Staying Home, Saving Lives - A Covid19 Diary, Week Eight

So, welcome back to anyone interested in finding out how we're doing as a family in lockdown.

I use the term 'lockdown' quite loosely as, compared to other countries, the UK hasn't appeared to be as strict in it's approach. There are still reports of people having house parties and get togethers, something that is hard to stomach for those of us sticking to the rules. This week, Boris Johnson announced a 'change' in the restrictions, leading to much confusion and added anxiety.

Another couple of weeks have passed and our routine is much the same. In fact, I think it is only the routine that is keeping me sane at the moment. On the days where I long to stay in bed and hide under the covers, I get up and plan the learning for the day, shower and get dressed (or just put a clean tshirt on) and start school with the kids around 9 o'clock. Without this, the days seem to lose their meaning and get lost in a haze of anxiety and overthinking.


I haven't really been messaging the teachers at the kid's school. I mean, what is there to say? I don't need them to mark work and can't ask them to mark work that I've set the kids myself outside of the school tasks they are given. However, after my crisis of confidence I decided to send them a summary of the work the children have been doing and just check that it's OK.

It was at that point that I realised just how much we had been doing. A couple of hours each day doesn't seem enough compared to a whole day at school, but I do hope it is better than nothing and it has given me a renewed motivation to keep going.

Our topic is still animals, life cycles and habitats which feeds into Lily's topic from the end of last term and Oliver's topic for this term. This week Oliver called round his friends and family to ask them what pet they would choose, he then learnt how to tally the answers, make a pictogram of the results and then make a bar chart. Lily said she hadn't done bar charts before, so she joined in and learnt something too. Today we took it a step further, counting, tallying and creating a bar chart of different colour smarties in a tube - with the added bonus of eating the smarties when we'd finished with our maths!

We've had some new additions to the family, in the form of five caterpillars that we purchased from Insect Lore. They've been around for nearly two weeks and we have been observing and monitoring their growth and changes with our very own caterpillar diaries. I've found it as fascinating as the kids, watching them transform. I obviously knew how caterpillars changed into butterflies, but seeing it happen is incredible.

Right now, our caterpillars have formed into chrysalides and have been moved into the net, it'll be an exciting week or so until they emerge!

Meanwhile, the school has set a poetry challenge for the children to learn a poem and then perform it as a video which can be shared with the rest of the school. After some thought, we decided on Jabberwocky by Lewis Carroll and Lily has been learning the poem off by heart. As a tricky one, I have also set her some tasks to ensure she understands the poem and so she has re-written the story in her own words.

Oliver wasn't as interested in learning the poem or reading it aloud on camera but we all worked together to ensure that he was very much involved with our video. Matt got roped in too, although he wasn't too amused with me taking pictures of him in costume! Keep an eye out next week when we'll be sharing the results!


I don't know about the kids, but my skills as a mum and housewife have been stretched to the limit in lockdown. I feel like I'm either in the kitchen or playing at being teacher and the pressure of both is palpable. With very little choice for getting a takeaway and no chance of eating out at a family favourite like Nandos, it's hard to keep thinking of new and exciting things that we'll all eat as a family. Most of my meal planning is based around tried and tested faves but that gets boring quickly, especially when tedium is already hovering at your shoulder waiting to strike. I'm constantly on the look out for new recipes and ideas to try.

When it comes to everything else though, I feel like I have stagnated. I suppose that keeping the children learning, entertained and happy, the family fed and the house relatively clean is enough of a challenge but I do miss having the chance to write and feel like maybe I'm missing out by not learning a new skill.

Screentime (and Stories)

My main downtime relaxation consists of binge-watching Chicago Fire, Chicago PD and New Amsterdam and reading. It was hard to start something new after finishing Kingdom of Copper so I had a day or so without anything (usually unheard of) and then picked up Crescent City: House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J Maas.

WOW. I wasn't sure what to expect from one of my favourite authors, usually a mix of modern tech and fae magic doesn't appeal to me, but this was epic. The last couple of hundred pages were a rollercoaster ride which left me with little sleep and a racing heartbeat. I can't recommend it enough as an escape from the realities of 2020.

For the children, Oliver doesn't get much more screentime than usual really, he will start watching something like Paw Patrol but after an episode or two he drifts off to play. Usually leaving me listening to Mayor Goodway's inane babbling. His other choices seem to have regressed slightly and he's enjoying watching the programmes he liked as a toddler, like Mickey's Clubhouse on Disney+ and Bing on CBeebies.

In the last week alone Lily has read The Worst Witch, the third 'Killer Cat' book by Anne Fine and has decided that she is going to start reading The Hobbit. It's slow going so far but it makes me so happy when she interrupts her reading to tell me something funny has happened, or spends an hour planning a 'show' consisting of a rap/dance number and her own musical rendition of the dwarves' song. When the weather is nice we sit in the garden to read, me and my new reading buddy and I honestly love it, even the interruptions when she asks what a word is or tells me something that has happened.

After finishing 'Land of Roar' a few weeks ago we have now started a new bedtime chapter book: 'The Adventurers and the Cursed Castle' by Jemma Hatt. It's great so far, a bit like the Famous Five and with an Egyptian themed mystery it will feed into our half-term topic about Ancient Egypt.


As a family, we received the news of KFC reopening for delivery with much celebration this week. The excitement when the package arrived was tangible - which probably says a lot about my cooking!

We also received a rather lovely treat on Wednesday from the amazing Hills Cafe - some custard donuts to taste test! I wasn't expecting it so it was a pleasant, very tasty, surprise. It's great that they're adding more to their delivery options and doing so much to support the community. For us, it means we can get fresh bread and treats that we can't get anywhere else, for others, it's a lifeline in getting ready meals and even a phone call just to chat. If you fancy a donut or other sweet treat, you can order online!

I'm happy to report that we are well stocked with toilet rolls, it seems crazy to think about how they were all sold out a few weeks ago. I feel vindicated now in my refusal to panic buy, even if it did cause me a bit of stress and worry at the beginning.


Having missed last week's quiz, I'm really looking forward to it tomorrow. Other than that, my social highlight this week was baking some scones for a friend and taking them over, standing a few metres back for a quick chat which meant a lot.

Other than that, I've been hiding a bit over the last week. I tend to keep to myself when I'm not feeling too positive, after all, no one really needs to hear my moaning when we're all facing the same problems!

Even without seeing people, it's still nice to get out and about for a walk or the opportunity to just sit in the sunshine and watch the children play with a different background to the garden or the woods.

Stress Levels

Sunday had me anxiously sitting down to listen to Boris' latest update. And had me shouting in disbelief at the television when he mentioned that Reception and Year One might be the first classes to return to school.

It's bonkers. Utterly bonkers.

I don't mind admitting, worrying about the kids going back to school is causing me a lot of anxiety at the moment. It has to be the right time and I'm worried about the consequences, not just to their physical health, but the mental and emotional challenge of expecting them to adhere to social distancing in an educational environment. I know I'm not the only parent waiting and worrying about what is going to happen next.

As it stands, I will not be sending the kids back yet. No matter how much I wish things would retrun to normal.

And so the waiting game continues. We don't really know what is going to happen and how long this could last. I personally am now ignoring the endless speculation, it doesn't help. I can't stop what it is going to happen, and so for now I am concentrating on just coping with the things that are happening now in the best way I can.

Are you doing the same?

Read about our previous weeks here:
Week One
Week Two
Week Three
Week Four
Week Six
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