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Lockdown Update: Bittersweet

After nearly 2 weeks of LOCKDOWN, emotions are settling down, we are adjusting to our new way of life, and we are eating way more snacks than necessary. Here are some things I’ve realised in our Corona bubble in the last few days:

 

  • Went in too strong during the first week of “kid’s activities” and set the bar waaaaaayyyyy too high. Doing more now with them than I ever have??? Now one of the most asked questions is “what are we doing next Mummy”. Should’ve gone in low.

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  • I Have let myself go….already. Shaving is unshaved, plucking is un plucked, make-up is not made-up, hair is just outright bushy AND I’m not even bothering to speak as much, just grunt in a primitive type way. And If I’m showing my midriff and side boob before midday…WHO CARES!!!! Unless you nip out to put bins out and your’e spotted by postman (sorry and I really appreciate the work you are doing).

 

  • I have forgotten how to dress. My comfy house clothes game is TOP-NOTCH, however, on the occasion that I re-enter into civilisation, I actually can’t remember how to dress? How did I dress before all this? What goes with what? What is socially acceptable? Can I go out in slippers? How do I wear jeans? What are jeans? I am now finding that I am planning my weekly food-shop-outfit like it’s a red-carpet premier. Little things.

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  • I have become really adept to social distancing from my husband. Days are FULL ON, so once the kids go to bed I feel social distancing should be enforced to keep one’s sanity and marriage alive. I believe it is at least 12.5 meters from the living room to bedroom. Gold star. And god bless the garage. Not quite sure what goes on in there but god bless it anyway.

 

  • Don’t quote me on this, but I think DIY is a chance to escape from the kids??!

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  • I believe the weekly food shop outing has become a pleasure and almost a “chore” to fight over? Chance to break the cycle. Even though this is such a bazar experience in itself and a reality check outside of your isolation bubble.

 

  • Working from home is a massive juggle BUT (if the kids don’t find you) a lovely break.

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  • Using social media waaaaay too much. Maybe it’s because we can’t see REAL LIFE people, so we have to get our fix. Reassurance? But I am disgusted at myself how much I’m on it at the moment. I actually thought there was smoke coming out of my Instagram account the other day.

 

  • My tea drinking has become EXCESSIVE. It really breaks up the day, and it has become exciting to vary it between normal tea, mint tea, lemon tea and ginger tea. I fear that I may actually need a life. And how will I EVER go back to normality and acceptable tea drinking levels.

 

  • Carnage but calm, all at the same time. I can only liken it to the days when I had 1x baby and 1x toddler on maternity leave and not a single second everrrrr to myself. The days are just total carnage, so much noise and chaos constantly. But at the same time, I’m starting to feel quite calm??? No schedules, no plans, no routines, no clubs, no school run, no social commitments, no deadlines, no…….no nothing. Apart from the obvious elephant in the room (starts with C), I’m not worrying and stressing about life in general. Kinda like a long-extended Christmas holiday (festively plump) but without the tree? Hell, I might actually get a tree.

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  • YOU TIME-nope. zero. Although, I’m grateful to the kids for not giving me time to think too much. Evenings (apart from social distancing from husband) become the time to work out, wash, clean, eat, sit down, reply to messages, work, shave/pluck (maybe) DIY etc. I’m very aware that isolation must be totally different for everyone. On the other end of the spectrum, people doing this by themselves must be really tough in other ways.

 

  • Home-schooling isn’t for us. The first week I found really stressful as live stream school stuff we had to keep to, worksheets to get through, educational games to play, phonics to learn, writing to do. An overload of things to do and different options and I felt like I needed to do it ALL to be a good mum. But actually my 4-year-old was not interested or compliant and my 2-year-old was intent on putting a stop to anything remotely productive. So, the second week (technically Easter holidays so anything we do is a bonus), after reading lots of inspirational quotes floating around on social media, I relaxed the “rules”. I’m trying to go-with-the-flow-man (matches my hippy hair and hairy legs) and taking my 4-year-olds lead with learning. If he’s up for it, we seize the moment, if he isn’t, we do something else! But I can honestly say I think all teachers should be given an MBE from the Queen.

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  • Not lacking ideas, lacking time???! Seem busier now than ever, working my way through list of “fun lockdown activities to do with kids” and “stuff to get done in the house during isolation”….alternated with 3x meals a day, daily exercise, work, keeping house semi liveable and just generally keeping the status quo. Ironic, as technically I should have all the time in the world now.

