Quarantine Diary: Week 8

Sunday 10th May

Apart from being up briefly at 2am (she went back down very quickly) the kid actually slept through in her own bed until 7.15am. Which meant that for the first time in ages I woke up naturally to the birdsong outside, instead of being punched in the boobs. It’s amazing how quickly you can start to appreciate something as simple as waking up in a normal manner.

It was hot last night, so I slept with the windows open, which meant apart from the bright morning light at 5am, I also heard the 2am shouters further up my street, the 5am birds and the 6am ducks that my neighbours keep. And the 3am cats caterwauling, which sounds a lot like my kid screaming for me, so my body was up and halfway down the stairs before my brain realised it was coming from outside and I could just go back to bed.

Today was quite frankly an unmitigated disaster. The kid is clearly feeling much better today, but I am tired and grouchy and cross. I lost my shit at her several times today, shut myself in the bathroom twice, said “fuck” more times than I can count, including shutting myself in the bathroom to shout “FuckFuckFuckFuckFuckingFUUUUUUUUCK”. Not my finest parenting moment. I just felt angry and cross and impatient and could not cope with all the tiny irritating things she did today. At one point she grabbed two handfuls of my hair and started pulling it really hard. The harder I yelled for her to stop the harder she pulled and the more she laughed. I couldn’t get her little hands to ungrip and was genuinely scared she was going to rip it out of my head, it hurt so damn much, so the only thing I could think of was to pull her hair hard until she stopped – and of course she then cried. Felt so shitty but I also have had incredibly sore patches on my head all day and a killer headache ever since the hair-pulling incident. More fucks were screamed from behind the bathroom door after that episode.

My eye twitch never really went away but got a lot better and is a lot more intermittent, though this morning it was twitching like crazy again. Quel surprise.

It’s our 50th day on lockdown. An incredibly depressing milestone. Each time I get to our 30th, 40th, 50th day I think “How have we managed it, how have we got this far?” and yet somehow here we are, bumbling along. Each morning as I tick off the day on my calendar, I hear in my head the old Big Brother voice saying in a Geordie accent “Day 43 in the Big Brother House…” I have no doubt we will get to at least 60 days before anything major changes.

I’ve had an uneasy feeling ever since the Brexit Referendum, and Trump’s ascent to power that we are living in a weird video game, or someone’s dream, or an alternate reality where someone is playing out some really strange options in a choose-your-own adventure story just to see what happens. It’s an ever-increasing sense of cognitive dissonance that I cannot connect myself and my life and my known universe to this reality anymore. This latest worldwide pandemic just seems like the latest in all the crazy shit that has been going on in the world lately, along with Brexit, Trump, epic fires, floods, plagues of locusts and pestilence. It feels like the end of days in an over-dramatic apocalyptic movie, and it is so hard to connect all of that with the reality I am living in. We are locked in our homes, cheering on an elderly man for walking around his garden instead of rising up at the injustice of a slowly dismantled and chronically underfunded National Health Service. It all feels absolutely insane. I just sometimes genuinely cannot accept that it is all real, and wonder if someone will one day wake up and this will have all been a weird dream they had.

So that’s where my head is at at the moment.

Monday 11th May

Boris’s announcement last night wasn’t very illuminating. Updates on when schools are likely to go back – but nothing on what this means for nurseries and pre-school children. Again this message – if you can’t work from home, you should go back to work, but NO linkages to people who cannot go to work at home or otherwise because of the lack of childcare. Such a confusing message for people like me.

The extensions on exercise etc are not very helpful – we still can’t visit or exercise with anyone outside our household, or can we? Boris said last night only with members of your own household but the BBC is now indicating you can meet up with others, so who knows. An utterly confusing shitshow of messaging.

I’m still exhausted this morning. I went to bed last night just before 10pm. Kid woke up at 10.30pm, settled her back to sleep, and she woke up again at 1.30am. Settled her again and she woke up at 6am and didn’t go back to sleep so we were up early today. Tried really hard to engage with her and play today, so after breakfast we built a house with sticklebricks, we built stuff with magformers, we did some singing and dancing, and we did a new painting activity with cling film. Tried my best to just really play with her as much as possible. Managed to sneak in a nap at lunchtime while the kid watched some cartoons on telly, and definitely need an early night again tonight.

