I wake up at 3am in a panic. What was that noise?
I have visions of burglars coming to steal our supplies. I have watched far too many apocalyptic movies…
The strange noises I hear turn out to be a rainstorm lashing the house.
How very apt, I think. Even the weather is in sympathy with the mood of our nation.
I lie awake trying not to think about how long it will take before people stop buying up like madmen. What if I can’t feed my babies? I tell myself off for being so ridiculous, but cannot shake the feeling of panic. Again, why do I love dystopian fiction so much? Why am I cursed with a vivid imagination?
At 5am I wake my slumbering husband and demand his reassuring cuddles before I eventually drift off to sleep.
I sleep in so long I miss an online prayer meeting with my home group and an online trivia game with a friend.
The storm has passed, it is a beautiful, sunny autumnal day.
My children are super excited for ‘home school’, and I have an outline for the day. I think I will stick to it because my children like routine. By routine, I mean we will do P.E. first, then read, then go for a walk etc, not a 9:00-9:10 am: Multiplication and fractions sort of schedule.
I plan to do nothing more than read with the kids, and have them write cards to their friends and relatives. We will make crafts, movies, bake etc. We will garden, and dance to Koo Koo Kangaroo. Simple stuff. I really couldn’t give a toss about actual schoolwork. My children are small and schoolwork is not important right now. I am gratified to hear some of my favourite NZ psych/parenting gurus say the same. Focus on being calm, focus on making them feel safe, focus on doing things together. Be patient as they process their emotions in this scary time.
On cue, my son has a huge meltdown after breakfast. I’m expecting lots of this behaviour. But actually, he ends up being fine for the rest of the day. Doing P.E. is a highlight for him.
We spend most of the morning outside. I can’t garden right now except for the odd bit of pruning, so I hobble through the garden, noticing all the flowers that are blooming. I am grateful that a previous owner of our house loved flowers so much.
The kids make ‘training’ videos, obviously inspired by Joe Wicks, although I suspect Joe doesn’t do ‘the butt dance’ in his videos.
Miss E is especially kind and helpful today. She helps me hang out the washing, and tidies up a mess left by her brother after he did an impromptu craft.
Rev G goes into church to get all the things he will need to put online services together. I’m resentful that his mind is mostly on work, and not on his family and make him watch a great clip on Seven Sharp where a psychologist talks about the importance of parents sharing the mental load. I feel like I am the only parent who cares about how our kids are coping with the most stressful event of their short lives.
But Rev G has been madly running around getting things we need before the lockdown too. He does care. He goes past a supermarket and finds it not busy. He calls me to say it is ‘almost normal’, so he is able to get our usual groceries after all. The huge weight in my chest lifts. My primal brain relaxes again – my babies will not starve (not that they were ever in any danger of that!).
Master D amazes me by writing himself a ‘worksheet’. They don’t do those at his Montessori school, so I’ve no idea where he came up with that, but I notice his writing has come on so much. I also notice him colouring quietly when he’s not doing stuff with me or his sister. Master D of a year ago was incapable of doing anything quietly for more than a few minutes. Incredible the difference a year makes.
I notice that I am noticing things more – if that makes sense! I am grateful for so many things: the sun in my face, the Scholastic books that arrived on the last day of school, Zoom catch-ups with friends. I almost never watch terrestrial TV anymore, but I watch the news again, and keep on watching. Jeremy Wells is hysterically funny on Seven Sharp, and then cute puppies being trained as rescue/police/guide dogs etc comes on. I am grateful for the laughs and distraction.