Hello and welcome back to the third instalment of the Coronavirus Diaries – a place where I share what’s been happening in our (very mundane) daily lives whilst living in lockdown thanks to covid-19. If you missed previous entries, you can read about our first month here and our second month here.
It’s nearly 3.5 months since we went into lockdown. Somehow, we now find ourselves in the middle of summer as The Powers That Be continue to experiment with ways to make 2020 the shittest year in living memory. That being said, at least Frozen 2 has finally arrived on Disney+, so it’s not all bad…
So what’s been happening? Well, the reality, for us, is that not much has changed over the last month. From a Government and economy perspective, we’ve seen the opening of schools, shops, pubs, cinemas, hairdressers and, erm, model villages, as the country attempts to return to some kind of normality.
However, for us, we’ve felt pretty safe and comfortable in our little family bubble, so things remain pretty similar to when proper lockdown was put into place. L has returned to school (more on that later), but our outlook has kind of been one of ‘just because you can, it doesn’t mean you should’. Yes, we can go to the shops, but do we really need to, particularly if we can buy online?
I’ve also become wary of the Government, don’t particularly trust what they say and don’t believe that their intentions are for the greater good. As such, I’ve stopped looking at the news, watching the Daily Briefings etc, and we’ve just done what we think is best. For the moment, that’s been keeping ourselves to ourselves just to stay on the safe side.
The good news is that despite large gatherings – D-Day, the Black Lives Matter protests, the whole country visiting Bournemouth etc – we don’t seem to have seen any of the spikes as feared. This gives me more confidence that we can start going out, socialising and returning to normality, however I’m still a little hesitant and prefer to take things one small step at a time. You could say that I’m a bit like Neil Armstrong, only with more gravity and less social distancing.
As has become traditional during the Coronavirus Diaries, below you’ll find what’s been happening in regards to homeschooling, work, other activities and other news:
Homeschooling has continued, albeit with less routine, enthusiasm and drive than previously – that’s not necessarily from L’s perspective, more mine! As mentioned previously, the school sets three tasks per day online, then it’s up to us how – and if – we do them. We’ve tried to keep up where possible, but I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t sacked off some of the activities.
On the whole though, I’ve obviously tried to support L’s learning where I can. Part of me has struggled, but also part of me has enjoyed it. I’m no teacher, but I’d like to think that I’ve done more good than harm over the last few months. Her reading and writing has definitely improved and I think the one-on-one time has been beneficial for her learning.
As mentioned above, we made the decision for L to return to school. We didn’t do this as soon as schools opened, but instead waited a few weeks to see (a) how the school coped, and (b) whether there was any impact on infection rates.
It was also weighing the risk against the benefits. After being off school for months and missing both friends, teachers and the routine, we thought it’d do L good to return to school, particularly as she’ll be off for the summer holidays in a few weeks time anyway.
School has done really well at planning for the return of kids and we’ve been happy with what we’ve seen. Her class has been halved into two bubbles who attend on different days in the week. There’s also all of the necessary social distancing measures in place, such as sitting apart in the classroom, eating outside at lunch and not interacting with other bubbles. It’s different to the norm, but L has taken it in her stride.
In total, she’ll be in school for 8 days before the summer holidays start. It’s not really been about the learning, but more related to the fact that she can socialise, play and be with her peers. There’s also something nice about her being able to properly say ‘bye’ to Year 1 and prepare for Year 2.
As for ‘Beetle’, we’ve booked him in to start going back to nursery for two days per week from early August. Nursery opened at the start of June, but as we didn’t have a pressing need for him to go back, we made the decision to hold off. As things look to be improving – and as nursery have plenty of measures in place – we’re happy for him to return. Whether he’ll be happy though is another thing!
Not much has changed from a work perspective for me. As was the case last month, I’ve had one or two small bits of blog and social media related work, but this is significantly down on previous years, both in terms of the amount of opportunities and the number of viable collaborations I’d take on. However, even if there was more work, chances are I’d not be doing it as my focus is still on looking after both kids.
The Government announced an update to the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS), meaning that those who are eligible can claim for a second – and final – grant in August. As my work has been impacted and will continue to be, I’ll be taking advantage of this and applying for the grant. It’ll be a long way away from making up for the ‘lost work’, but every little helps and the support is both welcome and appreciated.
