Lockdown Week #1: The Shit Keeping Me (Just About) Sane

Apr 2, 2020 | Lockdown 2020

Well, we didn’t see this coming a few months ago, did we? A huge chunk of the globe is currently in lockdown, quarantine and self-isolation, and in the UK, schools and nurseries are closed – so unless you’re a key worker (in the case of my son’s nursery, working for the NHS or as a carer), there is currently no available childcare. This won’t have an impact on lots of parents, some on others, and lots on others: all dependent on your individual circumstances. 

Of course, childcare isn’t the only sudden big change. We can’t leave the house, bar for a shopping trip for ‘essentials’, lots of us are out of work entirely and the world has become a pretty scary (scarier!) place to raise a kid in. And we can control pretty much fucking nothing that’s going on.

I never thought I’d become the kinda person who would really look forward to going to the park… until I had a toddler who suddenly needed entertainment. Of course, now I can’t think of anything more exotic, but I’m managing to cope just about so far; without any illegal trips to the swings.

It’s been an interesting week, to say the least, so to reflect, here’s the things that have just about helped me maintain my sanity through lockdown, week #1. This shit may not be for you, but it’s seen me through OK so far. I’ll update again next week and we can see how things change as this whole shituation progresses!

Printable Calendars

I don’t even have a printer in the house, but I’d printed a load of day planners a couple of weeks ago as part of a (then misguided) attempt to organise my working days a little better. There’s looooads of these things online, but I just googled ‘printable day planner’ and found one split by half-hour slots. As the kind of person who always needs lots of things to look forward to and likes to keep busy, I’ve filled out a rough guide to the day I’d like to have every weekday so far. It won’t be for everyone, but it’s working for me! I absolutely do NOT achieve every fucking thing on the list every day, but it gives me some things to aim for and helps put Instagram down once in a while. Ish.

Coffee

To say that I am currently caffeine-dependent is no understatement. The little man is having what I can only assume is some kind of vocabulary-related development leap because he’s decided to no longer sleep at night, but instead discuss rabbits and their tummies at hourly intervals. Thanks pal. Let’s hope this is just temporary.

Anyway, I’ve got myself in the habit of when I take the dog out in the morning for a quick wee of heading out myself with my coffee and just standing and breathing for a moment by myself. It’s not a £7 latte and it smells distinctly of piss but it’s helping ground me a little all the same. Or at least, the caffeine is kicking in fast.

PE with Joe

I was dead against YouTube workouts at the beginning of this whole weird thing, but two days in and I caved to the peer pressure. Now I’m doing (ha, attempting) PE with Joe every weekday at 9am and finding it really tough, but turns out I need the endorphins. Caffeine wears off, endorphins kicks in. Oh, and even if you just sit with it on and don’t do the exercises, you’re still ‘doing your bit’ for the NHS, because all ad revenue and royalties are being donated to them!

Garden toys

We only have a little and very scruffy garden, but I’ve never been more grateful for it than I am now. Toward the end of last year, we picked up some super cheap secondhand garden toys from Facebook Marketplace, and a friend really kindly gave us their Cosy Coupe once their son had grown out of it. These are now responsible for hours of fresh air and outdoor time!

I also decided to make a quick mud kitchen as I have a child never happier than covered in dirt. Found a couple of old pans in the back garden, some spoons and some old plastic cups from festivals, and we were away. It’s basic but he loves it… my water bill from the extra bathing, maybe not so much.

Online Classes, Exhibitions, and FaceTime

Honestly, thank FUCK this happened in 2020 and not in the 90s! Facebook has been a brilliant source of information for me on online classes and recordings for toddlers, and so far we’ve taken part in a virtual tour round Chester Zooa superhero party for toddlersBounce and Rhyme and story times from our local libraryHey Duggee yoga, and online toddler groups! Sometimes the tech needs a bit of work but it’s something to distract and I send tips where I can to help keep these entertainers in work. Most can be watched back online at any time for rainy day entertainment.

We’ve also started FaceTiming more than we ever before. Every night we do bathtime with Great Grandma (with my son in the bath, not her, FUCK!) and check in with my Mum too. If this goes on for much longer I’ll see if some parents we know wanna set up toddler FaceTime dates, so at least we get some same-age socialisation.

Adult conversation and entertainment

This won’t be a popular opinion amongst the general public, but I think my social life has actually IMPROVED as a result of lockdown! Now that people realise I can still chat from the comfort of my sofa with a sleeping 18-month-old upstairs, I’ve been catching up with people left, right and centre. We set aside Saturday to be our designated ‘night in, in’ and we took part in virtual Bongo’s Bingo (totally recommended, it’s every Tues, Thur and Sat at 8pm) whilst video chatting friends on Houseparty and having a few drinks. I even put on a dress and some make-up on… and it felt fucking brilliant! 

I’m now working in the evenings once baby bedtime is done, so I can’t spend every night doing fun stuff, but we’re also working our way through Netflix while I’m typing away. Next stop… Tiger King.

So, week one, done. I feel kinda out-of-sorts  but not too badly and some aspects of this whole thing, I’m enjoying. It’ll be interesting to see if the same stuff works for me next week or just pisses me off. This is unchartered territory, and we’re all stuck sailing it. Navigation set to… who fucking knows?!