Lockdown With My Family in Southsea: Day 24, The To-Do List Won’t Do

Local parent, researcher and writer, Maddie Wallace, continues her daily diary describing the experience first, of self-isolating, and now of being in lockdown with her children in Southsea. It’s day 24 and the kids are at their dads’ this Easter weekend. Maddie has set herself an impossible task: to edit a whole novel and write 40,000 words for her thesis. Will she manage it?

I woke up fully determined to clean the whole house.

I decided that as the kids will be away at their dads’ this weekend, I’m going to use the peace and quiet to catch up on some uni work. I’m going to edit a whole novel and write a 40,000 word thesis in one weekend. I know how hard it is to sit down and work when even one thing needs doing around the house, so in order to remove all procrastination temptation I need to get the house spick and span, redecorate the kitchen, clean the windows, scrub out the oven, wash the dog, re-pot all the plants and shave my head.

Feeling somewhat overwhelmed with everything I need to do before the weekend, I obviously ended up doing nothing again. I did sit and ponder why I always set myself completely unrealistic and unachievable goals when the urge to be productive hits me. In light of this, I’m going to decide on three things to accomplish with my work this weekend and praise myself if I even manage one of them.

Look at me! I opened my laptop! Someone get me a medal!

Instead of a ‘To-Do List’ I’m going to work on a ‘Suggestions of Things I Might Do List’. This feels a lot safer and slightly less hectic. If I tick one suggestion off it will be a bonus, especially now the kitten has the runs and keeps standing in his own diarrhoea, which means I have to stop what I’m doing to clean up the latest mess. That little prick is really challenging me.

When I was last in Tesco’s I found a box of Lego on a half price offer. It was £12 so I bought it for A for Easter. I can’t really afford to spend £12 on brightly coloured plastic, and I also hate plastic, but I’ve got four kids and I know the power of Lego, so apologies to the environment.

In order to save the living room from becoming ground zero in a huge blanket fort complex that I’d be left to tidy away in the evening, I gave A her Easter Lego early. That was the best £12 I ever spent. It was an investment in my sanity. And it wasn’t only her who was quiet for hours; S got in on the action too, instinctively assuming his Lego construction position on the floor, (on all fours, ankles crossed over each other, tongue out in concentration), as he taught A how to sort all the pieces by colour, then shape and size, before building anything.

Lego used to be the only thing that kept S still as a child. From the age of 3 until about 9 or 10 he got a big box of it for Christmas, one of the £30 ones where they can build a plane or a zoo or a pirate ship. When he disappears into Lego world he stops climbing and jumping. You can see a physical switch in him. All the excessive energy is channelled into construction, his fingers working on the little pieces as he studies the plans of what he’s building.

The pair of them sat on the living room floor together building things. A was using her imagination to create what she sees in her mind, constructing free flow dragon encampments and multi-coloured monsters with eyes on their knees. This was making S very twitchy; he’s a stickler for Lego being built with precision. He did manage to reign in his clear distress though, and even though he obviously wanted to shout, ‘You can’t put that piece on top of that piece!’ he managed look away and carry on with his own work. He’s learning how to accept that others do things differently and you can’t control them.

Every parent of a child with Lego will know how much that stuff hurts when you walk on it barefoot, so I got A to tidy it up before she went to bed. S came down later and was horrified that all the things he’d built had been put away, so he got it all out again and re-built everything when we were meant to be watching a film. I think he spent about 6 hours playing with Lego yesterday. I guess there are some things you just don’t grow out of.

Wednesday night is now officially quiz night. It’s only been 2 weeks, but it’s set in stone. 10 or so people on a Zoom call with a different person from the group writing the quiz each week. Everyone drinks wine and has a laugh together-but-apart. It’s not about winning, it’s about the comedy gold and the innovative new rounds the person being quizmaster thinks up each week. The ‘Name five Items In My Fridge/Cupboard’ round is a permanent fixture though, which is good because guessing what my friends eat seems to be my special quiz skill. It’s the only round I do well on.

If it weren’t for this bloody stupid virus, I might never have discovered this skill. I’m a food detective.

Every cloud and all that.


Image by www_slon_pics from Pixabay.


Maddie is sharing her lockdown 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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