Wobbly Wednesdays

So it seems that on Wednesdays I have a wobble. OK this is only the 2nd time I’ve had a wobble on a Wednesday, but as we are only 2 weeks into this crazy new life, that’s 100% of Wednesdays where I’ve had a wobble! Not sure what it is about Wednesdays particularly other than I’m on day 3 of solo educating and parenting the kids for the week and the weekend seems far off?

Nic is still working in the office every day as there is work that has to be done in the office and he wants to help keep up the morale of the guys still there doing those jobs. And it’s fine, the kids and I are getting on alright. We have got into a pretty good routine.

We go for a long walk or bike ride first thing, then come back and do Maths and English, with a bit of a play too. Then it’s some art or something creative before lunch.

After lunch some exercise in the garden then it’s a topic activity, science geography etc. Then the kids chill, play, watch TV whatever while I work for a couple of hours. Then the kids do some indoor exercise either by joining in a life class or watching something on YouTube before I sort dinner.

The kids are happy and I’m good. It’s generally fairly relaxed. There’s some obvious bickering between them and the odd tantrum but nothing out of the ordinary. So why the wobble?

I think that it’s the lack of freedom I’m struggling with. I can’t just pop to the shops to get something we’ve run out of. I have to be with the kids at all times and shops really don’t want you taking kids in. Our local tesco was the first place where there were comments made, and I’ve heard of some shops banning kids from coming in (our local B&M, not sure it’s nationwide policy) and I get it, I really do, but single parents really don’t have a choice, and it means I have to try and get my husband to go before or after work. OK, doesn’t sound like a hardship but for someone who hates relying on anyone else, it’s really hard not to just go and get what you need, when you need it.

I’d also like to be able to just go to the shops, by myself, but again with having the kids with me all day, every day, I don’t have that luxury.

My kids don’t stop talking, and it’s lovely, they are very inquisitive and we are doing so much learning, but ooh it’s exhausting. Someone sent me this meme.

(no idea who to credit for this!)

And I feel like I have 2, one on each shoulder!

I also hate the fact that you don’t know what you are going to get from the shops (or what my husband will get) because you don’t know what is there. Things are getting better but just hate all the unknowns, and, well, I’m a control freak so it’s particularly hard for me lol.

All this probably sounds really pathetic. We are safe in our home and we are all healthy. Poor me not being able to go out on my own. Not being able to get what I want when I want it. Boo hoo to me. Believe me I know there are people with far greater problems, struggling with domestic abuse, or you know actuall having coronavirus or losing someone to it!

I do worry about the virus but feel like as long as we do the social distancing and keep washing our hands, there’s not much else we can do and we will either get it or we won’t. Or we may have had it and been asymptomatic. I guess I don’t see the point worrying about that until it happens, if it happens. Because I can’t, I just can’t allow myself to think about what that might mean

But the lack of freedom is happening and some days it gets to me. Not every day, apparently only on Wednesdays 😂

Week 1 of Lockdown

So it is Friday. We are on day 5 of having the kids home full down and 4 days since the lockdown became official and I thought I would share how it is all going. There have been some definite highs and lows.

From the start I set up a bit of a rough routine for the kids and I to follow so they have time to do their school work, time to pay and time where they are left very much to their own devices while I try to get some work done. For the most part I would say this has gone ok, though we have moved things around a bit.

Doing schoolwork

In terms of doing the work set by school, the kids have been pretty good and mostly got on with it. There have been some lovely activity suggestions that have worked for all of us and they’ve not struggled to do the work they’ve been set. At one point Leo moaned about his English and I had to show him the email from his teacher to prove it was the work he had been set!

Some activities school suggested

We’ve not only done things suggested by the school though and have done some other activities through the week. We’ve also been getting out for a walk or bike ride first thing every morning which has been lovely. The sunshine has also helped us play out in the garden a lot.

Getting out and about

Wednesday was the low point of the week. We had a lovely morning, we went out and then came back to do school work. I was trying to fast (I normally do the 5:2) and thought I was ok but then around lunchtime all went to pot. While the kids were having their lunch I set up a den in the garden and some toys and suggested that the kids play that while I was upstairs working. I also set up a short film for them. But I was met with a flat No from Leo about both and tonnes of whinging. I think hangry-ness was not helping and I completely lost the plot at them.

