Tag Archives: lockdown

Three Months of Grim Winter Lockdown Easing, at Last

The children are going back to school as this long winter lockdown finally begins to ease. In the UK, cases of Covid-19 are now low, most vulnerable and older people, including myself, have been vaccinated. I believe the chance of any of us getting the illness, and especially of getting it so severely that we need hospital treatment, is very low. At the moment I feel positive, more so than at any time in the past year (apart from perhaps July/August 2020).

I’d be happy for our children not to have to wear masks all day at school. I think it’s still a wise policy for adults in confined spaces, but for kids to have to wear them every day, six hours per day, is too much, and probably not even necessary. Let them be free, I say. I very much doubt my kids are going to give me, or anyone else, Covid, especially since they’ll be doing lateral flow tests every week.

The Cooking Problem

It’s Day 2 of the January national lockdown and I have cooked ALL the dishes and ALL the recipes, and now I don’t know WHAT to cook for the seven meals the kids will require tomorrow.

We’ve already had:
Pasta
Risotto
Pizza
Salad
Vegetables
Frittata
Sausages
Baked potatoes
Cold meat
Fish fingers
Curry
Chinese takeaway
Baked beans on potato waffles
Scrambled eggs

School lunches may not be very nice (especially with the lack of a salad buffet) but at least I didn’t have to dream them up day after day.

Looking in the fridge for inspiration I see:
7 x mini yoghurts
One block of cheese
A few vegetables

I’ve already spent ALL my money on ALL the food, but I’ll have to go to the supermarket yet again tomorrow. I’m going every other day and spending about £50. This can’t go on!

Back Inside Our Homes

Lockdown 3.0 has taken effect. The Government says that the current rate of Covid-19 infection is worse than the first peak, which I can readily believe. The news is grim with this new variation which is 50% – 70% more transmissible than the original strain. Deaths are going to rise. What awful suffering is out there, unseen, unknown to us, who are battling away with kids in our living rooms as we try and get them to concentrate on their online lessons.

For the last three days I’ve had a dry, tickly cough and I feel ever so slightly chesty – like a minor version of the symptoms I had back in April 2019. The kids and I feel as if we have mild colds. I’ve ordered a Covid test which is being collect by courier on Friday (I ordered the test yesterday, Monday). It was the earliest they could do. I expect I’ll be feeling fine by then and won’t have any symptoms, so STILL won’t know whether I’ve had Covid, twice.

I have one child upstairs on her laptop doing geography and the other downstairs coughing away doing history. They’re both finding sitting in a chair all day long staring at a screen very challenging. Isn’t that what adults do at work? These are eleven-year-old children. I want them to be outside running free with their friends, playing games, and having fun. But this is 2021. We don’t have any friends. It’s the depths of winter and it’s FREEZING outside.

But this shall pass!! Signs of spring will emerge in a month or two.

Meanwhile, there’s comfort food.

Trump is History!

Or will be as soon as January comes along.

The American people have come to their senses and voted for Democrat Joe Biden to become the 46th president of the United States of America. Thank goodness. Proper Covid measures can at last be brought in to protect the people (mainly from themselves) and the US can now rejoin the Paris Climate Agreement and the WHO. Nasty, aggressive, policies brought in by Trump can be reversed and deleted. What a relief. Democracy is back in America. Everyone I know is delighted.

Meanwhile the UK is on Day five of Lockdown 2.0. We’re doing okay. I’m taking the children for walks at the weekends and they’re still going to school during the day, so nothing much changes for us, which is good. No eating out though. No going swimming, visiting the shops, or meeting up with friends. No getting professional haircuts. Paul and I did Jack’s hair with clippers in the kitchen on Saturday, and to our surprise it came out very well. Saved us £10! We may continue with this after lockdown (if he’ll let us).

Fireworks

On the day of the American Presidential election, when Joe Biden looks as if he may actually get enough votes to win (please God), and Donald Trump is screaming electoral fraud, demanding that vote counting be stopped, and stoking the possibility of violence at the ballot box, England has entered the first day of the second national lockdown.

It’s also fireworks night. Celebrations are muted this year. A couple of hours of fireworks going off in people’s back gardens, hand-held sparklers in the porch by the front door, and then silence. No big displays this year. The kids are normally disturbed by loud noises and screaming fireworks until about midnight and beyond, but this year it’s deadly quiet by 9:00pm. Which is strange (but good).

I’m pretty tired. I need the weekend to recoup – I need to spend some time in bed. I need rest. Things have been so busy and non-stop lately. And the weather’s turned cold, although still not nearly as cold as it should be at this time of year compared to my childhood when it was frost and hats and gloves.

For three weeks before the lockdown I asked Jack if he would please allow me to take him to the barbers for a haircut, but each time he loudly protested. “I will NEVER get a haircut!” ADHD/ASC means he doesn’t answer questions politely or reasonably, or even sensibly. Each week it was the same answer. NEVER.

