Diary of Unprecedented Times: Volume 4

Lockdown continues and so does my lockdown diary.  I’m not really sure if anyone is interested in reading, but a lot of the purpose of a blog is to record things, so I’m doing that for me here.

Saturday April 18th

Another Saturday hanging around at home in our 2km zone.  Laoise and I go for a bike ride, I borrow my eleven year old’s bike as I don’t have my own. Cathal makes brown bread, and he and I go for a walk. Laoise makes a chocolate cake.  News comes through that a person related to my family has died from Covid19, long before her time. My heart goes out to her close relatives.

Sunday April 19th

More of the same, walk, read, hang around. At least there are no lunches to make.

Monday April 20th 

Back to work means back to school. I misinterpret how to access the school work for the week on the school website with teh result that it’s 3pm before someone tells me that it is in fact there. The kids have gotten on with their homework and haven’t noticed. It’s a really sunny day and Laoise and I get out for a walk at lunchtime together. Somehow I agree that they can do shaving foam painting that they saw on RTE school hub. It’s a mess. I have a zoom chat with my friends and laugh a lot. I needed it.

Tuesday April 21st 

I’ve a half day from work, I get the kids to wash the windows while I videochat with a friend. Then we play Game of Life, there are inevitable arguments. Laoise and I go for a walk after dinner she wears toy glasses to make it a bit different. I wonder whether we have lost the plot already.

Wednesday April 22nd 

When we really needed excitement it came. Laoise lost one of her top front teeth, she is thrilled. She’s been checking for weeks whether the tooth fairy can travel and we assure her that Simon Harris confirmed this weeks ago.

We have a Zoom Assembly for school and Laoise does her best to make sure that it’s obvious that she lost her front tooth on it by pulling lots of faces that show off her toothy gap. Cathal measures lots of water in jugs and containers as he’s learning about capacity for school.

Cathal, Laoise and I walk to the nearest postbox and post some cards.

Thursday April 23rd

I wear a skirt, to make the day feel different.  Laoise and I go for a nature walk (after I have changed out of my skirt and finished work) She decides that she’s going to do a series on my Instagram page called “guess the nature” and starts there and then and her first episode goes live.

Friday April 24th

A two hour long Zoom meeting this morning tests my concentration powers, Cathal wanders in in his dressing gown about something urgent. Kids coming into Zoom meetings are a fact of life, I don’t try to hide it. If anyone had thought it was possible to work from home while homeschooling children we would all have been doing it forever.  Laoise makes an oven using a cereal box and cling film, like the did on homeschool hub. Cathal does a project on Australia for school. We watch a movie and eat popcorn to mark the weekend.

Saturday April 25th

Ciarán and I go for a walk together. I go to Aldi and do the grocery shopping, queuing to get in and disinfecting the trolley. We spend some time clearing out part of the garage. The rest can wait for another time.  I find some old boxes of memorabilia and decide to sift through it, finding all sorts of treasures from years ago including photographs from secondary school and from college.

It’s noted on the news that the travel restrictions do not apply to daytrippers from  Northern Ireland as the Gardai have no jurisdiction over them.

Sunday April 26th

Today is my sister’s birthday,  I sent her a card and organised a present earlier in the week. I wouldn’t normally see her on her birthday but I miss being able to, if that makes any sense.

On yet another walk I notice an abandoned garden fork in the ditch near our house, little do I then know how much it will amuse me over the coming weeks.

I clean out the utility room. Ciarán makes caramel squares (at my suggestion). Both things delight me.

Later I print schoolwork lists to have some work on the kitchen table for the kids in the morning. It’s tricky getting them started in the mornings, so sometimes if the work is there already it helps kickstart the academic day, once the Joe Wicks workout is done.

Monday April 27th

We know that the government will be announcing the exit plan this week, and I am anxious about it. I really want to see my mam. I want to visit my dad’s grave. I want to see my siblings for my dad’s first anniversary in June, like we had planned. I feel down about this all today, but I let myself, there’s no point in putting on a positive head, you have to feel your feelings.

