Sunday 24th May
It’s my birthday! We had SUCH a lovely day! The kid was really excited and helped me open presents in the morning and I baked a fresh loaf of sourdough (one of my best so far).
I got loads of lovely presents and cards, and we picked some of the gorgeous roses from my garden to put in a vase.
This is possibly my favourite present this year, a cross-stitch lovingly handmade by my talented friend, which is going to be hung in my newly-rearranged office.
Then we walked to the park to meet two of the Gods for a socially-distanced picnic. It was so lovely – the weather was lovely and sunny, the kid was really excited and was in a great mood all day, and we drank prosecco in the sunshine and ate my fresh bread with cheese, and had cake. It was SUCH a lovely day! After we came home I had a little nap and mum and the kid did some painting and gardening, then we watched another Disney movie and I flicked through some of my new books. In the evening I had a call with some friends and we ordered amazing pizzas again for dinner as we were feeling lazy.
Just a wonderful day and a really great birthday, in spite of the lockdown.
Here I am, 4 days into my curly hair experiment, easing my way into my late 30’s… (I was mid-thirties until today, but at 39 must concede I am now officially in my late 30’s….)
Monday 25th May
A good morning, and we went for a big long walk up to the nature reserve in the morning as the kid was bouncy and full of beans. It’s a gorgeous sunny day and is set to be hot and sunny all week. After our walk I popped off to do the shopping and then we pottered around at home, we set up a new play tent that a friend of mine got for my birthday (but for the kid) and the kid spent a happy hour playing in it and pretending to nap in it. She has been on such good form the last couple of days, happy, bouncy, full of energy and giggly. And she’s almost visibly growing – clearly she’s right in the middle of a big growth spurt, as I measured her feet and one foot is a whole size bigger than the other!
She’s also really switched on – mum and I were chatting while she pottered around getting teddies from upstairs and bringing them all downstairs, (and we assumed she wasn’t listening to us talking about the news), and mum mentioned I had left my phone upstairs on the bed. The next thing we knew the kid had gone upstairs and brought my phone down! We hadn’t even known she was really listening to our chat!
Watered the garden and happily watched my green bean plant get a little bigger…. And one strawberry that is ALMOST red enough to pick. More asparagus coming up, and more pak choi too. I’m really enjoying growing and eating my own food at the moment.
Made dinner and watched some of the live news coverage for a bit in the afternoon, and ate far too much cake, chocolate and sweeties. Watched a couple of episodes of my current favourite drama series (This is Us) with mum, and then off to bed.
Mum is heading home on Wednesday, and I have now been told that the kid can go back to nursery on the 8th June (they are starting with the older 4-years olds first on 1st June as they will be easier to settle in I think). So I will only have 1 week when I’m fully back at work and need to juggle the kid at home with me, and then potentially a couple of weeks settling her back in which might be rough, but hopefully once that’s all sorted out, I’ll be able to go back to work full time and she can be at nursery and everything will settle down a bit. My mum had a really good idea to try and organise a couple of socially-distanced playdates with some of her friends from nursery once we know who will be in her “bubble” so that she can start getting used to playing with other children again.
Tuesday 26th May
Last day with mum so I took the opportunity to run a few last errands without the kid, and I managed to find a buyer online for the bed in the kid’s room so we spent the morning un-flat packing the bed and got it collected, so the kid’s room has had a major makeover and now has loads of room to play and hold more toys etc.
In the afternoon I had another short work call and then took the kid out for a nice big walk. It’s set to be super hot and sunny all week so we are piling on the suntan lotion and filling the kid with juice and water!
I think I mentioned before that she’s learning so many new words and phrases right now, and it’s funny as she often mis-uses them as she learns. On my birthday she had so much fun running around playing football with the Gods, and on the way home she was upset and didn’t want to leave. I asked if she missed them, and she wailed “Yes! I miss them!! I miss my CAAAAAAAAKE!!!” This evening she also had a big old cry in the bath because “I miss Grandma!!!” even though Grandma was downstairs on the phone!