 

  • Forgotten how to socially act. I don’t know how to talk to real people anymore. On the odd occasion I bump into someone in Tescos/ on walk/ leaning out of window, I can’t remember how to talk like a normal person? I stutter, high pitched, no banter, talk about the weather too much and nervous giggle (or was this me anyway???). I’m going to emerge from this a very strange person.

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  • Daily exercise is weird. You become nervous to bump into people (how can you get kids to social distance?), but then excited at the same time but restraining from big hugs and licking them all over (oh no, I AM weird). You become an expert at pavement swerving (2 meters), but then you don’t know whether to say “good morning” or avoid eye contact?? You feel like you’re being watched (probs are….is this your second exercise for the day??), people don’t trust you (have we got it), you don’t trust people (have they got it). I feel like when this is all over we are all going to have social anxiety and be mega odd and twitchy. Main thing is you can’t pet lovely happy dogs anymore! If they bound up to you, you just hold your hands in the air and sorta pet them with your legs? Just me??

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  • What’s the etiquette now? When you drop food to friends/ relatives? Do you just drop and run? Can you stop for a chat? When you walk passed a friend’s house do you try and catch them at the window or do you just scuttle passed quickly and avert eyes? Can you stop and have a snack? Can you sit on a bench? Can you talk to the postman? Can you accept food made by other people? Can you go around to pick stuff up from people’s front gates?

 

  • Feeling guilty about online shopping?? On one hand, supporting small businesses and helping people keep their jobs etc. On the other hand, I’m making people sacrifice time with THEIR family and exposing them to germs just because I want some new cosy house clothes?

 

  • Every little cough, every little sniff, feeling hot (just ran up the stairs), I think is Corona.

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  • Neighbourhood watch. They might as well sign me up. Curtain twitcher??? Often the highlight of my day when the bin men come.

 

  • Kids are having a WHALE of a time, its only us that worry.
  • Really feeling content by the little things these days. Loving discovering beautiful hidden spots moments away from our house that we would have never discovered otherwise. Saw some Daffodils the other day and cried.

 

Really Hope everyone is ok out there x

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School Mum

 

I really wanted to write this before I become more involved with being a “school mum” and cant really write about it anymore! It a whole new world

Almost as big as Christmas, on Tuesday 3rd September, Arlo started school. There had been lots of preparation for this so the kids would settle in smoothly. However, I had not been given a booklet on “How To Be A School Mum”, do they not do these???!! (Who do I stand with in the playground? What do I wear to “create good impression”? Do I wear gym gear to look like i’m really active and fit?! Do I need to befriend the teachers on FB? Do I need to be on the PTA? Do I need to bake cakes and read the Dictionary for fun…..etc etc).

My feelings aside, it was all rightly all about Arlo. He was ready. I was ready (champagne at school gate after first drop off would be wrong yeh?). I still had a couple of moments of “aw he used to be a little baby and now he’s starting school” tearful moments, but on the whole I was excited for him as I KNEW he would love it. He needed so much stimulation and exercising each day that I could give him, I knew school would be able to provide that. And he LOVES learning stuff, teachers are way more equipped to explain “Mummy, why does snot come out of your nose and not your ears?”

I’m still 100% sure that Arlo actually realised he was starting school?!

 

First day

The night before I cried into Arlo’s baby album. In the morning I was feeling excited but then cried approximately 5 more times (school uniform going on, when husband got cross because of state of car, seeing Arlos friends in their school uniform, waving goodbye, seeing other mums cry). But then I was fine and binged on chocolate for 2 hours until I picked him and haven’t looked back since.

Arlo was totally fine, oblivious to everything like normal, just preoccupied with the fact that everyone has the same jumper as him. What are the chances

 

Teachers
I remember in one of the pre school meetings one of the teachers said that If your child comes out last it might mean they need to talk to you. Every day it’s a nail biting wait to see where Arlo comes out….he has been last a few times now for “incidences”. I dread that beckon over. I wont go into all of said incidences, but there was the day of the “protest wee”….

Poor tired Arlo had not enjoyed PE that day. So later on he was spotted having a stand -up “protest wee” on some of the toys in the corridor…….(
I accidentally responded to teacher with “oh fuck”……well if thats who the parents are)

And the day of the frilly socks…..

