Thursday 9 April 2020

Life in Lockdown

Since my last post, the guidance has become even stricter, and the UK has finally followed other countries in declaring a lockdown. I believe our lockdown is less strict than other places, for which I'm very grateful as I think Ziggy and I, and likely Husbit too, would all be going mad if we couldn't get out for a daily walk - and we're lucky enough to have a garden!

The situation is surreal, to say the least. The first person I saw wearing a face mask was in the local bus station, in a crowd of other people, with his mask pulled down to his chin so he could smoke a cigarette. Today, someone in blue gloves ("two by two, hands of blue...") almost brushed her bare arm against mine, she passed by me so close (she really didn't need to. Super wide pavement, I was right up against the shops and there was no one else around). I'd just been coughing into my elbow (asthma triggered by hayfever, and I'd forgotten my inhaler, but still!) We're video chatting with people we've not seen in ages, which eases the feeling of being adrift, but doesn't stem it completely. 

Ziggy is finding it especially hard, as he's used to going for long walks to different places. He misses seeing other children, though chatting with his cousins seems to help - especially M, who sometimes steals my little sister's phone and calls us to make gibberish sounds to Ziggy (he's 3). Talking of niblings, my big sister produced me another nephew earlier this week, the second baby I know born during lockdown. But back to Ziggy's difficulties: we're trying to keep him occupied by trying lots of different activities. Water in the garden is especially good (today, he walked in circles around me while I sprayed a plant mister just ahead of him so he kept walking into the cloud), but we also picked up a cheap paddling pool and balls to use as a ballpit. The best for me is that, as my birthday coincided, we splashed out on a small aerial rig! We have to be careful where we walk, as Ziggy will have a complete meltdown if we go too near a playground and don't let him in, but between the rig and some garden furniture, we're starting to be able to compensate for swings and climbing frames. Still haven't figured out a safe slide, but we'll get there. 

His development seems to have accelerated, possibly from having extra focussed attention from both parents. He had a massive growth spurt in the first couple of days of lockdown, and since has doubled his vocabulary (adding "bubble", "ball", "bird", "down" and "stick" to "mum", "dad", "up" and "cat"). He can now walk up and down our stairs, as long as he has hands to hold - and he's starting to think about only holding one hand. He climbs everything, tries to read to me, can scribble with a pencil (he's going to be a leftie), and is very good at letting us know what he wants without needing many words; he's very expressive. He's also very curious, very confident and very careful, but most importantly I think he's going to be kind.

The rig, of course, is helping me, though I've realised I miss teaching as much as playing. I've applied for a health care assistant role at a local care home. Part time and badly paid, but meaningful work and something I think I'd be really good at - challenging, but rewarding. If Husbit can find something suitable, I think this is the job I'd like at least until Ziggy starts school. I've been accepted subject to checks, and their health survey was a lot more in depth than any I've taken before so I'm worried they'll pick up on fibromyalgia or anxiety as reasons not to hire me, though I know that's mostly the anxiety talking. As for gaming, Mage via Discord worked better than I'd expected, though we're going to try to figure out some kind of video service as we didn't have that before, we miss seeing each other, and apparently Discord's native video is a bit pants. My knitting is a bit neglected, as Ziggy loves sticks and that's all he sees my needles as so he tries to steal them. (He also enjoys playing with my yarn so much I sometimes wish we'd called him Theseus.) I'm also not writing as much as I'd like because Ziggy always wants to help, and is even better than Kitty was for finding annoying keyboard shortcuts. (He's currently having a rare nap, having fallen asleep in my arms when we went for our daily walk before lunch, which means he slept through lunch - but he naps so rarely and so often looks like he needs more sleep than when he does sleep we tend to let him.)

Husbit got really into a car race game called Gaslands last year or the year before, so he's been taking time to convert toy cars into suitable models for the game and is currently playing computer games with one of my uni friends (Civilization, though which edition I couldn't say). Our daily walk includes a trip round a couple of local Pokemon Go sites, including some he nominated, so that helps as well. He treated our decking this morning (so no circus for me until tomorrow or the day after) and is doing lots of cooking, which I'm very much enjoying (he doesn't bake, though, and has found a recipe he'd like me to have a go at, because I occasionally do, so I really must try and find time to do that to show how appreciative I am of all the housework and stuff he does).

Our street has a WhatsApp group to stay in touch and help each other out with shopping and prescriptions and keep an eye on each other's mental health. There's been lovely photos of people's pets being shared, and the renewed sense of community is something I hope will survive past the pandemic.

I've a lot to be grateful for. I'm in pretty good health. I'm not living alone, and I love the people I live with. We have a nice house with a nice garden, so we have some outdoor space. We have neighours we can rely on should we need to fully isolate, and friends and family just a call away if we need moral support. I've got the prospect of a new job which will make me feel useful. I'm still getting to enjoy my hobbies.

I hope you're all well and coping. I'm on Telegram as Fern Kali if anyone needs a chat - I can't promise to respond quickly, as Ziggy is demands a lot of my time and attention, but that's why messaging apps are so great. I've also created a Google photo album (it's here) and am inviting anyone who wants to to join and share things that make them smile.


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