Wednesday 27th May
After breakfast and packing up bits and bobs, we set off around 10am and drove up to Leicester to meet my mum’s partner at a service station off the motorway to hand off the Grandma, and he drove her back up north. It was an excellent compromise so she didn’t need to get the train and we both only had to drive a couple of hours.
The journey was easy and traffic was very light so it was fine, The kid slept on the way up there, and watched a movie on the ipad on the way home, and although I was expecting tears and meltdowns about Grandma leaving, I think she has finally gotten old enough to understand what’s happening and that it was time for Grandma to go back to her own house for a while. We talked a lot about how we take turns when we play games, and take turns when we are queueing for the supermarket, so I said we had had our turn with Grandma now, and it’s Grandad’s turn to have her back for a bit, and so on.
We had a nice afternoon doing some more gardening and popping up to the post office to post a couple of things, and dropped in on my friend who seems to be doing a lot better now. Spent the evening doing some random bits of life admin on the computer, and watching more curly hair video tutorials, and online shopping for more hair-related products. It has opened up a whole new avenue of online shopping which of course I love – there are diffuser attachments for hair dryers, and clips and conditioners, and hair masks, and special towels and pillowcases, and gels and combs – so many things to buy! I am one week into my curly hair experiment and already seeing a difference. I’m very pleased with how quickly it’s getting really curly! My friend is going to try it too so we’ve been texting and sharing notes.
Thursday 28th May
In the morning we had a socially-distanced playdate at the park with another little girl who is going back to nursery soon, to try and re-socialise the toddlers and remind them what playing with other children is like. Nursery is going to seem overwhelming for them after 10 weeks in such intense isolation!
The nursery have very kindly contacted me to say that although my daughter’s age group isn’t returning til the 8th, given my circumstances they are happy for her to start the week before, so she can actually go back on Monday 1st. I’ve discussed with them the plan – I’ll take her in a bit later on Monday around 10am to settle her for a bit, and then assuming I can leave her that day I’m hoping I can get home for work, and we have agreed I’ll pick her up early around 3pm for the first week as she hasn’t done a full day before at nursery and is likely to be tired out. Hopefully this means that by the following week I can leave her full time and get settled properly back into work.
We came home and pottered around in the garden for a bit, did some more laundry, had lunch and then I had a work call in the afternoon so I busted out the ipad for the kid to play with for a bit. She decided she would rather sit on my lap and doodle in my notebook instead, so my colleagues all got to see her for a bit, but she was very good really. After that we played for a bit, and had dinner and bath, and then after she went to bed I needed to review a document for work so did that for a while.
I also needed to cut back my rosemary bush again today as it’s a bit rampant, so I decided to make Rosemary and Sun-dried tomato bread this time. Apart from seeds I haven’t tried flavouring my sourdough yet so am interested to see how it goes. I have also given my mum some of my sourdough starter, as well as my sister, so they are both going to have a go and see what they can make with it (I’m sure it’s useless me passing on knowledge I literally just learned a few weeks ago, but nevermind!).
Spent the evening working, making dough, and doing a few bits of life admin (they’ve just informed me my daughter had an ISA! Who knew?) So I have to fill out a bunch of forms to get access to it, see if there is any money in it, and if so, transfer it to the account I have already set up for her etc. Before I knew it it was 11pm! Busy busy busy as I get ready to go back to work…
Friday 29th May
Well in a classic move, the whole time my mum was here the kid slept really well and only woke up once a night, usually around 4 or 5 ish, but of course last night she woke up at 12.30, and then at 3.45 and again at 5.30. I really want to start training her to use the gro-clock, so she knows when it’s time to get up, but I feel there is no point when it is so light so early. Even with blackout blinds on both windows the light from the hallway through the crack in her door is very bright. I think when September rolls around and it’s not light at silly o’clock we might try that.