School run an online Arts Week with tutorials every day. The garden fork is still sitting in the ditch on my walk.

Tuesday April 28th

On  my morning walk the blue fork is missing from the ditch. I’ve taken to putting a photograph of it on my instagram stories each time that I pass, on one of my many, many walks. It feels like walking, working and cooking is all I do. Laoise has started making herself “Froppy milk”  in the Nespresso machine, she loves it. She makes a den in the living room with high stools from the breakfast bar and blankets. We leave it up for days, we’re not expecting visitors.

I share our daily routine on Instagram- it looks like this:

Early walk for me – make sure kids had had breakfast (if up) – log in to work- Kids do PE with Joe Wicks – I try to spend 15 mins after this getting them to do some schoolwork and pop in and out of my work – they watch RTE Homeschool Hub at 11 and then ask to do the messiest experiments etc on it – we have lunch around 1. We don’t do schoolwork in the afternoon unless one of them has something that they really want to finish. They play, eat, fight, practice hurling, ride bikes, bake or watch some TV between around 2 and 4.30pm when Cathal gets his console time. We have dinner around 6.30pm and I usually go for a short walk when it’s eaten and we’ve all cleaned the kitchen. The kids go outside on the trampoline and when I get back from my evening walk, possibly with a child in tow, my husband goes for his.

Wednesday April 29th

This is a long and tough week, Work is busy, the kids are getting settled back into their routine. On my morning walk today I need a raincoat, there’s drizzle. We’ve been having unreal weather since lockdown began, but sometimes I wish for a  bad day where there’s no guilt felt about the screens we might need to get the kids (and us) through the conference calls. There’s school assembly over Zoom this morning, a regular Wednesday appointment now. After work Ciarán and I go for a walk and the blue fork is still in the ditch

Thursday April 30th

You could probably write my diary entry at this stage. I go for my early walk, and notice that the blue fork has been moved again! In a time when everything is so restricted and samey the blue fork is causing a bit of excitement. Today Laoise is revising the number 8 so she makes it out of grains of rice, playdoh and pasta. Laoise and Cathal do Zoom calls this afternoon with their friends and Cathal bakes cookies with me later. I go through some boxes from the garage and find old photos, school books of mine and lots of other memoribilia.

Friday May 1st 

It’s my birthday month. It’s also the day we are expecting to hear more about the next stages of lockdown. The constant in all this, the blue fork, remains in the ditch. Leo addresses the nation around 6.30pm. He tells us about phases, and when we can expect if everything goes well to be allowed to do things again. He tells us that schools will be closed until September. Laoise bursts into tears and runs to get her teddies.

We hear that our 2km limit will move to 5km first and then to 20km on 8th June but that it will be 20th July before we can go any  farther than that. Hairdressers can’t open until 20th July.

We download the HSE document to analyse what it really means for us. The travel ban being extended for so long is a real blow, we had hoped to see family before then.

For now the only changes are that the 2km limit has been moved to 5km from next week and over 70s can leave the house to exercise. The kids are upset when they hear that school will not reopen until the Autumn.

Saturday May 2nd

I feel dark when I wake. My brain is frowning. I go for a walk but I can’t shake it off. I’m processing the roadmap and how long things are going to take. The dates mean that our family won’t be able to get together for my Mam’s birthday in June, like we do every year. We won’t be able to have my dad’s first anniversary mass.

On my walk I notice that the blue fork has moved again and is now closer to my house but on the opposite side of the road than it was.

The day is the same as all the other Saturdays, hang out at home, do the supermarket shop, take it in turns to go for walks. I find Saturdays the hardest.

The news filters through that two of my favourite clothing stores, Oasis and Warehouse, have closed for good.

Laoise makes smoothies. We haven’t dismantled Laoise’s den in the living room yet, she lies on her fluffy rug and videocalls my mam from it.