We needed to pop to the Post office today, but also had to wait in for a collection – I’ve been trying to return an item I bought from Next for a week now, but each time I book a collection slot on their website, it says it’s confirmed, I wait around at home, and no-one shows up. It’s REALLY frustrating and I’ve been back and forth with customer services who PROMISED me it is definitely booked for today. Thank god they did finally show up at last!

The afternoon was tough again. In spite of all my efforts to play and play and play with her, she was very bored, and waiting at home for parcels all day meant we couldn’t get out for a walk or anything fun today, other than a quick run to the post office. So she was bored and cross and we still had several meltdowns, lots of screaming and crying and carrying on.

Ended the day exhausted and stressed and weepy yet again.

Tuesday 12th May

I woke up exhausted again. I feel like I am starting to come apart at the seams a little bit. Have realised it’s close to a month since she last slept through and let me get a full 7 hours of sleep in a row. Looking back that was in Week 4, and I remember feeling like a completely new woman after that sleep. Now here I am, another 4 weeks later just exhausted down to my bones. I’m technically probably getting 7 hours of sleep, but it’s 45mins, then 3 hours, then 2 hours etc. All the getting up and going up and down stairs and waking up makes the sleep I do get very restless and I just wake up knackered. I can’t believe it’s been 4 weeks since I last slept well enough to feel rested and have the energy to do stuff.

Sleep deprivation really is a slow and cruel form of torture that will drive you insane. I feel so worn down I’m barely functioning anymore.

Today was ok I think, but mostly a blur. We had a call with a couple of friends with kids in the morning, but my kid doesn’t like it when I talk on the phone so she screamed and bit me until I hung up. Took her bike to the park for a whizz around, and saw another mum from the nursery. She said she won’t send her kid back as she doesn’t think it’s safe. I’m desperate to send my kid back, but also feel the risk to her (and to me) is extremely low, as I am under 40 with no underlying health complications, and she’s an extremely healthy 2 year old.

After lunch we made a shaker by putting pasta, rice and lentils into a bottle, which the kid enjoyed doing, did some dancing, and then we went for another walk up to the golf course, I parked the kid in a sand bunker, and immediately lay down for a 15-minute power nap (the kid doesn’t like me to nap so she jumped on me and poked my face until I opened my eyes). I was so physically tired it was a struggle to force my eyes open and drag myself off the ground and back home to cook dinner and I had a cracking headache, and my eye twitch came back again.

Cooked some dinner, put the kid to bed, and fell exhausted into my bed by 9.15pm.

My mum has offered to come down and stay for a couple of weeks to help me out. She has offered before, but we were coping ok, and I felt we would manage in the past. It’s so hard to ask for help, but I think I really do need it now, as it’s getting to be too much after 8 weeks on my own with no support. I feel so tired I’m barely functioning anymore and it’s such a struggle to get through the day without crying. Have discussed it with my sister and my brother and they are both ok with it, as is my mum obviously, so she’s going to come on Friday as she can get a lift with someone and stay for a couple of weeks.

Which means I’ve only got to survive for two more days…. I’ve never felt more like I’m in survival mode. I feel so tired and exhausted and mentally and emotionally broken that just getting us both through the day alive feels like an enormous effort.

Wednesday 13th May

Despite crashing out at 9.15pm last night I only got 5 and a half hours sleep before the kid was up at 3am, and then she was up again at 4.30am. The 4.30am call is a tough one to make. It’s not getting light til 5ish, so my usual rule is if it’s dark, then I settle her in her own cot, if it’s light I bring her up to my bed and we try to go back to sleep there. However after the 3am wake up, at 4.30am, I thought, she’ll be up again in an hour, which means I’ll be up again in an hour, so I just brought her into my bed.

At this point I feel like I’ve got such a massive sleep deficit that it will take days of sleeping through the night to catch up with myself….

This morning was ok – pottered in the garden, played some games, and then at lunchtime there was some screaming and kicking and frayed tempers all round. Pretty much our default setting nowadays. I can vaguely remember driving us to Lidl for the shopping and the man at the checkout teasing me for buying so much wine. I just stood there and stared back at him with my cold dead zombie eyes until he got uncomfortable and asked if I wanted a receipt.

