Our lockdown so far….

I haven’t written much on my blog for a while but thought I’d document a bit of our life in lockdown so far. After all, these are unprecedented times and when it’s all over, I’m sure we will look back on it in disbelief. That’s if we get to the point where it’s ‘all over’. Who knows? Maybe things won’t ever go back to normal… maybe there’ll be a new normal on the other side of this.

We are now into week 9 of lockdown and for me, it’s absolutely flown by. Yet there’s been a massive mixture of emotions during this time.

The media reports, in the first couple of weeks especially, were bringing home the enormity of the Covid-19 pandemic. Watching it take a hold of the whole world was frightening. Countries like Italy struggling to cope with the thousands of deaths was devastating to see, followed by Spain. Then came the speed of the full lockdown here and schools closing all making it very real indeed.

My children found it difficult to come to terms with, that last week of school. Everything was quite confusing with no clue given as to how long this could go on or if they would be going back to school at all before the end of the academic year! My daughter was upset that she wouldn’t be going to school or seeing her friends for ages. She was worried about her work and falling behind, with her GCSE’s being next year. She’s year 10 so an important year. She felt upset too for her year 11 peers who were distraught that they would miss their last few weeks ever at school.

My little twins are in year 6, their final year at primary school, so if lockdown goes on for a few months they will miss everything that that last term entails – leavers assembly’s , parties, fun and all the goodbyes! The realisation of this among their class mates and teachers made them all extremely emotional. It upset me too.

On top of that, there’s the virus. The daily briefings from the Government became a must watch to see how the virus was progressing and to ensure we were doing the right thing to avoid catching it… like socially distancing, washing hands etc. Life just suddenly ground to a halt with no one being allowed out unless it was absolutely essential. We were told we mustn’t mix households which meant family and friends couldn’t see each other. The streets and roads were deserted. It was very eerie and unsettling.

But we got on with it and a week or two in and it was like we’d almost forgotten about life beforehand! The twins were basically on school holidays… their school said they weren’t going to start setting home school work until after the Easter holidays, although they were given ‘suggested’ work to do, like reading or websites to look at if we wanted to. We did the odd workbook here and there to break up the days and keep them away from their devices for a bit but nothing major. My daughter did have home school work set which she just got on with and did at her own pace.

Spring was suddenly upon us and it was a blessing. The sunshine has a habit of lifting the spirits and we could start enjoying the garden again. It made being stuck at home more enjoyable.

Up and down the country families started going out for the Governments’ daily allowance of exercise of one hour, and taking a daily walk, but socially distancing from anyone else of course. Two meters is the guideline. We ventured out too together, not every day but it was nice to get out as a family. People would cross over the road to stay away, or walk round each other to comply with the distancing. It was strange. Really strange.

I started running (well, fast walking and a bit of running!) and I’ve been loving it! Sometimes I take the kids to get them out of the house and enjoy the good weather, otherwise I go on my own. This is not something I would do if it wasn’t for being in lockdown.

As time has passed we’ve just been set in our own little bubble and eventually stopped watching the news and daily briefings that were practically the same every day anyway. It became depressing seeing the number of deaths being announced then the fiasco with the care homes… it was all doom and gloom, plus I didn’t want the kids seeing it either.

We’ve been lucky I guess that Scott or I didn’t have to leave the house to work so we’ve been able to almost ‘hide’ at home with the kids and feel relatively safe. But every time either of us has to go out to do some food shopping I find myself being terrified of other people and germs. I’ve become ridiculously paranoid, having disinfectant wipes in the car and scrubbing my hands. Even wiping every single item of shopping religiously too with the wipes before I put it away. I just think we can’t be too careful. People with the virus could’ve touched the packets before us couldn’t they?

I haven’t taken to wearing a mask though. I did try but just couldn’t stand it. It itched my face which meant I wanted to touch my face even more than I would normally, and that’s been one of the major factors in spreading the virus… touching the face. So instead I find myself barely breathing as I navigate the supermarket as fast as I can, giving other shoppers an angry glare when they don’t distance properly. Actually I’m surprised I haven’t had a huge row yet… some people! In the earlier days shops seemed stricter and shoppers were staying the required (or as much as they could) 2 meters apart. But as time has worn on no one seems to care as much and it aggravates me. I just try to get around the supermarket as fast as I can now so I can get back home!

Homeschooling has been a bit of a chore for us. The school set work each week starting after the Easter holidays but it wasn’t compulsory. They know each family is different and it was a case of if you can then try, if not just do what you can. We looked at past Sats papers as the boys would’ve been doing them had school not stopped. From doing this I could see big gaps in their knowledge base, especially in maths, so I devised a plan to practice these rather than do new work set by their teacher. We’ve used workbooks that we’ve collected over the years from having two older children and also joined Twinkl, an homeschooling subscription website that waived their monthly fee for anyone who signed up during the pandemic. This is a wonderful resource which we have used but the boys have struggled to get into their schoolwork and I must admit to doing the absolute minimum some days! Oh well.

Technology has really come into it’s own. Oscar and Hugo have been able to play online with their friends.. mainly Fortnite, which they love… I mean what boy doesn’t? Even though I have to drag them off after a while otherwise they’d happily be on it ALL day, I think it’s a wonderful way to stay in touch with friends and have fun at the same time! This has been so important during this time – they need those connections. Poppie too has played Minecraft online, as well as downloading Netflix Party in the very first week! It does come with a downside though… we often find ourselves having to sensor what we say in case someone has their headset on when gaming (they can hear everything!) or is Facetiming (they can hear and SEE everything!)… urgh, so annoying!

We’ve been out clapping for the NHS every Thursday without fail! I remember the first time this happened and seeing the coverage on TV… it gave me goosebumps. The overwhelming gratitude we all feel at this time for our NHS heroes, putting themselves in danger on the front line every single day. But not only them, all the keyworkers who have kept the country ticking over while we are all in lockdown. It’s opened our eyes as a nation. We are now acknowledging these (low paid in most cases) workers who have become our most important at this critical time. I hope we will continue to see and appreciate them when all this is over. Their efforts must be recognised. We mustn’t forget.

The worry never leaves us though. Coronavirus is like a black cloud which we can try and ignore while we’re all at home getting on with various things, but it’s there. The worries about how long it will all go on for. Scott needs to get to work sooner rather than later. Will the children go back to school before September?

We’ve heard Boris announce that the first slow steps to easing the lockdown are coming next week. Realising the stress of being out of work for over two months, the Government has advised those that can’t work from home they can go back to work, as long as their work place have social distancing measures in place. People will be able to have unlimited outside time, instead of the one hour a day currently, and can meet with one person too as long as it’s outside, socially distancing. We will also be able to ‘drive’ somewhere for the first time too, meaning we can go further afield for our walks.

We are absolutely going to take advantage of this by going to visit my eldest son who has been isolating with his girlfriend at her parents B&B in Whitstable. I’ve missed him loads but I know he’s better off being there as they have their own little apartment within the B&B and it’s by the coast. His girlfriends’ sister and brother are also there and they’re all very close in age so much more fun! We will of course have to social distance.

It will feel very strange driving somewhere further than the supermarket after all this time but I can’t wait! I need to see my boy. I’ll be nervous though, being out and about, especially having the kids with me, but we will be very careful.

Then it will be back to the new (for now) normal. Staying at home and, fingers crossed, staying safe.

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