Diary of a… what even is this?! Week 16

Saturday

Ok. Let’s talk about Frozen 2. I mean, I’ve done nothing but talk about Frozen 2 for the last 7 days, having been made to watch it – and narrate it- at least 10 times since last Friday, but we can’t really cover this week without it! So… here goes. We were told it was better than Frozen 1. It’s not. Upon first viewing, the songs are awful and the storyline way over the head of a deeply sensitive 6 year old! We had to watch it again, immediately after the first showing, as the Eldest was so confused and emotional she wouldn’t stop crying at the so-called ‘happy ending.’ (Which was fine, really, as it got me out of another dreaded “clergy quiz”. Is anyone else completely done with the lockdown quiz thing?! I mean, this one had an entire round on train stations…)

Anyway. Saturday was mainly taken up with watching, conversing about, playing, re-watching and then re-conversing about Frozen 2. Until I conveniently remembered I hadn’t measured the curtains properly at the new house…

Ahhh.

Another hour of quiet bliss! Ooops… Couldn’t be helped!

Sunday

I couldn’t sleep last night and so got up to pray. Instead, of course, I spent the wee hours of the night scrolling through DFS and drooling over sofas. I have a charity shopping day booked in for 2 weeks time, but… what if they don’t have anything decent? After 4 months on a butt-numbing old sofa bed (having gotten rid of our sofa a week before lockdown in preparation for the now delayed move!) Should we maybe treat our bottoms to a little bit of luxury? If so.. well… there’s a 10 week wait on something new so should I not order it now…? Like, right now?!

Eventually my tired head is spinning in a land of cushions and colours, so I shut off the screen and finally open my Bible…

“The plans of the diligent lead to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty.” Proverbs 21:5.

Ha! Well, there we go then. Charity shop it is! I ban myself from online shopping and house obsession for at least another week…

Monday

Last night I made a plan for the next 2 weeks- that is, the LAST two weeks- of home-school. It’s the final stretch now, the end is in sight- and let’s be honest, it’s helping to keep my head in the present and out of the shops!

So we stick to it… today. A bit of phonics, a bit of Maths, a bit of reading and writing. Plus, we finally move on in our Superhero Training Bible Study after 8 weeks on creativity!– and play some games about being attentive. Of course, the kids are so attentive to me that they point blank refuse to go for a walk and I don’t fancy dragging them, so that’s top priority for tomorrow.

Meanwhile… Frozen 2 is a grower. I’m now singing the increasingly catchy songs to myself and enjoying more of the narrative now that it is requiring less explanation. Besides, three days later and the Eldest has finally stopped crying at the “happy” ending and accepted that all of the characters are, in fact, happy! (To be absolutely fair to her, after finally getting round to watching Avengers: Endgame I now feel her pain! I mean really… if it’s not going to have a classic “Disney ending” then it shouldn’t be on Disney Plus. Am I right?!)

Tuesday

We do our attentiveness walk in the woods first thing, focussing on specific sights and sounds. My favourite bit had to be listening carefully to the birds singing and the rain dropping on the leaves… while the Boy made a continuous whining sound, a bit like this:

“MWUUUUUURGHURGHURGHHHHH-CAN-WE-GO-HUUUUUUUUURRRRRRŔRMMMMMMMMM-UGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH”.

Which was just delightful.

In the afternoon we do another science lesson on Zoom, which is good as all other attempts at school work fall flat! So much for a plan…

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Later, Husband comes home with a single mattress from someone at Church, so we use it to replace the Youngest’s toddler one. The toddler mattress now lives in the lounge and makes a very good bouncy castle, ramming wall, dolly softplay and finally a stairway sledge!

Wednesday

Ah Wednesday. The only thing more exciting than the stair sledge is looking up at the exact right moment to see a chrysalis jiggling! We close in and manage to watch a butterfly nibble and wriggle and break out of it’s cocoon with crumpled wings; stretching and opening them for the first time right before our very eyes! It’s such a special moment that afterwards, I start to cry and the kids go back to watching SpongeBob Squarepants as if nothing magical just happened. Such is lockdown.