The Missus has settled into her new role well and continues to work from home. We’re lucky to have a small, converted part of the attic which we’ve always used as a home office, so she’s been able to work from there without too much child-related distraction.
In line with the relaxing of lockdown and social distancing measures, her management are keen to provide the option for staff to start returning to work. This means, that from next week, the Missus will be going into the office one day per week, then continuing to work from home the rest. This will feel like a big change for us all, but it’s good to see a sense of normality returning.
As per previous months, each day revolves around the kids playing with a combination of figures, animals, DUPLO, Mega Blocks, Playmobil, trains, cars, pretend food and Toot Toot toys. When they’re not doing that, then it’s drawing, colouring, activity books, crafts, Play Doh, Aquadoodle and Kinetic Sand.
Even then, they still sometimes say they’re bored! On the whole though, they’ve been brilliant and have played together really well. L shows loads of patience and ‘Beetle’ has really developed in both individual and collaborative play because he’s spent so much time with his big sis. It’s been so nice to watch.
The TV seems to be on for longer and longer each day though and is a cause of tension. I’m fine with them watching it, but I am getting a bit sick of the constant fight between one kid only wanting to watch Paw Patrol and the other only wanting to watch Henry Danger. Sometimes I just have to put my foot down and put on the football instead!
We’ve also made the most of the recent hot weather in the garden with water play, water balloons and water pistols – this includes the newly purchased Buzz Lightyear water blaster backpacks which are as fun as they look! Although we have a small garden, it’s been brilliant having an outside space for them to play and escape the four walls of the house.
Even though we’re keeping to ourselves, we still attempt to get out every day for a dog / kid walk. We’re continuing to explore our local area and the kids enjoy playing in the nearby woods. A recent development is ‘Beetle’s’ obsession with wanting to hold the dog lead. I remember L going through this phase and it’s funny to now see her little bro doing the same – although it’s not that amusing when he has a tantrum because we won’t give him it when we’re next to a road!
Having lost her first tooth during the first month of lockdown, the second tooth wasn’t that far as it fell out a few weeks ago. Luckily, she forgot to check if she’d been left any money when she woke up as we completely forgot! Thankfully, I was able to quickly sneak a quid into her room as she was having her breakfast.
After finding out that it was World Environment Day, L wanted to do something to help so asked if we could go litter picking. I bought a couple of litter pickers online, then we headed out into the woods to do our bit for the environment. She really enjoyed it and wants to do it again very soon.
Having planned to do it for the last 10 years, I’ve finally got around to decorating our staircase / landing! It’s the only room we haven’t decorated since buying the house and it’s well overdue. It won’t be anything revolutionary, but it’ll bring it in line with with downstairs since we completed the building work.
We had Father’s Day, which was a bit of a strange one. Not only were we unable to do a big day out like we usually do, but it was also the first without my Dad. It’s tough, because you want to celebrate it as a Dad for your own kids, but you also don’t look forward to it as a son without a Dad. Still, the Missus and the kids made an effort which was much appreciated.
Operation Get Healthy is still going well for both the Missus and I. It’s roughly two months ago since we started eating healthier, exercising more and cutting out chocolate. It’s not necessarily just about losing weight – although we’ve both lost around half a stone – but instead more about feeling better, having healthier habits and changing our outlook.
I attempted ‘baking’ with the kids, although I’m not sure if you can call it that when you use one of those shit, ready-made mixes. Baking is usually the Missus’ domain, but I was feeling particularly adventurous that day so thought ‘what the hell’. L has also continued to help us cook, which she’s really enjoyed.
As the kids get older and play together, I’m finding that I’m not needed 24/7. Wahoo!This means I’ve been able to read a bit more than I have during the last few years. At the moment, I’m making my way through Tyson Fury’s autobiography ‘Behind The Mask’ and ‘Ten Arguments For Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now’ by Jaron Lanier.
Having not seen any family for the last few months, we’ve started to put plans into place to see both my Mum and Brother, as well as Hay’s Mum and Dad. I’m pretty sure the kids are going to explode with excitement when they see them!
So that’s about it for this month, and, dare I say it, forever. As we’re no longer in lockdown, it feels like the coronavirus diaries should take a leaf out of Back To The Future’s book and end at a trilogy. Thanks for reading and all the best for a safe passage out of lockdown…