Arlo was very tired again today. He has unfortunately gone through 4x changes of clothes and finished the day in shorts and girls frilly socks and slip on “pumps”

To make light of the situation I tried to make a joke about how Arlo calls his little brother “Tit” instead of Kitt. (must-stop-trying-to-be-funny and perhaps bring raw carrot snacks and eco friendly arts and crafts school pick up). This was also the day Arlo went in with a black eye from the coffee table.
Etiquette

So much school mum etiquette…..I’m still figuring it out

First of all, will who you stand with now determine who your school mum friends are for the rest of the decade??! I want to make sure I talk to everyone. Everyone seems super friendly so far. And when its raining, is it a case of “hood up. eyes down, get the job done”?? Do you hang around after to chat? How long? Is it rude to dash off after if you have to be somewhere? Do mums get there early to chat to people/hang out? How long before you friend request your new mum friends on FB?! How “free” should you let your younger pre school child be in the big school kids playground? Kitt seems to be the most free so far.

Parties….do you invite the whole class? Just boys? Do you just “drop off” the kids? Could mean you end up with 30 kids ALL BY YOURSELF. How much do you spend on presents (say £10…thats £300 for the year!)

Spare clothes……do you take these back if your kid comes home in a new outfit?? Or you just acquire bonus clothes?

DO WE GET TO KEEP THE FRILLY WHITE SOCKS??

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PTA
Do I want to be a PTA mum??? I wasn’t sure I was up for the job as I would 100% buy cookies from Tescos and pass them off as mine. However, having seen the PTA mums at various pre school meetings, they look like a hoot!! They sit at the back and drink!! (obviously do lots of stuff for the school too). I want to be friends with THEM!! Need to figure out how to work the oven first though. I do enjoy being a school mum, feel like I’m part of a community?! I have a purpose! But a PTA mum I think might be a little too full on?! Sure they wouldn’t steal frilly white socks
First REAL Friend
So far Arlos friends have been basically MY friends that have kids the same age. So a few days ago a mum came up to me and asked if I was Arlos mum??!! Uh ohhhhhh…..but she said that her son and Arlo play together and her son (lets call him *Garry) are friends. And not only that, Garry thinks Arlo is really funny!! (dread to think). Its official, Arlo has a real friend that he’s made all by himself! I felt quite emotional about it all. I fear I may have gotten so excited and scuppered Arlos chances as came on rather strong to the mum. Going to play it cool now

 

What The F*ck Do You Do At School???
Do any school mums actually know what their kids do at school?? I think the expression is “water out of a stone”. I want to know everything (who did you play with? What did you have for lunch? Did you eat anything that wasn’t beige?! Who’s your favourite teacher? What did you do? Did you learn anything today?). So far the most I have got out of Arlo is that him and another boy *Alan go to the toilet together because they are both scared of hand driers?! I would LOVE to be a fly on the wall during the school day.

*his name isn’t Alan

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Blank Canvas
Someone once told me that teachers like it if you send your child in as a “blank canvas” when they start school. That way they don’t have to un teach bad habit etc. Well I can reveal I have well and truly sent Arlo in as a blank canvas. I have tried to teach him to write/ recognise letters/ read etc but he was just not interested. So we have just played for 4 years. One totally blank canvas for you reception teachers. Star points for me?!

 

School Pick Ups
This is honestly the best time of day. I get so excited to see his excited face when I pick him up. I go all weird and squeaky and really enthusiastic when I say hello?! He normally falls over on his run to me (I bought school shoes to big “to last him”). He once bought home Tidy Up Trevor (or was it Terry?) for good tidying. After questioning if he had “stolen” Trevor, I then nearly cried because I was so proud/ disbelief. Trevor had seen better days, but emotional all the same. I’ve gone soft (er)

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New Chapter
Kitt now gets to do classes JUST FOR HIM and its lush to spend time with him, and my days are A LOT more mellow. I can blog again! Although, he has really found his voice in Arlos absence and become rather feisty no longer living in Arlos shadow. We both miss him though, its very very very (lovely) quiet. I’m sure I’m more lazy now I’ve just got one during the day, or maybe I’m just not used to not having to do things at a million miles per hour all the time.

Arlo is now so exhausted when he comes home that he SITS DOWN and “chills”. He’s almost become better behaved? Its like he was so wild because he was bored and needed more stimulation. Plus he does love a routine. He now also looks 18 years old. Obviously there has been a few hairy moments (needed staples to fix handbag he made at school but I couldn’t find any staples etc) and a few emotions (he wanted roasted potatoes not boiled), but in general school has been a success. Sure the novelty might wear off when he realises its for the next 12 years??!

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School also warrants earlier bedtimes

Winning

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ps. There is a grey area where you are still technically allowed to take children out of school until before their 5th birthday……. #travelling

pps. How many times do school mums day “put your shoes on” every morning????