Quarantine Diary: Week 7

Sunday 3rd May

Slept ok last night though the kid woke up and screamed in my face and kicked me at 7am to wake me up which was unpleasant. She also had a nappy mishap last night so I had to strip down the bed at 10.30pm and change all the sheets but she barely woke up while I changed her. I’ve woken up with another headache this morning. Feels like I’ve had a low-level headache for days.

Mixed morning – the kid played happily with her cars for a bit, and read some books to herself. Then she screamed and melted down for a while. I made the mistake of digging out her Tiger Trunki suitcase thinking it would be a fun new thing to play with, as she can put things in it and ride it around. She packed with with toys, carried it to the front door and said “Put it in the car! Go Grandma’s house!” which of course I had to say we were not doing. Hence more meltdowns. Eventually we compromised and took the tiger suitcase for a walk down the street. It’s incredibly noisy and not really designed for outside, so I’m pretty sure it will have woken up and annoyed all my neighbours, but nevermind.

Overall the day was tough. The kid was knackered and kept melting down all day. I realised I was also knackered and struggling to play with her – I am glued to my phone or my laptop at all times, desperate to interact with the rest of the world, or to escape from the monotony and boredom, so I am constantly reading the news, checking social media, texting people, and am just too bored and tired to play incredibly dull toddler games over and over. The kid has shouted at me several times to put my phone down, which is telling. I wish I could, but haven’t got the energy or patience to sit and do nothing or play with her. I’m tired and bored and missing all the social interaction and I need to be occupied (by my phone). Ironically a couple of friends texted me today to see if I wanted a chat, but was too knackered to talk to anyone. Can’t work up the energy and don’t have anything at all to say, though I did have brief calls with my mum and my dad in the morning to say a quick hello

I made some more bread dough for tomorrow. I’m looking forward to my remote sourdough class on Thursday. I’ve fed my yeast starter and it’s bubbling away nicely in the fridge. Had some lovely feedback on my pottery catalogue and have sold a lot of pieces to friends already which is nice (I haven’t made it public yet as I wanted my friends to have a chance to buy things first if they wanted, and frankly I’d rather have stuff that I’ve made go to friends instead of strangers. It was hard enough to decide what to sell in the first place, as my instinct is to keep it all, so knowing it’s gone to people that I love really helps…).

My hayfever this year has been really crazy – far worse than normal, with constant running nose and sneezing. I suspect it’s the fact that no-one is cutting back all the verges and parks so the grass and wildflowers are rampant, which is lovely but annoying if you get hayfever! We are seeing so many butterflies that I’ve downloaded an app to start learning how to identify them, which is adding a bit of extra fun to our walks.

Monday 4th May

I was right – the kid was exhausted yesterday. She slept for nearly 14 hours last night (apart from waking up at 5am to come into my bed). Clearly she needed it! We are both feeling a bit perkier today, and I had a few jobs to do which always makes the time go by faster. By the time we had showered, dressed and breakfasted, it was time to put on a load of laundry, sort out the bread dough, and walk up to the shop for more milk, hang out the laundry and suddenly it’s lunchtime! Got out for a nice walk in the afternoon and watched another cartoon movie and before you know it it’s bedtime. Thank god for a good day!

They have been talking more and more about the mental health impacts of this lockdown, and aside from the rise in domestic violence, I also have at least one friend who has become suicidal during this phase, and many, many friends who are stressed, tired, frazzled, and bursting into tears constantly, much like myself. Most of the people in the latter category are also trapped at home with small children. I look back at my last 6 weeks of entries, each one written on the day to capture my mood at the time, I can see a real rollercoaster of ups and downs, of moments when I think we are adjusting and it’s getting easier, and then sudden moments when it feels harder and harder.

