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. We’re at Day 58, and the family are all back together and the house is a busy place once more.
WHAT A FANTASTIC DAY! I CAN’T WAIT TO GET UP AND ENJOY IT! LET’S DO TUESDAY!
Is not how I woke up. But if you live with a long term mental health condition, you know that one day in bed can be recuperative and two is a slippery slope, so I did the whole fake-it-till-you-make-it thing.
In fact, I woke up with a start at 6am knowing what I wanted to write and raring to jump out of bed, do some yoga and get on with writing. I looked at A lying next to me in confusion because the whole deal with her sleeping in her tepee on my bedroom floor is that I get my bed. Then I fell straight back to sleep.
Still, a few seconds of feeling motivated is better than where I was the day before. When I eventually woke up again, I didn’t do yoga and plan my day in a state of peaceful meditation because there is no such thing as peaceful in this house. Yoga includes a five year old, a dog and a cat all wanting to play too, and sometimes just the thought of that puts me off doing it. But I did force myself to have a bath, wash my hair and put my favourite dress on, (my joggers needed washing anyway). I looked alive even though I didn’t feel it and I wrote what I wanted to write. I’ll take that.
Ten days away means S and Z are no longer in the routine of 10am wake ups and schoolwork, but teasing their little sister is a natural pattern they can fall into without missing a step. As irritating as her screeching is, I had two older brothers and S and Z are veritable angels in comparison. This is mostly because A will explode like a North Korean nuclear missile test just because S raises an eyebrow, or Z walks past her.
She’s so convinced they’re teasing her that they don’t even bother doing it most of the time. She doesn’t get dead spiders in her hand as a present, live spiders on her back as a joke, or tied to a tree with an apple on her head as target practice. Her brothers are that new generation where hanging little sisters over bannisters by their ankles is so 1970s. They play with her, show her cool tricks, teach her anything from reading to balancing on a skateboard, and let her share their sweets.
But one raised eyebrow from S and it’s game over. There were lots of raised eyebrows from S, mostly because once I’d set him up with his schoolwork, A decided she needed to sit opposite him at the table and interrupt him. He’s not stupid. He knows one eyebrow raise will result in her screaming and running off to tell me how awful he is. It buys him a bit of peace to get some work done while I calm her down and set her up with an activity in a different room.
A has Stockholm Syndrome for an eyebrow raise, so she always creeps back for more when my back is turned.
‘You don’t need to be in the dining room with him,’ I said, when she ran to me screaming again. ‘Leave him alone to get his work done. Why do you keep going back there?’
‘Because he raises his eyebrow at me funny!’ she wailed.
Repeat. Ad infinitum.
As I was finishing off making the dinner there was a knock at the door. It was one of my lovely neighbours with two bottles of my favourite wine. He’d seen them on special offer and thought of me. Given the crap we’re all living with right now, these little acts of kindness are the lifeblood of lockdown. They can take you from low down and put you back on a level where you can face the world again, albeit from within your own four walls.
Despite the day being permeated with the reverse logic of a five year old, everyone managed to achieve something, we remembered to put the bins out, no one was injured, the laundry was done, we ate a meal cooked from scratch, the dog got a walk, the cat only escaped out of the front door three times, I had a lovely glass of wine with my dinner, and faking till you make it carried me through another day in Coronavirus land.
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.