We live in ever-changing times, with a crisis beyond anything we’ve ever known before. It’s become real for us, with my parents living in Spain and all the restrictions they’ve been facing. But it stepped up another gear for us at home on Tuesday when my son came home from school with a high temperature and a cough. It became clear very quickly that we’d have to spend time getting used to a new normal with Covid-19 self-isolation.
My son is so rarely ever ill that for him to have a temperature is something. For him to get into his pjs after school and curl up on the sofa with a blanket, that’s almost unheard of, certainly since his toddler days. I turned to the internet, triple checked the coronavirus symptoms. I wasn’t entirely convinced that the cough wasn’t being put on, but the temperature wasn’t being faked. But what if it went down? Would we still need to self isolate? Six hours later, after one dose of Calpol (paracetamol based) it had gone up rather than down, the cough was real and the reality hit home that we wouldn’t be seeing the outside world again for 14 days.
I messaged both of my bosses, one job I do from home anyway, the second we’d discussed the option of home working if and when the schools closed, but nothing was in place. I left a message on the school answerphone. I messaged friends that we’ve been in contact with recently. My son coughed and slept, I didn’t sleep for more than a couple of hours.
Wednesday was our first full day in isolation. My son’s cough got worse but his temperature came down a bit. I had no work for my morning job that I could do at home, so I worked a long day on my second job. It made sense as my son spent most of the day on the sofa and I knew it would be less easy to do once he was well again.
I also realised how much we all take for granted. I’d been to the supermarket Tuesday afternoon before school pick up and even then there was no bread or eggs available. When you are suddenly reliant on someone else to find and provide food for you, it’s scary. You don’t want to put other people out or have them face long queues and I did wonder if I’d ever see an egg again!
I also realised that I have wonderful friends. My boss found me a loaf of bread but there were no eggs to be had anywhere. I had a number of other friends and family members offering to help. My head was going into overdrive, how could I make things last, what could I go without to make sure my son had everything he needed. And I dreamed of eggs, honestly, eggs.
Thursday was an emotional day, I was hormonal, it rained a lot and we were both feeling a little drained with it all. A lovely friend managed to find us some eggs and I promised I’d make my son a cake when I finished work. Went to make the cake and realised I’d got no butter. Another message to my friend who conjured up butter and also brought my son’s PE and Forest Forager kit back from school. The boys got to see each other from a distance. It’s hard and you just know it’s going to get harder still as the schools are now going to close as well on Friday.
My son’s school learning pack arrived late afternoon and that just tipped me over the edge. The suggested timetable isn’t workable for anyone who actually has to work at the same time. It was the last straw today and wine was required! and soothing words from blogging friends.
Friday was a new day, the sun came out, my son was feeling loads better and I felt better about everything. I’ve made a few decisions about the school timetable, found that two programmes would load onto my Ipad but two wouldn’t and had a talk with my son about how we’re both going to need time to adjust but we’d start our new regime on Monday.
One of my work colleagues dropped off a surprise food parcel which was much appreciated and made me cry, again.
We did make a cake after work, as well as spending time in the garden, fresh air felt so good! When my son’s best friend finished school we had a video call so the boys could see each other. We’re going to be doing this regularly so they can stay in touch and help each other with school work etc. My son is so shy at the best of times that my biggest concern with the school closure is that he won’t have any peers to socialise with and I can see it being a big problem whenever the world goes back to normal.
My son and I painted rainbow pictures to join the Window Wonderland community project that’s going around. It’s such a lovely idea.
We were gutted to learn that my friend’s husband’s bowel cancer operation was cancelled today at the last minute with no new date being provided. The bed, all free beds were needed for an influx of Covid-19 patients. This all just got very real. My heart goes out to them. It’s scary and unfair and I’m sure that there are lots of other families across the world who are experiencing this very same problem. No one is going to walk away from this unscathed, no one.
