Quarantine Diary: Week 6

Sunday 26th April

Feeling tired and sluggish again this morning. Kid was up at 2.30am-3am and again around 5ish, and then got up at 6.30am, so it was quite a broken night. Had a nice video call with the family and then we walked up to the garage to get more milk. Started another batch of dough off to rise that we’ll cook tomorrow, though my waistline is not loving the new addiction to bread… Might take half a loaf over to the neighbours tomorrow so we’ve only got half a loaf to eat…

Swept the floors, had lunch and then went off for another mega-long walk as the weather is so lovely and it’s due to rain next week.

This time we went down another new path and discovered an amazing local nature reserve that I had no idea was there! It was beautiful, and I reckon the kid walked nearly 4km! She was walking for almost 2 hours straight which is astonishing. One really positive thing about this lockdown is that she is getting much better at walking further and further distances and we have pretty much given up using the buggy now that she’s not napping anyway. I am really enjoying discovering all these amazing spaces right on our doorstep. If there hadn’t been a lockdown I’m not sure I would have ever discovered them!

Monday 27th April

We were both awake at 4am and struggled to get back to sleep, and my wrist is really bothering me today – sore and achey and I am struggling to grip things and lift using my right hand (even lifting the kettle to make tea was painful). Can’t hold my phone easily and have to be really careful when lifting the kid not to strain it. Must call the doc back and see what else we can do about it.

Popped to Lidl today in search of compost as everywhere seems to be sold out online, garden centres are closed and I haven’t found any in our usual places like Wilkinson etc. We also needed to pick up some more shopping for my neighbour, who is isolating and running low on newborn nappies and a few other bits.

Made up another loaf of fresh bread and took half of it plus some cheese over to my other lovely neighbour who had a bad fall yesterday (I encouraged her to go and get an x-ray but she is very high risk for Covid and is terrified of going to hospital at the moment).

Had 30mins of work to do today as they were migrating my emails over to a new server and needed me to do some stuff. The kid pretty much screamed at me the whole time, which was stressful and annoying. We popped out for a short walk in the afternoon and I got a bit more of my quilt done in the evening which is cheering me up.

Tuesday 28th April 

Last night I decided to resist bringing the kid into my bed and try to re-establish getting her settled in her own bed. She woke up at 4.30am, so I sat in her room with her until she went back to sleep. By 5.30am she was still awake so I gave up and we went back to my bed, though we didn’t fall back to sleep til around 6am, and we both ended up sleeping until nearly 9am. I am worried I embedding new bad habits that are getting harder to break. Might need to just leave her to scream it out tonight instead, though I hate doing that.

Got a tip off that Wilkinson might have a fertiliser delivery this morning so off we went first thing to queue up and see what we could get. The rain thankfully kept everyone away so there was no queue and I managed to get 2 big bags of compost which was great! Although with all this lovely weather we’ve been having I completely forgot that you cannot give a two-year old an umbrella to hold and expect her to move her legs and walk anywhere at the same time… It just took us approximately 15 years to get across a car park and I don’t think I’ve ever been more annoyed. She was happily dawdling along at a snail’s pace under her brolly while I stood in the pouring rain yelling “COME ON DARLING, MOVE A BIT FASTER PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF GOD!” No that’s unfair to snails. Snails move a lot faster than my kid holding an umbrella, as apparently operating arms and legs at the same time is just too much to ask.

That damn umbrella is going straight in the bin the minute she releases her iron-grip on it…

The rain meant staying in for the rest of the day so we watched a LOT of telly, (feeling like a crap mum today, I’ve just got no interest in playing with her at all, or coming up with anything vaguely interesting to do). We sat in the car again and hung out there for a bit and called Grandma for a chat. Then she did some painting and I did a load of laundry. Then we watched a bit more telly. It’s been a very boring day indeed. I just feel so bored of everything we have to do in the house now – I’m bored of all our toys, and I’m bored of play doh and painting and cutting and sticking, and I’m bored of baking and I’m bored of all our stories and I honestly can’t think of a single thing we could do tomorrow that I’m not already bored to death of.

Wednesday 29th April

Had an alright night, and the rain lifted briefly this morning so we got out into the garden to do a bit of planting and composting and to build a sturdier anti-cat fence. The kid was very helpful using her little spade to fill up her little bucket with compost and tip it onto the flower beds while I wrestled with chicken wire, and it kept her busy for a good half hour, and we have planted out lots more seeds, like carrots, radishes, kohlrabi, and green beans.

We had a very quick little walk down our street and then had a cup of tea for me/hot chocolate for her. After lunch we made a den in her cot by throwing a blanket over it, and played in her room for a little while, then we got out the dreaded brolly to go for a walk. The rain actually stopped and the sun came out, which caused a serious tantrum cos she wanted to have her ‘brella up in the rain. There was shouting and throwing – she didn’t want to hold the brolly but didn’t want me to hold it either, didn’t want it to be up, didn’t want it to be down. Thankfully halfway through our walk it started pouring again so she was happy as larry under her ‘brella listening to the raindrops pitter-pattering on it. She literally grinned the whole way home in the pouring rain. Toddlers eh?