I am starting to wonder what the mental health implications will be for my daughter. I’m lucky that she’s young enough it’s unlikely she will remember this when she is older, but certainly as we enter our 7th week of isolating from the wider world, and adjust to this “new normal” as everyone keeps calling it, I wonder how she will react when she is finally allowed to go swimming again, or go back to nursery and play with other children again, or go on a bus again. She is already trained to avoid other people when we go out for walks, and often shouts “Mummy people!” when someone is coming towards us. I wonder how long the readjustment will take, and based on our previous experience of settling-in at nursery, I dread the difficult nights and lack of sleep that are likely to accompany the next big shift in our daily routines. Thankfully it’s likely to be a slow transition at least!

I keep hearing the message that “people should work from home unless they are unable to do so, in which case they can go to work”. However this message isn’t nuanced enough. Lots of people simply can’t work from home without childcare, yet are not allowed to send their kids in unless they are key workers. So what happens to those people? There seems to be no clear category for them, and most are struggling more and more as each week passes if they cannot be furloughed (I know a lot of parents who have requested to be furloughed as it’s too hard to keep up with a job while looking after young children).

Tuesday 5th May

Had an ok night and a quiet morning pottering around – the kid played with some toys, we made some more ice cream as we had some bananas to use up. I’m waiting on some more fabric to arrive so have had to pause on my quilt which is annoying.

We went for a short walk and I did some work emails and a couple of work calls while the kid played on the ipad – with mixed results. Not much else to report today. Pretty slow and boring but overall it was ok.

I promised the kid could have a go with some chocolate decorations she found (when they fell out of a cupboard). But couldn’t be bothered to bake anything for her to decorate, so we found some Jaffa cakes in the cupboard and just put more chocolate on them. I genuinely can’t tell if it was a brilliant idea or just the lamest thing ever.

Wednesday 6th May

Good night last night, though the kid managed to roll over and trap my boob under her bottle somehow this morning and pinch the skin pretty hard, which was a very sudden and painful way to wake up. Starting to think she’s doing it on purpose…

We’ve got a few errands to run this morning which is nice – helps to feel busy! And after some extensive online shopping I believe I have finally found a jumpsuit that doesn’t make me look like a potato! Sadly there is no-one who can confirm or deny this, so will have to take a poll of the neighbours later and see.

We are both feeling cheerier again and the kid is so delightful when she’s in a cheery mood. It makes all the difference frankly. We popped up to deliver something to my friend with a new baby (plus two other young children) to see how she was coping. She was just about to take the baby for a walk so we followed along 2m behind her and chatted for a bit as we walked round the park, which was lovely and felt surprisingly normal. We also walked past a field with some horses and the owner was there so she let us come into the paddock and pat the horses, which was lovely. The kid was raving about the horses for hours afterwards, though at the time she was very suspicious and concerned they might be trying to eat us!

In the afternoon we popped back up to Shotover for another walk in the woods (annoyingly people coming the other way kept telling us about a big deer they had seen but we couldn’t find it). Think we did about 5km today which was great and will help tire the kid out I hope. Lovely weather again for a few days so I’m planning a slightly more exciting local trip out tomorrow….

Thursday 7th May

Slow morning. The kid was up at 3am and once again I tried to settle her without going into her room, so had a good 45 mins of popping out of my bed to call down “time to go to sleep now baby girl” every time she started crying. She then did sleep through til 6.30am though, by which point it was VERY bright in the house, but my room is thankfully pretty blacked out so we both dozed for a while in my bed. Annoyingly after she went back to sleep at about 3.45am I couldn’t get back to sleep very easily so tossed and turned for quite a long time, and then had some very anxious and stressful dreams again (we had to hang-glide off a mountain while holding my two cats, that sort of thing). So although technically my phone sleep app thinks I got 9 hours of sleep last night, it was more like 6 (or it feels like it anyhow).

In the afternoon we went to Port Meadow – my first time there! People have been telling me about it for ages and ages but my first few years in Oxford I didn’t have a car or a bike so it wasn’t very accessible, and in later years I’ve tended to be away or busy most weekends and at work during the week so I just sort of forgot about it. But it’s amazing!