Saturday and another sunny day so we all got out in the garden and then I got on with the housework. My NCT group are going to try out Zoom for a video virtual curry night and my family are looking at doing something for my Mum and Dad for Mother’s Day as a surprise. Fingers crossed!
We normally always go out for the day for Mother’s Day and this year we’d planned to go to Longleat, but obviously that isn’t an option now. So we’re going to have a takeaway delivered tonight, and I’ve found a bottle of Prosecco to enjoy.
I also spotted a rainbow in a neighbour’s window this morning which made me smile and complete strangers have posted a note through saying they can help with shopping etc for any family self-isolating in our part of the estate. I’ll be doing this too as soon as I’m able to. 30th March seems so far away right now.
A stranger on our estate was offering people rhubarb from his allotment, and I was one of the lucky ones who received a few stalks. Rhubarb crumble for dinner tomorrow.
Sunday, Mother’s Day and what would have been my Granny’s birthday. A friend had suggested Zoom for multiple video conversations so we’d arranged to surprise my Mum with a call from us, my brother and SIL, nephew and both nieces. As my youngest niece lives in New Zealand we’d arranged a time to suit her, which meant the rest of us didn’t get a Mother’s Day lie-in! Unfortunately, she then didn’t join in, so we could all have had another hour in bed. But, Mum loved the surprise and it was good for all of us to see someone else for an hour. Definitely something we’re going to start on a weekly basis now.
As I’ve mentioned earlier we’d originally planned to go out for Mother’s Day, but obviously that wasn’t going to happen now, but the sun was shining so we made the most of it in the garden.
Monday, the first day of school at home. My boss had dropped round a work laptop so my son could use mine, and that was a godsend as my old iPad mini won’t load all of the resources. I extended the dining table and rearranged things so we could both be working at the same time. We got the suggested time table out and my son got stuck in much more easily than I’d expected. Helped by the fact he’d watched an episode of Abandoned Engineering first.
Whilst he was getting his head down, he wanted me to check every sum rather than finishing a sheet at a time, so my own work ….. Thankfully my work is flexible but hormones have kicked in and stress levels were rising.
Mindfulness time worked well, he spent time colouring in an owl in a mindfulness book I had hanging around. English was a bit of a disaster. We kept crashing out of Purple Mash and the last time it didn’t register any of the spellings my son had done. Cue the meltdowns. I tried to get him to look at some of the English worksheets that had come home instead. It took him half an hour to write two sentences. Clearly English tasks are only going to work if and when I can stand over him, not ideal.
We stopped for lunch and when I went to see if my parents had sent their daily check-in email from Spain, I discovered an email from his teacher that had been sent at 8.16 am outlining what we should have been doing for the day. My Parentmail app hadn’t sent me any notifications. Within 10 minutes I’d had 6 of them. Grrr. The afternoon project involved looking in our recycling and redesigning something but we were both frazzled. The sun was shining and I decided to bin the rest of the day and get my son out in the garden instead.
We had a number of flower seed packets we’d been given at Countryfile Live last summer so we decided to plant them. We’d have planted some veg seeds if I could leave the house!! The lack of preparation and self-isolation is really taking it’s toll already. Anyway, seeds planted, we played a couple of games in the garden but really my son is too big for them now. So he helped me with some gardening instead and then he spotted a great green caterpillar in his miniature Christmas Tree. We took a photo and emailed it to my Dad for identification. I bet it’s a moth Mummy, he was right.
We’d agreed that later in the day my son could connect with his best friend via my iPad mini and play a game. We soon discovered that whilst they could chat via the game as soon as we tried to play it here it just crashed. Time to charge the Nintendo Switch and see if we can get that working tomorrow.
Theoretically, my son can now leave the house, but of course, he can’t, because I can’t for another week. I’m so worried that by the time I can go out, that we’re all be confined to barracks. The lack of walking and social interaction is already getting to me.
Anyway, one way or another we’ve made it through this week and are getting used to a new normal with Covid-19 self-isolation