Sunday May 3rd

The kids take part in a local initiative to bake something for Meals on Wheels. We deliver a chocolate biscuit cake, buns and rice krispie buns to the drop off point.

Laoise and I go for a walk and she blows dandelion wishes. We chat nicely as we walk. The blue fork is gone.

Monday May 4th

It’s a bank holiday Monday, the sun is shining, we can’t go anywhere, so we have a barbecue and attempt to make Smores. We go for walks and look forward to exploring a little further afield from tomorrow.

The daily press conference tells us that  16 more people have died in Ireland from  Covid-19, bringing the total number of deaths  in Ireland to 1,319.

Tuesday May 5th

Today we can travel up to 5km from home for exercise. For us, this means we can go to the beach (in fact there are 4 beaches within our 5km). I work in the morning, the kids do PE with Joe Wicks. In the afternoon we go for a walk on the beach and explore the adjoining woods.

I publish Volume 3 of my lockdown diaries.

Wednesday May 6th

I make brown bread during the kids’ school Zoom Assembly as an adult has to be in the room.

I do an Instagram Live interview with April from Getaways with Kids, I’ve never done one before and I’m really nervous but it’s fun and April makes me feel completely at ease.

Afterwards we play sweetshop outside as Laoise is learning about money for school, my selling sweets means all three kids are interested in the game.

Thursday May 7th

I go for a morning walk as usual, then work, homeschool, feed people.

A chaffinch comes in to our kitchen through the open patio door, Cathal manages to scoop it up in a teatowel to get it outside. This causes great excitement as our first visitor in a long time.

Laoise and I go to the beach and get some fresh air before bed.

Friday May 8th

Ciarán makes soda bread from a recipe he finds in his school English book. We devour it.

Cathal has a zoom call with his class and his teacher challenges them to build something as tall as themselves, it really engages him and he rushes downstairs to complete the challenge.

Facebook and Google announce that they are extending working from home until the end of the year.

Leaving Certs are told their grades will be “calculated”.

Today it’s 8 weeks since the kids went to school.

Saturday May 9th

Morning walk as usual. Saturdays are the hardest day I find

Laoise made a lighthouse based on a story on her schoolwork out of kitchen roll, including zipline

Laoise takes delivery of her birthday present, alomst a month early, a new bike.

We have a barbecue and make ice-cream sundaes afterwards.

Today 18 Covid-19 related deaths in Ireland  are confirmed, which means 1446  people in this country who have died of it. We have moved from listening to the number of cases to listening to the number of deaths.

Sunday May 10th

We go to the beach, it’s windy and wild. The kids make a fantastic sandcastle with a moat and a bridge

I print the schoolwork for tomorrow and leave it on the kitchen table for the kids to find. I have come to hate the printing of the schoolwork as much as the making of the lunches.

Monday May 11th

Laoise is up and doing her schoolwork when I come downstairs, I go for my usual walk and the log in to work for the day. Laoise and her dad learn about capacity by measuring lots of things. We make sure to do this outside. The younger 2 and I go to the beach and they dig a big hole. I try to think of some positives about lockdown and come up with: I am getting so much fresh air and exercise thanks to walks and no commuting, I’m much more connected to what the kids’ are learning and that helps to reinforce the themes they are learning at home, I’m not rushing around, the kids are getting more independent and cooking more.

 (Fair play if you read this, I’m bored of my own diary at this stage but I’ll keep at it as some of you are reading it and once you start this things it’s difficult to stop)

2 Comments

  1. I hate school work printing as much as I hated the whole saga of preparing lunch boxes/shouting for be taken out of bag and emptied and left in the sink. Some people don’t print them and trsnsfer them to devices for kids to read from them. Not every has enough devices for all their children, and it’s yet again more screen times…

  2. keep going Sinead, it mirrorrs a lot of houses and a great reminder of the changes we have all been through.

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