Life in Lockdown (with a Baby)
Without sounding like a cordial email or a bad Facebook status, these are strange times that we’re living in and in the only way I know, I’ve decided to try and note our life in lockdown with Baby Davis. When he’s older, I imagine we’ll tell him about the deadly virus that swept the world keeping us all locked indoors, how shops, bars and restaurants closed but ultimately, I hope written between these lines, is the bond we formed as a family and the kindness in our community.
At the moment, we’re fortunate that John is able to work remotely from home, specifically our kitchen table, and that I’m also home enjoying my final few months of maternity leave (my, how quickly the time passes!) Thanks to a supermarket delivery, we’ve been able to avoid going out (apart for daily exercise) and have only been to places for medical reasons such as baby’s injections. We are privileged to be able to stay home, we don’t doubt that.
With news of Coronavirus also came a letter bearing news that my role of digital lead is now redundant. The prospect of facing no income, or limited job vacancies, should the pandemic continue past SMP is disarming… but obviously, not as terrifying as Covid-19. While it has come as a complete shock, I’ve been (over)thinking the next steps to follow once my maternity leave comes to an end. To calm my mind, I’ve rediscovered hobbies (hey fellow mums, remember hobbies?) such as baking (who even am I?), reading (during feeds) and of course, writing (new blog posts, blog posts everywhere – did you catch my last post Things to do in Sofia?).
I’ve rediscovered reading again. I know, basic, but it wasn’t until recently that I realised just how much time I was spending on my phone. Long scrolls through Instagram, checking our community Facebook page, you name it. I’ve always told myself I didnt’ have time to read, but clearly I did – while feeding William. In fact, I’ve read three books since the start of April and well over a thousand pages, all while breastfeeding. I’ve found myself hooked on feminist dystopian novels, reading Vox by Christina Dalcher and The Grace Year by Kim Liggett.
If you’re yet to read The Grace Year, let me tell you… it is amazing. I found myself staying up well past a sensible bed time to read as much as I could. Never has a book induced heart-pounding anxiety in me as much as this book did. Think of Liggett as a modern day Atwood with the power to spin an incredible yarn and you won’t be far wrong. My paperback was a proof copy but the hardcover version is available.
A number of my worries about life in lockdown concerned William. Primarily his sleep, or lack of it. Before lockdown, we would always leave the house daily (whether for baby groups or errands) and the car would rock him to sleep ensuring at least one nap per day. So, life in lockdown so far has involved me honing in on Baby Davis’ cues. Knowing that we’re in the house, all cooped up together, has meant I’ve become serious about noting his wake times and more importantly for my sanity, nap time (read: coffee and writing time). It’s been a success, William is now averaging around 3 naps a day for 2-3 hours in total. It’s the reason I’m able to write again.
There’s an added bonus too – for the first time ever, William is now sleeping for longer than bursts of 2-3 hours at night and can now manage to sleep for 7-8 hours straight. Granted, the first time it happened, he was ready to start the day at 4.30am – all I was left to do was try to keep my eyes open, clutch a cup of coffee and try not to get too upset that CBeebies doesn’t start until 6am (seriously, why so late?).
During February, we had started to attend groups: our favourite was a local baby sensory class. It was the first time that I’d had the confidence to regularly attend a group with other mothers and important for William, other babies. In the three weeks, I started to notice how much William was enjoying the classes and also, how much he was progressing. Lockdown saw the old teacher in me starting to come out by trying to plan engaging activities for William at home for throughout the week. While a career in Early Years is definitely not on the cards, we’ve enjoyed our own version of bounce and rhyme and sensory play.
Easter at Home
Easter has been quiet, a completely different weekend to what we’re used to. No lamb roast dinner around my folk’s farmhouse style kitchen with all the family, just our little family staying home. Very quiet, very different although our Easter did start with the age-old tradition of eating Easter eggs for breakfast. I also found myself whipping up a batch of cookie dough ready for Mini Egg Easter cookies baked fresh from the oven. I know, I don’t even recognise myself anymore.
Thank goodness for the shift in seasons, from rainy stormy days before lockdown to sun-drenched walks in the golden hour for our daily exercise and fresh air for William. Like many, we are discovering parts of our area that we’ve never been to before or noticing details we’d never seen. Like all the blossom.
I’ve also discovered (via Facebook) that there’s a wonderful community of people on our doorstep who are thinking of others during this Coronavirus crisis. Lots of people seem to be having clear outs at the moment and it’s great to see so many valuable items offered to neighbours before heading their way to landfill. Although books are never in short supply in our house, with John working from home he doesn’t have the same access to borrow books. A neighbour of ours kindly placed books at the end of her drive for us to collect. How could we resist Watch Out William!?