Lockdown has changed us all in so many different ways. Some of us try to ignore it but if you are truly honest with yourself, you are a different person. More of some things and less of others.
My house cleaning standards have dropped (drastically) … there may not be any more than the basics cleaned until 2021. I am working harder than ever before… I feel like I’m not really 100% doing anything and I am trying to calm my A-Type anxiety and mom guilt (without wine… because you know, lockdown restrictions). There are many articulate articles out there about trying to work and be a stay at home mom simultaneously. Each person has their stuff but speaking from a teachers perspective… it is hard, too hard. Infuriatingly the parents on the other end often don’t see that (although if I’m honest even in normal circumstances people do not understand the inner workings of teaching and think it is an easy half day job… so really not much has changed). This is not the post for that and as I said there are many articles and posts out there that cover this in wording better than I could produce.
I have mostly been feeling like I am in survival mode during lockdown and so my blog posts have fallen to the bottom of the list. I am also ashamed to say that the planned activities for the kids have not been front and centre of my weekends. I am however becoming a master at making teachable moments out of almost any situation (stops typing to pat self on back). My (overly mobile) 9month old is learning some incredible problem solving skills as she manages to break through every barrier I use to block off the Danger Zone (formally known as the kitchen). She can climb over almost any pile of objects left lying on the floor of the playroom (formally the lounge); and her fine motor skills are second-to-none after carefully tearing most of the dust covers of my books that she has pulled off the bookshelf. I cared deeply for my books for about a week before I realized I didn’t have enough anxiety in the tank for that. I have had some nights lying awake wondering why I had to marry and procreate with someone that was over 6foot… seriously I would appreciate a baby that couldn’t reach this high. NOTHING is safe.
My darling 4year old is really a dream child, especially when her version of not talking to mommy during an online lesson is whispering loudly in my ear (this by the way is worse than actually just talking to me). There are also often loud shouts of needing the toilet or “can mommy check my bum”. Thank goodness for the background function as well as being able to turn both camera and mic off on MS Teams. She has online lessons with her teacher (when I don’t forget about them) and needs a lot more than we can give – but we are doing our best and she is pretty forgiving, if you let her sit on your lap every time you touch anything with a screen (this is not my best but I have learnt how to put her on my lap in such a way that the background function on MS Teams makes her look like she isn’t there).
Our new normal is aging me if I’m completely honest but I am learning how to live moment by moment and that isn’t such a bad thing (now I just need more wine).
OK OK… I guess at some stage I should get down to the activities.
I have found that homemade shakers can keep your baby busy for about a minute. The trick is to have a few in strategic places, that way you can shake one –the baby crawls to it… then hopefully gets distracted by a toy in that area of the house so you can try and do what you were originally trying to do. For this I took some of our rainbow rice and put it into transparent plastic containers that have lids that seal tightly. You could use anything from toilet rolls to empty food containers, and fill with any dried pulse/bean/grain. Voila!
This is amazing… made it for baby but actually it kept my 4yr old busy for about 2 days (what a win). Mix 2 cups of flour with 60ml baby oil (making a double batch would possibly be a good idea). It creates quite an interesting texture, perfect for messy play. IT is the texture of flour but when you squeeze into a ball it kind of holds its shape. Be warned, you will want to play with this outside (preferably on grass if you have some)… also I was wearing black – not recommended. When playing with it got boring for baby, we hid some small plastic toys in it, which the girls could then dig for. After baby Mila got bored of that Ella took some baking things (molds and cookie cutters) from the Danger Zone and has been playing baking since yesterday.
My husband prompted me to take out my watercolours from years ago… and what evolved from that was me putting YouTube painting tutorials on when Mila was sleeping and painting (super relaxing)… Ella wanted to join in. No problem. She has her own paint, paper and brushes and sat next to me and painted along with the tutorials. Now while I work on some days I set her up watching a painting or drawing tutorial for kids and she happily busies herself next to me. Winning.
In the interest of full disclosure there has been way too much baking and cooking in our household (although less in the last few days because of the tragic passing of our dishwasher). Keeping busy in the kitchen (cooking not cleaning) is one of my favourite pastimes usually but now it has the added bonus of providing an activity for Ella and producing a meal (thereby lessening the chore load). Since our dishwasher fell ill it has been all quick, raw, dish limited food though. I am hoping the essential service of dishwasher fixing/buying can proceed in lockdown level 4… because we are either going to suffer divorce or malnourishment… whichever comes first really.
I hope you are all managing out there and have at least one moment of calm each day. I know you don’t believe me but you ARE doing enough, your kids will develop skills through all of this and you are a champion!
Until next time, stay sane and stay safe.