ON THE DAY OF LOCKDOWN, TODAY, Jack asks for a haircut. Practically begs for one. All hairdressers are closed of course so there’s no chance for a haircut for a month at the very least, but he was inexplicably suddenly desperate, so I had to do a DIY session with him standing in the bath and me wielding a beard trimmer (I don’t have a pair of clippers). I didn’t get a chance to get my own highlights done, so I’m going to be going grey for Christmas. I wish I’d organised a trip to the hairdressers before lockdown started. Too late now.

Ah well, perhaps I’ll wake up tomorrow to hear that Biden has officially won. That’ll take a great weight off my shoulders, if not the entire’ world’s shoulders. We want to see the back of the pouting, tantrumming man-child that’s occupied The Whitehouse for four excruciating years.

Brace, Brace, Brace!

Much of the UK is living under severe restrictions now, with some places in local lockdowns. The area where I live is unchanged from where it’s always been… but I think a national lockdown could be imposed soon. I’m trying to make the most of my freedom whilst I still have it, continuing to be very careful with hand washing and mask wearing, of course. But the figures don’t look good. France is currently faring the worst in Europe, and today president Macron announced a second national lockdown for the country. I think I will manage to squeeze in one brief trip away before school starts again after half term and we in the UK are all told to stay at home once again.

It Feels Like a Crisis is Coming

France has declared a state of emergency and issued curfews for several of its cities. Northern Ireland has closed schools and many close-contact services such as hairdressers and beauticians, and introduced tight new hospitality rules that come into place the day after tomorrow. There’s a lot of debate here in the UK about whether our Government is doing the right thing by not announcing a national lockdown for a short period of time – a circuit breaker – to try to bring the virus under control, although many argue that it’s now too late for that to work even if it were imposed tomorrow. I have no idea what is best. I rely on my own research and what the experts and Government advise. I wonder whether schools will not go back after half term?

Home Schooling (50 excerpt)

Early April 2020

Question one of the first worksheet the school had sent us to was:

Write the factors of each number in the pairs: 24, 40

The problem with this question was that the children didn’t know what that meant. And neither did I. I don’t know what a factor is, or why there were pairs of numbers and not just one single number. Amy immediately got stressed and started thumping the desk and shouting that she didn’t understand. Jack, on the other hand immediately answered all the questions, wrongly, in about ten seconds flat, then stood up and loudly boasted he’d finished already, waving his paper in our faces. Amy screamed at him to shut up and go away. Confusion reigned. I looked up ‘What is a factor’ on Google, but I didn’t understand the information so couldn’t explain it to the children. Amy started crying and saying she HATED MATHS and was RUBBISH AT MATHS. Jack rubbed out all his work after I told him it was wrong (even I could tell his answers were just random numbers). His ADHD means that he’ll skim read a question and get the meaning wrong, then rush the answers which are themselves all wrong, before he realises he has to start all over again at the beginning by reading the questions properly. He doesn’t do slow and logical. He doesn’t do methodical and careful. And he doesn’t learn from his mistakes because he approaches his school work in this exact same way every single time.

At this point I decided I needed help so I phoned a friend. Lindsay very kindly attempted to explain the question to us via WhatsApp video call. I half understood, but neither of my children did. I then had another go at explaining it to them myself, expanding on Lindsay’s information (third time lucky?) but both children glazed over and interrupted saying it wasn’t making sense. I got cross and told them to keep quiet for GOD’S sake and LISTEN whilst I try to explain. In response Amy threw her pencil across the floor and shouted that she didn’t understand anything. Now I shouted for everyone to shut up and behave. Both of them again repeated how much they hate maths (even though at school Jack used to enjoy maths and do well). Everyone’s stress levels were sky high.

The twins attempted to answer the first question one more time — one crying, the other in a world of his own weirdness and confusion writing down numbers and circling random printed digits on his page (although I didn’t understand why on earth there were numbers printed in the boxes where he was supposed to be writing down the answers). After a few minutes Amy stopped struggling, tears running down her cheeks, and said she still didn’t understand it. But neither did I, so I couldn’t help her. I could only shrug. I noticed Jack was staring out of the window.

Forty-five minutes had somehow passed and it was the end of maths. I marked their ‘work,’ but when I looked at Jack’s paper I suddenly realised I’d accidentally given him the answer sheet instead of the questions. No wonder he already had numbers printed in the answer boxes, no wonder he was confused. I hadn’t noticed before because I thought those numbers were somehow part of the question. That’s how bad my understanding of maths is.

Everyone was unhappy and exhausted. If asked, we couldn’t do the same question again tomorrow because we don’t know how we got the (mostly incorrect) answers this time. How is that teaching? Amy sobbed and ran upstairs. This was the first lesson of the day. I’m simply not equipped to teach maths. I have no training, no ability, no understanding, and I can’t do it. I’m making my children worse at this subject. I never expected to have to be a maths teacher and would never set myself up to be one. I can’t do this alone without the support of school. Jack does have quite a good understanding, but I’m gradually confusing him and undermining his confidence. And with my assistance Amy is solidifying her block against it.