I had been working my bum off to get some fun activities for them and they just didn’t appreciate it. I know, I know, they are 5 and 7, and children aren’t exactly known for their empathy. Liberty wanted to play with Leo but he wouldn’t play with her so it then turned into a full meltdown from her about missing her friends and wanting to go to a playpark. Poor love is by far the most sociable of us all so she is struggling with the lack of socialising.

They both went on their kindles for a bit but when they stopped that, working while they bickered and screamed wasn’t fun. After I gave up I tried to sort a video call with her friend, which I think she enjoyed but it wasn’t the same so didn’t last long. The rest of the day just wasn’t great and I couldn’t get Liberty to enjoy anything we did so I ended the day feeling really rubbish. I did not fast successfully that day!

Thursday was a better day. I changed things around a bit and went to work later in the afternoon to see if that would help us all. We went for a long bike ride in the morning and went past a favourite playpark that is all cordoned off, and I think that helped Liberty understand I am not just being mean when I say no, we literally cannot go on a playpark. We then did loads of drawing pictures for her friends and then some baking biscuits.

Some other activities..

After lunch we got a big box out of the garage and the kids did such beautiful teamwork decorating it and turning it into a shop (ready to play with and do some maths with the following day), Liberty then splashed about in some water outside and after a shower sat on the sofa in front of the TV while I went to work. It was a much better day and a relief as Nic was at work from before 8am and didn’t get home til nearly 9pm. Solo parenting and working from breakfast to bedtime was full on. I know many parents out there are in the same boat and worse as I only have to work a couple of hours a day, but it was def full on!

Today we all woke up tired and started off as another emotional and less than ideal day. But we persisted. We have done some schoolwork, been out for a walk and sat in the garden drawing flowers which was lovely, though it was chilli this morning.

This afternoon Nic was able to spend some time at home with the kids so I could pop to the office and also to the shops to get some antibac supplies for the office. It’s a weird old world out there with 1 in 1 out at some shops and very spacious queues to get in to the shops marked by cones etc!

We’ve also been keeping active indoors by using you tube and online videos. Leo’s Karate club are doing live interactive classes every day via Zoom which has been great. There’s a lovely ballet teacher doing online live classes on instagram that Liberty has been doing too. It’s nice for them to keep up with some of the activities they would normally be doing. We also got my old Wii out of the loft for them to do dancing.

So yeah, ups and downs but very busy! It may seem like I have filled every day but there has also been times when they just played. Leo is better at doing that then Liberty is though.

Looking forward to wine and takeaway tonight, hope you’ve had a good week?

Lockdown begins

Well things certainly change quickly in these crazy days, hard to believe how quickly some times. Yesterday I was writing about the fact that we were heavily restricted compared to our normal way of life but that we were thankfully not on lockdown.

At 8.30 last night, an announcement from the PM changed that. We are now on lockdown. The rules now are:

Stay at home

  • Only go outside for food, health reasons or essential work
  • Stay 2 metres (6ft) away from other people
  • Wash your hands as soon as you get home

We are allowed out once a day for exercise, which for me is a huge relief as I need time outside. I’ve heard the lockdown in Spain includes not going further than 50m from your house and the thought of that concerned me.

Otherwise, this does’t really affect our life that much, not compared to the changes we’ve already made. I am working from home so I can look after the kids and home educate them as much as possible. We have been going for a walk once a day and can still do that. Nic is going to work but otherwise we are’t seeing anyone in person. We are just seeing people on video.

It is a weird time though. Some people are scared of getting ill so don’t want to leave their homes. Some people are scared of the loss of freedoms and so are chafing to be out and living their normal life. I guess I am somewhere in between. I’m not in the at risk group so in theory shouldn’t be affected too badly by the virus, but you never know and there are young healthy people who survive it, but are hospitalised first.

If I allow myself to think about it, I’m scared of Nic and I both being hospitalised as I don’t know what would happen to the children in that scenario. It’s very unlikely but it is possible. I’m scared that one of family members or friends will get it and become seriously ill or worse. Everyone who is vulnerable is self isolating so we have to hope that is enough to prevent that.

