Home Sweet Home? – Day Two

Things change and shift so fast at the moment! This time yesterday I was blogging about how I was hoping to get on and finish my book edits, but today I have both children at home, and we will all be self-isolating for the next 14 days. At least.

The 5yo seemed a little subdued after school yesterday. Then a little tearful. Then complained of being shivery. Then refused to eat any tea (one of her favourites). So, trepidatiously, I took her temperature and it was a little bit up. In the normal course of life I would have put her to bed with a dose of calpol, and perhaps kept her off for a pyjama day of TLC and Cbeebies today. In this strange new world that reading of 38.1 means that the entire family now cannot leave the house for a fortnight.

We had a stressful evening trying to decide if the fact that I am on a biologic drug and my daughter was symptomatic meant that I should now self-isolate in my bedroom away from the entire family. Happily, after speaking to the study doctor this morning, the advice is that I don’t need to do that and can carry on basically as normal, with some sensible precautions and handwashing. Lots of hand washing.

5yo is basically ok today, just a bit of a sore throat, so she is having her CBeebies and sofa day while my husband keeps her company, working on his laptop to the background of Bing and Octonauts, and I am homeschooling the 11yo. Or, more accurately, 11yo and I are trying to work out together how homeschooling is going to work.

After breakfast she and my husband went out into the back garden and did some exercise, mainly skipping and star jumps! Then she came in and did an hour of maths, which was actually about 10 minutes of maths and 50 minutes of trying to make the logins to all the various online resources work. We have also made the unwelcome (from my perspective) discovery that none of them seem to work properly on her Fire, and so she is going to need to commandeer my laptop for a lot of the work that school are setting.

After the maths she went into the garden for a 15 minute break time, and had some fruit. At the moment she is doing some spelling and grammar exercises from a revision book, before writing a short analysis of a poem from her lovely ‘A Poem for Every Day of the Year’ book, so I am seizing the moment to blog, but I fear that these moments are going to be few and far between.

After an hour of English work she can then read while I get lunch, and then we will all sit down to lunch together and have a break from work for an hour, perhaps with some more fresh air in the garden.

After lunch we will do something more topic based or creative together. And then probably round the ‘school’ day off with more reading or a board game, or free play before tidy up time. Then screen time for the kids while I catch up on domestic chores and possibly my writing. I am hopeful that when the 5yo is feeling better tomorrow she will be able to slot into this structure as well.

A really good friend has just sent me her resolutions for coping with this crisis, and they really resonated with me so I am going to adopt them:

  1. Do some exercise every day.
  2. Avoid repeated checking of the news, just check in once or twice a day for essential information.
  3. Limit time on social media, and concentrate on using it positively for creating community and connection. I have already been so grateful for the support and ideas being shared on our class WhatsApp groups this morning.
  4. Read books.
  5. Eat well and wash hands.
  6. Practice gratitude – at least one thing daily. Today I am grateful for WhatsApp and the support, humour and camaraderie I have got from family, friends and school community.

And I am adding a 7th resolution which is to blog regularly so create a record of this strange time. I have been feeling hugely sad, especially for my children, at this massive disruption to their secure little world. And sad for all the children who are losing the structure of school but who don’t have families who are able to provide an alternative secure environment. But this is where the resolutions will be helpful as I have to keep on remembering to ground myself in what is happening right now, concentrate on the things I can control right now, and try not to worry about the things which are beyond my control.

Is that the scariest thing about this for all of us? We love to live with the illusion that we are in control of our worlds, and it is terrifying when that illusion is stripped so summarily.

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