We came home and popped a cartoon movie on, had another cup of tea and made some more bread dough to cook for tomorrow. As it’s a no-knead recipe I made some “dough” for the kid to play with out of flour and water and she spent a happy half hour adding “puppy seeds”, rice and dried pasta to her dough!

Thursday 30th April

It’s my best friend’s birthday today, and it is also our 40th day on lockdown (feels very Biblical somehow). I have been sending her little presents and cards in the post to try and make her birthday feel more special, and I have spent the whole week pretending to myself that we could just get in the car and drive to London to surprise her, just to stand in her car park and see her, even though I know we can’t. I so wish we could though. I miss her so much. I miss everybody.

This morning started off fine. We both slept really well and woke up in a good mood, so I was not expecting the day to take such a steep downward turn. Though we have had quite a few good days in a row so I guess we were due for a bad day…

After breakfast, we needed to pop back to the shop for some more milk and a couple more bits and bobs that we forgot last time we were at the shops. The kid had been shouting at me all morning demanding chocolate for breakfast and kept hitting and kicking me and screaming when she didn’t get what she wanted, and as soon as we got to the shop she started making a continuous whiny-shrieky noise that was SERIOUSLY grating on my nerves.

The supermarket has a new one-way system in the shop which meant I had to keep going down aisles I didn’t need to go down to get to the one I did need, making it all take twice as long, and the trolley was heavy and really hard to turn round all the extra corners with the kid and the shopping in it, especially with my sore wrists. People kept tutting at me if I tried to dash down the aisle the wrong way, or if I left the kid at the end of the aisle sitting in the trolley and ran up it to grab something, and I got more and more stressed, and she would not stop making the whining keening noise the whole time. One woman was stood in front of something I needed for AGES and seemed to be pondering one of life’s great questions (arrabiata or marscapone sauce on her pasta…) and eventually I just reached across her to grab a tub of cheese sauce cos the kid was shrieking and I had to get out of the shop before I exploded and the lady looked at me over her facemask with disgusted eyes and said “EXCUSE me!” as if I had just licked her eyeballs. (I know, I know, I’m in the wrong, and was less than 2 metres away from her but it was just all too fucking stressful).

By the time we got to the check out I was begging the kid to stop making that god-awful noise as it was twanging along my very last nerve. I don’t know who was more surprised, me or the checkout lady when I suddenly burst into tears while packing the shopping into bags. The poor woman at the checkout was so sweet and I was mortified, and as soon as we left the shop I sat down on the pavement next to the trolley and wept. It took me a while to pull myself together enough to get up off the concrete and get the kid and the shopping back into the car. I had to stand there in the pouring rain next to the car and just feel the cool rain dripping onto my face for a few minutes to get my shit together enough to drive us home.

We came home and I just couldn’t turn off the waterworks. I had apparently opened the floodgates and just needed to let it out so I called my mum and cried at her for a little while. Then I felt better so we had some lunch and I put Mary Poppins on the telly.

Later we went out with her wellies and puddle-suit and ‘brella and stomped about in the rain and the mud for an hour. Then we came home and she melted down and screamed at me constantly for a couple of hours. Poor girl, she is two and a half, and bored and frustrated and worried because her mummy was crying and she doesn’t know how else to express all her big feelings, screaming and kicking is all she knows how to do. I felt so drained and exhausted and fragile, so I put her favourite cartoons on yet again, (feels like she’s been watching TV continuously for days, and it doesn’t really stop the screaming and kicking and boredom anymore) and I just sat staring at her little curls. I needed to focus on something small and manageable in what had turned out to be an utterly shitty day. So I sat there, staring at these gorgeous tiny ringlets that I love so much. And focusing on how much I love them reminded me of how much I love her, because I needed something good to cling onto today.

So I am clinging onto these tiny little curls which I love so much, they are my little pieces of hope that tomorrow will be a better day, because I feel drained and exhausted, and some days it is relentless, and I just really need not to be shouted at, screamed at, kicked or punched for a little while.

Friday 1st May

Well last night was shit too.

She woke up at 2am and I was determined to try and let her scream it out and not have to sit with her for an hour. So I went in. cuddled her, put her lullabies back on, and then left the room and explained I was outside and not coming back into the room. She screamed intermittently for over an hour, and every once in a while I reminded her I was still here and it was time to go to sleep.

