Week one of lockdown was brutal but week two seemed quite lovely actually. I let go of a lot of things (laundry doesn’t have to be done daily and who cares if the floors are a bit dirty – as long as there is nothing choking-size lying around). At the end of week two our president, Cyril Ramaphosa, announced that he would be extending lockdown by another two weeks… thereby taking the length from three weeks to a five week total (that is, if it isn’t extended again).
I have to say I wasn’t as devastated as some… I did really expect an extension and I do rather like all the extra time I am spending with my girls. Yes, I am aware that there is unbelievable financial burden to many… my husband is one of those employees that will not be earning his full salary, this poses some potentially serious questions for us in the future such as, can we keep our car? I am choosing the road of less stress and more positivity (this may just be my new lockdown complacency talking). Many of the banks are really trying hard to offer payment breaks of some sort, yes we need to apply but at least the option is there. Truly, we have more than most, and even if we may have to scale down quite a bit in the months or years to come we will be fine.
I grew up as a daughter of entrepreneurs… we went from super flush months to months when we could barely afford to eat… I watched my mom (who had no formal tertiary education) teach herself the complex art of accounts, computers and business, just through grit, determination and necessity. She is one of the smartest women I have had the privilege of learning from. I learnt a lot about how to manage a family on minimal finances, how to enjoy the good times and how to ALWAYS make sure you were putting money away (even if it was only R1) to cushion your family in the most horrific of times. So really I feel like I have been training for this my whole life.
I have been chatting to my friends more, being even more honest and sharing even the lowest of my parenting moments. Together we are laughing at how our ideals and standards have changed (even after a few weeks), we are sharing ideas and building each other up. Usually we do build each other up but it is somehow different… I battle to explain how. I think even the humblest of people is being humbled by this experience.
My cousin messaged me earlier this week and said how fortunate it is that I am a teacher and actually know what to do with little kids… if only he knew that on that day we had spent the whole day in our pj’s (most of us not having brushed our teeth) and literally the only thing I had done that day was ensure that the kids had food and didn’t die.
Honestly as much as I enjoy doing fun activities with the girls it is important to let go and just be ‘less-than-average-mom’ for a few days too. Children do need to be bored and thereby forced to use their imaginations. This is a real thing (even if I have possibly been relying on it a bit too much).
The below activities were done with what we had around the house and are really easy to throw together …
A tape track on the floor (we used duct tape but most tapes will stick to the tiles without damaging them.)
I made the track so that Ella could blow through a straw at a ball and navigate her way through the track… In my extreme naivety I thought this would take ages and she would want to try it again and again… it didn’t and she didn’t. I had to think on my feet in order to extend the activity so below are some photo’s of what we used it for. As an aside it is still on the floor, just in case I think of anything else but mostly because I don’t feel like tidying it up (what if there is sticky-ness under there that I need to wash off the floors- the horror).
Tape for the baby
This is an activity Mila’s crèche sent us to develop fine motor control. They stuck electrical tape to a plastic table top, I used the floor tiles. It took very little time for her to peel the tape off but it was great fun for all involved, so I would definitely recommend it for the under 1yr olds.
Posting objects (baby)
This is another activity the crèche sent us, very basically find a tube (Pringles tube or similar) something with a smallish opening, then give your baby objects to put into the tube. I used Duplo bocks and Duplo tunnels… so really anything you have lying around.
Sooooooo much Duplo is happening in our lives at the moment. I really just dump a big tub of Duplo onto the carpet most days and leave them to it… they both love it and I love to build with them and watch them destroy everything with delight (and occasionally tears).
This was the biggest win for us. I set one up (baby was sleeping so no death hazard issues) inside on a rainy day for Ella. She loved it and we timed her having lots of tries. On a sunny day after that she spent hours making her own obstacle courses on the grass outside, modifying them and trying them out and asking us to try them… it was fabulous!
Building a fort
The obstacle course I built for Ella fairly quickly became a fort (I am not sure why I was so surprised by this). The fort was hours of family fun – even for baby Mila.
Ella needs absolutely zero encouragement to dress up and apply make-up, often she is many different characters in one day but most commonly she is a mom and/or a ballerina (a mom ballerina is very common).
It is super important for kids to come up with their own games and that when they do and they ask us to be in the game that we oblige (not always but when we can). For this restaurant game Ella was our waitress and chef. Before the game started we spent time making the menu’s (I drew and she coloured in). It was incredibly sweet watching her ‘write’ down our orders and deliver them to the various parts of the house.
Hopefully you find something in the above that will help you keep your family entertained… happy home time to you all.