I’ve got so many lovely friends calling and texting me to chat and try to help or cheer me up, but there’s just nothing they can do – none of them can come over and watch her while I sleep, or take her out for the day and give me a rest. Mostly when people call me I just cry, which is awkward and doesn’t achieve much – they feel bad for me and it doesn’t solve the problem. I don’t feel I have anything to say and I don’t enjoy crying down the phone at people so am now mostly too tired and too emotional to talk to anyone. I’m also grouchy because I’m so tired and really not at my best so I feel like I’m getting annoyed with every tiny thing, and I’m going to end up falling out with everyone I know because I’m such a grumpy bastard at the moment. It really sucks.

Thursday 14th May

Had messages from two friends who bought some of my pottery that it arrived broken and smashed. I feel so gutted – I wrapped them in newspaper and bubble wrap as well as I could, but they can’t be replaced as they were all unique. Obviously I’ll refund their money but just feeling so crushed and sad that selling things online instead of in-person just really hasn’t worked and now all those beautiful things I worked so hard making are ruined.

Waiting to hear from others but I suspect if they didn’t make it to Scotland or Surrey they won’t make it to Australia etc. Feels like just one more disappointment in such a shitty couple of months. So many things cancelled or ruined, so many disappointments on top of each other.

Fed my pet yeast and made some more dough so there will be fresh bread ready when my mum comes tomorrow. We also made some sourdough brownies with the leftover starter.

Today was ok. I did manage to get a little more sleep last night, so feeling much more able to cope with the day today. Plus we were busy today and busier days always make things easier. We got up, showered and breakfasted, fed the yeast, then it was time to zip out for some errands in the car, then home for lunch, and laundry, then went for a socially-distanced walk with a friend we haven’t seen in forever, which was lovely. Then home to make the bread dough and some brownies, and suddenly it’s dinner time. A much cheerier day, though the kid complained of being tired all day, even though she got loads of sleep last night, it’s easy to forget she is probably as knackered as I am at the moment. Aside from today I think this has been the worst week for me so far of this lockdown.

Friday 15th May

Yesterday I felt a tiny bit more rested but today I woke up exhausted again.

Made bread in the morning, and had a tidy-up around the house ready for Grandma to arrive. Didn’t have the energy for a walk (realised apart from yesterday we’ve barely been out all week as I’m too tired so we just walked up and down our road for 20 mins). Then we watched tv for hours, or at least tried to, but the kid gets bored easily. I just felt tired to my bones again.

My mum arrived in the afternoon and took the kid out for a little walk and I crashed out hard on the sofa for a power nap. Then later they played and chatted – the kid LOVES her Grandma, and it was nice to hear her chattering away to someone who isn’t me for a change!

While I was cooking dinner, I got a little teary. Mum and my daughter were playing something silly in the living room and the kid was squealing with laughter. Proper, belly laughs the way only toddlers can, and I realised I had forgotten what her laugh sounds like, as she hasn’t properly laughed like that for ages. We’ve been so busy surviving that I hadn’t even realised she hasn’t laughed properly for weeks and weeks, and there she was squealing with happiness, and it made me cry a little bit.

Tonight after putting her to bed and making dinner, mum and I sat and watched telly, and it was so lovely and normal to just watch tv with someone, sit next to them on the couch, it’s been so long since I’ve had proper grown-up company and it feels so wonderful to suddenly have someone here, in the flesh that I can talk to and reach out and touch.

I can tell this is going to help me so much already.

Saturday 16th May

With absolutely classic timing the kid finally slept through last night! Straight through until 6am and I feel so much better already. She has spent the morning happily bossing me and Grandma around, playing with toys, showing Grandma her things and doing some painting. It’s nice to have someone else who can engage with her for a little while so I can switch off and recharge without feeling guilty for ignoring her, and she has clearly missed other people too, so she is very happy and bouncy too.

By 9am I was knackered and had another headache so I popped off to bed for a nap, and mum took the kid out on her bike for a little ride. As expected, it’ll take me a while to catch up on all the lost sleep I suspect.

In the afternoon we played, went for a nice long walk, played in the car again, had a catch up phone call with my sister, and generally puttered about. The kid was knackered as she was up early and it was VERY exciting having Grandma here, so she was a little bit ratty in the afternoon, and crashed out hard at 6.30pm while watching telly. I had more energy than I’ve had for a while so I did a bit of clearing out and sorting through mountains of crap that has been piling up lately.

Such a relief to have my mum here. It helps so much.

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