I try not to spend time thinking about what I am scared of though, because they are largely out of my control. I am focusing instead on the things I do have control over. I’m focusing on following the rules. I’m focusing on the children, trying to keep them busy, vaguely educated, healthy and happy. I am focusing on staying in touch with our friends and family and supporting them from a distance. In my role at work I am focusing on supporting my colleagues, trying to make sure they are healthy and happy whether working from home or still in the office and making sure they have what they need.

I’m also focusing on me and Nic keeping us healthy. Hence I am so relieved we can still get out and about every day! Even though I really want to eat loads of crisps and chocolate, I am trying to carry on eating healthily. I’m trying to make sure I keep exercising, even if I can’t do the normal hikes I do with my friend (the kids would never manage one of those with me) and even though my yoga class is cancelled. Last night Nic and I found a great Pilates class on Youtube so Monday evenings we doing Pilates after the kids go to bed. I did a fab Yoga video that a friend recommended and Thursday evening is our Yoga evening (my abs need a few days to recover from these workouts lol).

At the moment we have enough food to keep us going. We have a delivery booked in for next week, but there are restrictions on the amount of certain things that you can buy, which will force us to go to the shops too. We eat a lot of eggs and because of all the panic buying of them, are only allowed to buy 3 packs of 6 at a time. On a normal day we eat 7 eggs every morning because we have scrambled eggs for breakfast. We obviously don’t have to do that so if we have to have toast or cereal for brekkie we can, but would like to keep things as normal as possible for the children and for the sake of our health. Nic’s IBS means he can’t eat bread and cereals so his breakfasts rely heavily on protein to keep him going through the day.

It’s hard to balance everything. There are restrictions on what you are allowed to buy when you go to the shops, but also restrictions on how many times you are allowed to go to the shops. It’s to make sure there is enough for everyone and I know that everyone is facing the same challenges. I guess my point is that we are trying to keep things feeling normal, but something simple like trying to buy food reminds you that things aren’t normal. At all.

Anyway that’s enough ramblings for me for today. Let’s see what the rest of today/tomorrow brings.

Ideas & Resources for being at home with the kids

I am a planner and an organiser. It’s who I am and so the thought of having the kids at home with me for an indeterminable amount of time with no plan, scares me, er, quite a lot. My pair are 5 and 7, by the way, in Reception and Year 3.

I don’t want to go mad and plan every second of the day but I know my kids and if they aren’t busy, they are bickering out of boredom. Being bored every now and then does them no harm but too much of it will stress me out. So I’m coming up with a loose plan for each day. I’ve made it changeable because I don’t know the kind of things school will send for them to learn from home, and there are online tutorials and online classes we may join so things will move around a bit. But this is my vague plan for Monday.

As for what we will do during each of these segments, some will be stuff the school sends, but here are some of the ideas I have , with links to resources where relevant.

Maths

  • Workbooks, sent from school and shop bought ones.
  • Playing shops, using change from around the house
  • Board games
  • TimesTables Rockstars. (Our school uses this so we have a log in from them, not sure if you can access without that)
  • Activity Sheets from Twinkl – you can get these for free using CVDTWINKLHELPS
  • Top Marks
  • Baking – good for measuring and weighing
  • Measuring themselves, each other, and things around the house
  • Orchard toys Activity Sheets they have Maths, English and just colouring and all sorts that you can print out

PE

  • Go Noodle Zumba
  • Joe Wicks PE at 9.30 every morning
  • Cosmic Kids Yoga
  • Walks
  • Bike Rides
  • Running laps of the garden (they run laps of the playground at school for The Golden Mile so hoping they will find this more fun than it sounds lol)
  • Ball Games in the garden
  • Other online videos on social media. I think Leo’s Karate club are doing some for members and I’ve seen a ballet teacher on Instagram doing short ballet classes. @theballetcoach

English, Phonics & Reading

  • Workbooks from school
  • Oxford Reading Owl free ebooks of colour band books
  • Phonics Play username March20 password, home – good for younger ones
  • English with Holly live tutorials all week for various ages covering
  • Activity Sheets from Twinkl – you can get these for free using CVDTWINKLHELPS they have various story writing sheets and sheets for all ages with writing, phonics and more complicated activities for older children.
  • Writing letters to friends (even if we just take photos and emailing them or messaging them if you can’t get to the post)
  • Orchard toys Activity Sheets they have Maths, English and just colouring and all sorts that you can print out
  • Scholastic has some free resources too

