However I woke up completely knackered again. Busy morning pottering about at home, walking up and down our little street, playing on the grass, making rainbow fruit snacks, blowing bubbles, doing some yoga and baby workouts, and then we both had a nap.

My eye twitch has ramped up into hyper-mode today and is going non-stop. It’s so distracting and irritating, like a tiny strobe light flashing in your peripheral vision, or like migraine sparkles, but all the time, for days and days. The NHS website says (as I suspected) they are caused by stress and fatigue, so they recommend trying to reduce stress levels and sleep more – both seem laughably impossible at the moment so I guess I’m stuck with my twitchy eye indefinitely. Here’s a video for you – an extreme close up of my creepy eye pulsating and doing the fandango against my will.


We had hot cross buns for lunch and our lovely neighbours brought us a couple of chocolate bunnies, so between those and the eggs I already got us we will be in chocolate comas for the weekend!

The afternoon was slow and tiring. We did some painting and some more water playing. Drew some chalk pictures on the ground in the garden and played with the doll’s house. Tried to watch Paddington and realised I’m so tired I couldn’t really follow the plot, which is just so sad and depressing.

Went to bed exhausted at 9.30pm.

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