I am so glad that this lockdown is really encouraging me to explore new places locally as it was such a lovely place for a walk, a huge wide open space so it’s very easy to avoid other people, and the river was cold but we paddled. (I must have the only toddler in the world who really doesn’t like getting dirty! I had to seriously cajole her for ages to come and stand in the river and feel the squishy mud between her toes. She’s a funny old thing). However she was enthralled by all the animals – we saw horses, cows, ducks, geese and swans and she loved watching them. It was a lovely new thing to do, and we will definitely go back again to explore more (though possibly not on this Bank Holiday weekend as I suspect it’ll get busy!).

Sadly the kid had a really upset tummy in the afternoon/evening, so not quite sure what’s caused that. I’m going to avoid giving her any fruit tomorrow, just in case it was an overload of berries and oranges that caused it, though I don’t think that’s it.

In the evening I had my first sourdough online class via Zoom. It was really nice and fascinating to learn all about sourdough starter and how to keep my yeast alive. We fed it and she walked us through a bit of bread theory, and then tomorrow afternoon we’ll bulk feed the starter, and in the evening she will walk us through making the dough and kneading it. It was really interesting and I am really looking forward to my first sourdough loaf!

Friday 8th May

Last night was ok, though I am getting annoyed with my sleep app on my phone. Whenever the kid wakes up in the night, I usually pick up my phone to check the time, and also to alert it that I am awake. However once I go downstairs to sort the kid out, it thinks I have gone back to a deep sleep and so it doesn’t register me as being awake during those times when I am not in the room. So it keeps telling me I’ve had an amazing night’s sleep when I’ve been up two or three times. Anyhow, last night she was up around 1.40am, but went back fairly quickly and I was asleep again by 2 ish. She came up to my room around 6am, and once again managed to accidentally pummel me in the boobs. I’m getting some super weird bruises that look like my boobs have varicose veins, and frankly, I’m considering sleeping in a breastplate.

It’s a bank holiday today (I had no idea it wasn’t last Monday) but it means nothing to us – it’s no different than any other day, other than shops will be closed early, and parks will be busier, like they are on weekends. I can’t decide if we should go to the shops or not. I do need some bits, but can’t decide if the shops will be busy or empty today, and I haven’t been back since I had a meltdown at the checkout last week, so don’t want to risk battling the crowds. Tempting to do a drive-by and see what it’s like before I decide…

In other news – I grew Pak Choi in my little veggie patch! Cooked it in a stir-fry and it was delicious! There is something weirdly satisfying about eating something you have grown for yourself. I’ve already had 2 spears of asparagus and there is more coming up (though currently I only get one spear at a time so it’s hard to make much of a meal with it!). I planted some additional asparagus this year, and although I’m told it usually takes years to put up spears, my crowns that I planted 3 or 4 weeks ago are already putting up a couple of spears! They don’t look terribly edible at the moment but clearly asparagus loves my soil! Though sadly the green beans have been eaten to death and are not surviving, and I can’t work out if it’s slugs, bugs or something else!

The kid has been pretty grotty today so we didn’t do much. She is tired and grouchy, still has a bit of an upset tummy and is running a little bit hot – not a fever but definitely a raised temperature that is a little higher than normal. She’s been off her food, and after her upset tummy yesterday I have been avoiding giving her fruit so trying to tempt her with bread and stodgy food. Ended up making fairy bread to try and get her to eat something.

We did pop into Lidl in the end as we drove past and there was no queue, so popped in for bread and milk and a couple of bits. I had forgotten that Lidl have little mini kiddy trolleys, which my daughter just thought was the best thing ever and she felt SO grown up pushing her very own trolley around and putting the shopping in it, so that was a highlight for her. She spent most of the day still raving about the horses and cows from yesterday too, they clearly left an impression!