Art

  • Drawing
  • Painting
  • Chalking outside
  • Water painting outside
  • Making pictures for friends and family
  • Junk modelling
  • Virtual tours of galleries
  • Look up a famous painting and make your own version of it
  • Make mosaics
  • Sticker pictures
  • Orchard toys Activity Sheets they have Maths, English and just colouring and all sorts that you can print out

Science/Geography

  • Making Slime
  • Baking
  • Home experiments using activity sets we have in the cupboards
  • Explorify
  • Watching animals on Zoos that live stream
  • Watch some documentaries

Coding

  • Purple Mash we have a school login so again not sure if you can use without that
  • Scratch
  • BeeBot App – not sure if only Apple

This list is by no means exhaustive, I’m sure I will add things to it. there are so many groups on facebook sharing tips and ideas and resources too. Please also feel free to let know of any you find.

We are all different and for some people a much less planned approach to this situation will work best, but for me I need a plan and some ideas for what to do, and if this helps anyone else out there than that is great. I’m not going to focus on educating them all the time, I am no teacher and I want to have fun with them at home. But I do want to keep them occupied as well.

Good luck everyone!

Bringing the blog back

When I originally started this blog, way back when, it was to try and find some sanity when I made the choice to be a stay at home parent to my little ones. I loved it, but as the children grew and went to school, and I started working part time, it just wasn’t needed in the same way, so I stopped blogging.

Now, here we are in March 2020 and becoming a stay at home mum has a whole new meaning to it, thanks to the corona virus, covid-19. As of Monday I will be a mum staying at home again but also working at home and attempting to educate my children at the same time. I’ve decided to resurrect this blog again, partly to once again try and keep some sanity, but also to keep a record as these are weird and interesting times we are living in.

For the sake of posterity and for the me of the future looking back and reading this, this is where we are at.

A coronavirus, called Covid-19 originated in Wuhan, China in late December 2019. It transferred from animals to humans and affected respiratory systems, particularly in the elderly and for people with underlying conditions.   To most of the world, it seemed to be China’s problem, then it started spreading. Still, most of the world (myself included) were incredibly blasé. Then it started spreading more. Italy was particularly affected. A week or so ago (I am writing this on 20th March 2020) Italy went on lockdown to try and contain it. More and more countries have now followed suit. France has the military on the streets and is fining people who leave their homes for unauthorised purposes.

In the UK, we are not at the same levels of infection or deaths yet, however in the last week more and more measures have been taken. Anyone with a high temperature or a cough has to self-isolate for 7 days. If there is more than one person in your household you all have to self isolate for 14 days if one of you has a cough or a high temperature. The government has recommended people work from home as much as possible. We are advised not to go to bars, restaurants, clubs. Not to meet up with friends and family. The elderly, vulnerable and pregnant are being advised to self isolate for 12 weeks.

The reason for this makes sense. It is protect the healthcare system by slowing the spread of the infection. There’s a great video I will try to link to here which explains it way better than I can.

The measures have been drip fed to us over the week and now, as I think most people expected, schools are being closed to all children except those of key workers. Doctors, nurses, supermarket workers, delivery drivers.

In all honesty, it’s a scary time. I am trying to stay positive but it is hard. People have been panic buying and there are horrible stories out there of the abuse supermarket workers and schools are facing. The truth is that noone really knows where this is all going to lead and what the heck is going to happen. What is to become of the economy? All the businesses that are temporarily closing. When will children go back to school again? Exams have been cancelled, theatres closed, clubs shut down.

No-one knows so I guess panic is inevitable. But there is positivity too, so much support is out there and for my part I am trying to stay positive. I have come up with a chart to try and schedule our days, though I have made designed it to be flexible so I can move things around (I’m already thinking of ways to adjust it, and we haven’t even started the new routine yet!).

So there we are. This site hasn’t been maintained in years so there is a lot that is out of date. I’ll try and update various bits as we go and I’m not sure how much I will post but this is just a record for us really!

Anyone out there who does read this, feel free to comment and stay in touch with how things are going for you in this crazy new world.