I’ve had a lot of people tell me to just “let her scream it out” and I know that eventually sleep training does work, but I don’t think people without kids know just how hard it is to do. Imagine someone you love dearly (your mum, your brother, your wife etc) in the next room, screaming in distress and begging you to come and sit with them and hold their hand. The person you love is just screaming and screaming and you have to lie there and ignore them. It’s heartbreaking. I lay in bed listening to the screaming, my heart pumping, feeling really stressed, adrenaline and cortisol racing round my body trying to resist going in and giving her a cuddle. After an hour I did pop back in and give her a little water, as she was literally screaming herself hoarse and it sounded so awful and raspy. I put the lullabies back on again and by 3.30am she was finally back asleep.

She woke up again at 5.30am, and by then it’s light outside, so there is no point in even trying to do it all again, so I brought her up to my bed again. Urgh. Hoping if I can hold out for a few more nights it might settle down, but it’s so hard to know. We’ve tried this approach before, and it works for a while, and sometimes she sleeps through for a few nights, and then she doesn’t, and we are back on the merry-go-round. And my approach is rarely consistent because it depends on how knackered I am and how much brain power I can harness at 3am as to whether I tough it out or cave and just bring her into my bed so I can sleep.

Anyhow, a slow and gentle morning, we built some towers and duplo blocks, puttered about in the garden again, and I cut myself to ribbons constructing more cat defences for the flower beds out of chicken wire. Hoping to stop them shitting in my flower beds and also digging up all my seedlings, vegetables and flowers.

The bread I made yesterday in amongst all the drama was my best loaf yet. I want to marry it and have it’s babies. Was originally gonna take some over to another neighbour, but hell no, I’m eating all the bread and all the cheese and all the chocolate this week. It’s called Comfort Food for a reason and I am eating and eating and eating my way through this lockdown… Today I made proper grilled cheese under the grill with it and it was AMAZING. I don’t even care about all the calories.

I also started making some space in my freezer by tucking into a few of my pre-made ready meals. I like to label them accurately based on how I feel it went at the time, so I will know what I am getting when I defrost it weeks later. There’s nothing worse than being disappointed with your food, so I like to know what I’m getting into.

Part of me is relieved that April is over. It was not a fun month. But part of me is even sadder that it’s May, and we’re still here, 6 weeks later, with no hopeful news yet from the Government about when it might start to get better. I feel like I need that now, I need to hear some good news, and know that there is a light at the end of this tunnel, before they go ahead and announce another 3 weeks of lockdown (which seems likely).

The tone of the daily Government briefings has shifted. In the early weeks it was all very strong and purposeful and peppered with war references and stiff-upper-lip British resolve to keep calm and carry on (while staying at home) etc. Now that the rest of the world are looking at us in shock and horror, and now that it is becoming clear that we may well be one of the worst-hit countries in the world, now that we have almost drawn even with Italy’s death toll, despite all the rhetoric about us being 2 weeks behind them, things are feeling different. The briefings this week have felt defensive. Matt Hancock today looked and sounded defeated as he opened the briefing, and there seems to be an increasing acknowledgement, even if it is unspoken, that our Government simply hasn’t done enough, that they have clearly made some bad decisions that have led to loss of life, and that other countries have made much much better decisions at crucial times than we have.

They really need to start sharing something, anything at all, about what comes next. After 6 weeks of patiently and painfully sitting at home and waiting, we all really need to hear what the plan is, and feel reassured that the people in charge actually have a plan, as the longer they go without telling us what they intend to do, the more it is feeling like they just haven’t got a clue how to get us out of this.

Saturday 2nd May

Had an ok night. The kid woke up around 5am, and it was already light, so she came into bed with me and went back to sleep until 8.30. I woke up before her with a headache, and felt knackered, but couldn’t get back to sleep.

However we had a nice chilled out morning, after brekkie we walked up to the shopping centre as my other neighbour who is isolated needed some stuff, and it was a nice gentle walk in the sun. Came home and had lunch, and then I made up some lasagna’s (one for our freezer, one for my neighbours with a newborn baby). Bit more gardening, played with some puzzles, went back and played in the car some more. In general it was a nice calm day for both of us.

Some random good news – the nursery have said we got the days we wanted from September so the kid can go full time (assuming they are back by then). Which is a relief that I don’t have to sort out complex childcare issues when I eventually go back to work.

I left the kid’s hair down so I could enjoy her glorious curls, even though it’s a nightmare to brush at bedtime if I leave her hair down all day like that. Her hair gets more gorgeous and amazing every day.

I’ve got mixed feelings about saying goodbye to another week – I am relieved we have made it through 6 weeks of this, and apprehensive about what might be coming next, whenever the Government deign to tell us what the plan is. I don’t think I can do another 3 weeks of this without knowing when it will get better, without knowing when nurseries or gyms can reopen, even if they say it’ll be another xx weeks, I need to know now so I can count down towards something, instead of just marking off days on my calendar relentlessly with no end in sight.

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