Local parent, researcher and writer, Maddie Wallace, continues her daily diary describing the experience of self-isolating with her children in Southsea. It’s Day 3, and Maddie and the children are feeling the strain of being self-isolated. Will she decide to bring more structure into their daily routine now that the children are not in school?
We now have bread! No one wants a sandwich because they’re used to not eating bread anymore. Typical. As predicted, A is now largely naked. I’ve convinced her to wear pants, but that’s as far as she’s prepared to go. Which is fine by me. A happy 5 year old is quieter than an angry one.
Z is looking much better and regularly asking for food, usually by shouting demands through his door. When he went into isolation on Sunday I was anticipating having to go into his room once a day and gather up crockery debris from every available surface. Z already has a PhD in leaving dirty plates on the bedroom floor. The flagrant flouting of the ‘no food in your bedroom rule’ by S and Z a couple of years ago was one of those pick your battle moments, where I had to weigh up standing my ground or adding a new thing to nag them about to my extensive repertoire. As long as they’re being decent human beings to themselves and others, I can cope with dirty cereal bowls.
But now Z is bringing his dirty crockery out of his room straight away and putting it on the laundry basket for me to collect. Perhaps he’s delirious and has forgotten how to be a 12 year old boy, I thought. But no, our new system of using the laundry basket to exchange items he’s come into contact with is his way of trying to minimise my exposure to him. Another thing that has almost made me cry this week.
S is loving sleeping on the sofa, and the kitten has now decided to accompany him, which means my sleep is vastly improved. Despite this, I stayed in bed until 3pm and felt like a sloth for the whole day. I was awake, I did some work, I wrote this diary, I got up every now and again and provided food for whoever needed it, but other than that, I had the overwhelming urge to stay in bed drinking cups of tea. Slowly.
When I did finally get up and have a bath I wanted to stay in there forever too. I realised, when I was getting dressed and my brain could only imagine tracksuit bottoms as suitable attire, that I’m exhibiting all my usual symptoms of heading into a depressive low. However, I don’t feel depressed mentally. It’s just my body that’s being apathetic about life and feeling the ennui. I haven’t worn make up or washed my hair since Saturday, there doesn’t seem much point. I decided I should wear a different head scarf every day, especially now I have the time to practice tying them. Maybe I could put them all on at once and see what that looks like. Perhaps I’ll start an Instagram account, Corona Chic, and become an influencer for over 40s single mothers with no money stuck in the house with their kids during a global pandemic.
After finally managing to tie a headscarf it transpired that I don’t have the energy for Instagram. I did make myself wear a dress though. With leggings. Comfort over fashion all the way.
I took my tired body out for a walk with the dog while S stayed behind with A to teach her how to ride her bike. That hour outside on my own was pure gold, even if it was really disconcerting to see empty buses during rush hour. When I got back, A was refusing to enter the house again. She’d had a small taste of freedom and fresh air and wasn’t giving that up.
‘I’m not going home. I’m going to live in the park with the trees,’ she announced, as I picked her up and carried her in screaming.
While I was wandering about with the dog looking at cherry blossom, I decided that from today we need to start following a bit more structure. Home schooling is happening. But mostly focused on things we can learn that they don’t teach them at school and directed by the children and what they want to discover.
I asked S and A over dinner and A said she wants to learn about the creatures who live on the sandy bottom of the sea. S was disinterested. He just wants to play the Xbox. Perhaps we can learn about how Xboxes work, or how much money Microsoft makes. But today it’s fish, and then sorting out the cupboard in our dining room which is so full of games and craft crap that you have to pile it in and hold the door shut like Hodor in that scene. Hopefully, by the end of today we’ll have learnt something new and have handily accessible family games to entertain ourselves with.
When I put A to bed, she made up her own lullaby about an owl flying to the moon with a bunch of lavender in its mouth, getting the lavender sparkled with moon dust and then dropping it in children’s eyes so they sleep. I also discovered she’s been recording herself on her iPad giving speeches about all sorts of things, from Coronavirus, (which means you need to wash your feet more), to the different sound farts can make. It’s definitely her who’s going to be the influencer. A naked, opinionated social influencer living in the local park.
Maddie will be sharing her experiences every day on S&C – you can find each day’s diary and all of Maddie’s previous articles for S&C here.
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