Made the sourdough dough today in our evening class…

Saturday 9th May

Up early for another Zoom bread class at 9am, and the kid was tired and grumpy again this morning, so we just pottered around at home again, but her temperature is back to normal and I think her tummy is settling down.

I’m VERY pleased with my sourdough loaves! Split one in half and took it to a couple of neighbours and kept the other – it’s VERY bread-like and probably my best loaf yet – super light and fluffy and delicious! Definitely worth the class! I know everyone and their dog are baking bread during this lockdown, so it feels like I have just jumped on a bandwagon, but I feel like I have properly learnt a new skill which feels like a real achievement, and something I can continue to get better at over time.

Next time will try adding seeds and practice scoring nicer patterns on it… Might branch out and try making sourdough brownies sometime too now that I have the starter….

In the afternoon we took the kid’s bike out for a ride to the park and to get some basmati rice from the refill shop. The kid is SO EXHAUSTED today she barely knows what she is doing. She is alternating between being a zombie and wanting cuddles and then screaming and screaming. We had some intermittent quiet time on the ipad so I got to have a nice catch up with the Gods in peace, but then I tried to write one email to my manager and she SCREAMED and had a tantrum the likes of which we haven’t seen in a long time. She’s eating ok today, and her tummy seems to be better so might just residual tiredness from not being well, or it could be the heat, or the lack of naps, or a combination of all three. I thankfully seemed to have more patience to deal with her today, and it helps to know that she’s grotty and miserable because she’s not been well, somehow that makes it easier to sympathise and stay calm! Hoping her total exhaustion all day means that she’ll sleep through tonight, though toddlers rarely behave in such a logical way….

Another week down – feels like a vague achievement but I am heading into Week 8 with a fairly heavy heart. We are mostly just surviving and trying not to melt down too much at each other and trying everything we can to stave off the boredom. I’m shopping online like a whirling dervish out of sheer boredom, and desperate to get back to work just to have something to DO, but have no idea how it will work with the kid being so grumpy at the moment and melting down constantly if I try to write an email. It’s impossible to concentrate on anything work-related with her around, and I’m just itching to use my brain again for anything non-toddler related (hence all the excitement about bread and learning something new!).

We have not yet had the magical update on 7th May – somehow each time they give us a 3-week timeframe, they manage to tack on an extra 3 days before they tell us what’s next. Apparently Boris is going to tell us tomorrow night, though I doubt very much it will be very different. I am anticipating they will say something like “Stay locked down, everything is the same but now you can go to a garden centre to buy plants” – basically that they will offer us some sort of minor change as a pretence that things are easing while not really changing anything fundamental. That’s my prediction as of today.

An extremely weird announcement today though – they are finally going to start quarantining people coming into the country, something other countries did literally a month ago! I cannot imagine why it has take THIS long for them to decide that this needs to happen, though I know in general very few people are travelling anyway at the moment. Seems like such a weird thing to suddenly announce as if they have only just noticed that the rest of the world did this WEEKS ago.

I can’t help looking back at the early days, in late Feb and early March, well before the lockdown, when lots of people were calling 111 with dry coughs and fevers, and were told if they hadn’t been in contact with someone from China or xx country they didn’t have it and didn’t need to worry (my local community facebook group had several people reporting this in early to mid March). In France a doctor has now posthumously tested patients who died in December and discovered the disease was already in France at Christmas, before China was even reporting it as a problem, and before anyone had even heard of it. All those people going to and fro from France and Italy and all sorts of other countries in January and February, all those Eurostar passengers with no idea they were spreading it around, and everyone was avoiding the Chinese and Asian community assuming they were the only ones who might have it.

So many mistakes. So many wrong assumptions. I am trying to imagine if all those people who called 111 with symptoms back then who had not been to China recently or in touch with anyone from those countries had been assumed to have it, and been tested, tracked and traced, instead of being told they did not have the virus and did not need to isolate, how much that might have changed what happened next in this country….

1 thought on “Quarantine Diary: Week 7

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