In the morning we ran some errands at the post office and collecting/returning a John Lewis purchase at Waitrose, and while we were up that way we popped in for a cup of tea in my friend’s garden now that we are allowed to. It was lovely to see them and feel a bit more normal.
Then we came home for lunch and I had to cook my loaf, and then I had a work call at 1pm. Despite setting the kid up with colours and an ipad and toys, she just wanted to sit on my lap and be noisy and chatty the whole time and bash my keyboard. I was trying so hard to concentrate as it was quite an important kick-off meeting for a project I will be managing when I go back to work next week, and I said “shush” so many times that she started shouting “SHUUUUUSH” at me like it was a game!
Of course when the meeting actually finished she decided to go off and play in her room quietly, so I had another quick call with my manager, and when I finished went to check on her. She wasn’t in her room. I called out “Where are you darling?” and popped downstairs, no sign of her in the living room or kitchen. I started to panic, suddenly wondering if any windows were open that she could reach, or if I’d left the front door unlocked and raced around the house screaming “WHERE ARE YOU SWEETHEART? ANSWER ME!” I finally got up to my bedroom in the attic and found her sitting in my bed with her teddies grinning at me – of course she couldn’t be quiet for 2 seconds while I’m on a work call, but race around the house screaming her name at the top of my lungs and she doesn’t make a peep!
She scared me to death! Next time I’ll have to check the windows and doors and shut the stairgate before doing a work call.
After that we went for a nice walk in the sunshine, (it was very hot still at 4pm), cooked dinner and she crashed out immediately at bedtime, and I spent the evening watching loads more videos about diffusing techniques and got loads more products to try out on my hair. Much like sourdough, it seems curly hair is my new hobby.
Saturday 30th May
The morning was quiet – I’ve got a lovely new sunlight clock for my birthday which we are testing out, though today we were awake before it went off anyway, so we watched the “sun” come up which was nice! Breakfast and laundry, and then deciding which errands to focus on today – shopping at Tescos and get petrol, or will the queues be too long on a Saturday? Or go for a nice long walk in the woods before it gets too hot? Or drive out to drop off some pottery to a friend?
In the end we went to the woods for a walk before it got too hot, had a really good long stomp around, and found a sandpit to play in, then we came home for lunch and a rest, and popped out to the shops in the afternoon. The kid ended up having a little nap in the car in the afternoon and was really grumpy in the evening – not sure if it’s cos she was hot, tired, hungry or what, but nevermind.
Shocking to think we only have one more day and then on Monday we both re-enter totally different lives – her back at nursery and me back at work. I have no idea how the settling in will go, and am hoping it’s not too hard. In some ways I am really glad I’ll be working from home for the next few months, as I was slightly worried about how I would manage the transition, working, and still doing all the laundry and cooking and shopping etc. At least if I’m working from home, I can bung the washing on and hang it out when I stop to make a cup of tea, and tidy up here and there during the day instead of doing it all in the evenings.
As we reach our 70th day on lockdown, I am reflecting on how long I should keep writing this diary. At the beginning this was all so unprecedented it seemed like a good idea to try and document what was happening, and as the weeks went on it became a lifeline – a way for me to vent and put all my frustrations out into the universe, but as we are now starting to slowly ease things up bit by bit, it is clear there isn’t necessarily going to be an “end” to the lockdown the way there was a distinct start. So I think this ought to be my last diary entry, as we begin to return to normal (ish) or at least a new normal, as I get ready to go back to work and get my daughter settled into nursery. I doubt I’ll have much of interest to say after that, so perhaps 10 weeks is enough.
I shall continue to post recipes and anecdotes and crafty things, but will end my quarantine diary here, after an extraordinary and challenging 10 weeks on lockdown in the UK.
Lockdown has given us scope to rediscover ourselves, small things of life, just living, counting moments, when to be free, at the same time finding freedom in insignificance…