Next up, I decide that “taking a little bit off” the Boy’s growing mop ready for his nursery ‘graduation’ photos (blurgh!) next week is a really, really good idea… but not half as good an idea as throwing him and Toddler into the car and racing down to the Turkish Barber immediately after I make an absolute hash of it!

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Thank goodness we’re in THIS stage of lockdown!

It’s the first time I’ve ventured out ANYWHERE with the kids that isn’t a wide open space- and with good reason. Whilst the Eldest is happy playing in her room not disturbing Husband’s Zoom meeting, the Youngest cannot be trusted and so she has to come with us. She sits on my knee for a total of three minutes, before attempting to finger everything in sight. By the time the Boy is done- by which I mean SO done that his previously luscious blonde locks are now a number one!- she is so slippy with alcohol gel that I worry she might be drunk! The Boy, on the other hand, is so delirious to be out in public that he only notices he’s been scalped when we get back to the car. Poor thing. It’ll grow back, soon…

Back home, we are having people- real people!- round for tea for the first time in over four months. We bring the furniture in from the garden as, once again, we donated our guest-size dining table and chairs to the charity shop a week before lockdown! When our friends arrive they hover at the door and everyone is slightly awkward about how to proceed. We back away and let them in, before the Youngest shouts, “my ROOM!” to their kids and all five disappear upstairs. We decide to distance as adults but let the kids be kids and wash their hands, and that works out pretty well.

In the evening, our prayer course is cancelled and I get a disappointed message from a frequent participant. I video call her instead, realise she’s never left the house and is incredibly anxious, and make a plan to go and visit her back garden this week. Suddenly, after a barber shop trip, a play date, a flirt with hospitality and a little community outreach, life starts to resemble pre-lockdown life again. And I haven’t quite decided if I like it…

Thursday

Play day! We have a play date with the Boy’s best friend and his family today. It is AMAZING and very, very much like pre-lockdown life. We go outside to a lake with some woods and he runs around it, up and down the hills with the energy of a gazelle on speed. (THIS from the boy who whines into my bones on every walk by the time we reach the bottom of the street!) Again, we socially distance as adults but let the kids be kids and it is so, so good for them.  (I realise I can’t do this with everybody and so decide that’s quite enough for this week! But honestly… it does them wonders.)

In the afternoon, I look at the Eldest’s school book and acknowledge that most of our best learning has been practical, and so I print out some photographs of the activities we have done to prove it. I figure if I can get the Eldest to write some notes and help make a scrapbook of our travels I can send it in to her teacher next week. You know, for her benefit, not mine…

Ughhhh not writing!”

They play on the mattress-sledge while I cut and stick all the pictures in instead. Standard.

Friday

I tell the kids this is the morning we are going to do our scrapbooks as it’s really important that the teacher sees what we’ve been up to. “Don’t you want to show off all the wonderful things you’ve been learning?” No. They carry on throwing themselves down the stairs on a mattress.

Meanwhile, of course, I MAKE the ruddy scrapbooks and write the notes in the exercise book because at this rate it won’t get done, and clearly, I AM THE ONE who feels the need to prove herself to the teacher! Must. Demonstrate. Achievement!

Still. I tut while I do it, ‘cos you know… you have to.

In the afternoon, however, we release our butterflies into the wild and everyone is engaged! One hangs around and we get a really good, close look at it. It eventually clings to the Eldest’s dress before flying off and she believes it is a goodbye hug. Beautiful!

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In the afternoon, Husband takes over kid duty while I visit Wednesday’s parishioner, drop off a food parcel, pick up school uniform and head to a prayer meeting. I had intended to go for a walk between any or all of these places but quickly ran out of time.

Soooo. At the end of this week, I guess I feel a little bit like one of our butterflies; breaking out of the cocoon, spreading damp and crumpled wings and figuring out how to fly from here! I also, however, feel a little uneasy about how easy it has been to feel busy again- to cram so much in to a short afternoon that you don’t have time to slow down- or even to walk between the tick-boxes- instead of drive. That is a part of pre-lockdown life that I really don’t want to pick up again. I really, really hope that when the novelty wears off, we will all remember the true value of time.

Peace be with you!

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