The Mummy Diaries – Life after Lockdown sends me gaga

The Mummy Diaries – Life after Lockdown sends me gaga

by Emma Hargan
article from Saturday 5, September, 2020

IT’S BEEN a while peeps! We decided to take some time out from blogging for a bit. Instead of frying everyone’s head with yet another blog about baking cakes with the kids and becoming borderline insulin resistant (and alcoholics), I thought it might be a good opportunity to just go with the flow and enjoy experiencing Groundhog Day over and over again – or lockdown as it’s better known. Without the happy clappy pics on Facebook, the red wine and the Doritos of course!

So, how did we do? 

Well, pretty much like everyone else I guess. We laughed and enjoyed some days. We celebrated Lily’s 2nd birthday in June and Jamie’s 4th birthday in July. Jamie’s speech has improved to no end, so much so in fact, there were days that I longed for the peace and quiet again! 

Lily and Jamie have got better at sharing toys with each other (That! really is a blessing!) We’ve enjoyed finding new games to play in the house and in the garden. Most importantly though is we’ve learned to appreciate all the things we took for granted before. I have never seen the kid’s faces light up as much when I said we would walk up to the shop and get an ice cream

Other days, we cried and clawed our way through. It most certainly hasn’t been easy and will be a time that each and every one of us will never forget. And although things are starting to get back to the ‘new normal’ with businesses re-opening and being allowed to travel to certain places, I’m now wondering – is it just me or are we now living in a new level of fears and anxieties? Yes, everyone is fearful of public places and keeping to social distancing, and yes, everyone is anxious of returning to work, wearing masks and standing outside Homebase in a queue for over an hour in the rain, just to go in and find sod all on the shelves. But I’m talking about the new mummy fears and anxieties. This is a whole new level of frying our brains. Some of it rational and some, well, not so rational.

Let me explain…

I don’t think I’m alone when I say that as much as I love my kids, spending 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with them for months stuck in the house would find me on more than one occasion, locked in the bathroom rocking back and forth and crying into my double decker take its toll on anybody. I couldn’t wait for the day that the playgrounds would eventually open or somewhere I could take the kids out for lunch (even if it involved tripe). I have found myself on so many occasions dreaming of the letter or telephone call that would say that Playschool is opening back up. All the days during the lovely weather that I would have killed to get the kids in the car, pack a picnic, grab buckets and spades and head for the beach.

Then those days arrived. I then became fearful. I didn’t want to take the kids to the play park, in case there were other children playing. I didn’t want to take them for lunch anywhere as I was worried they wouldn’t sit in their seats the whole time. I didn’t want to take them to the beach in case there were crowds of people. The problem is, is how do you explain to a four year old and a two year old that they can’t run around like they used to amongst other people. And then of course, the big one –  Jamie back to playschool for his final year. I know Jamie’s ready, but I’m not sure I am!

So, before we get down to the whole back to playschool and the first day experience, the run up to the event didn’t have me one bit anxious. In fact, I was actually looking forward to it. 

The week before was spent refereeing rows over who gets to watch Blippy or Peppa Pig; scraping Playdoh off the kitchen floor – and listening to bloody Queen on repeat on Alexa, apparently because, “Queen is class Mummy!”

Now don’t get me wrong, I used to quite like Queen. But if I hear, “Mama, just killed a man, put a gun against his head, pulled the trigger now he’s dead..” one more time, it may actually happen. I’m pretty sure I’m not alone here when I say Peppa Pig is one spoiled little devil and sooooo bossy! Oh and don’t even get me started on Blippy! The guy must be on drugs! Either that, or he needs drugs – and a sanatorium. This was actually one of our better weeks, so to say I was looking forward to a couple of hours a day without Jamie hanging off my leg every two minutes, safely in playschool and Lily upstairs having her nap. Oh yeah, bring it on!!

It was that last week that I started to notice how much the house had been utterly trashed during the months of lockdown. I’m not just talking about a bit of paint here and there but I’m talking demolition. With being stuck inside the house for longer periods of time, we allowed the kids to do stuff they would NOT normally be allowed to do. For instance, letting them race about on their scooters round the house instead of out in the garden when it was pouring. We did loads more painting and colouring etc. As a result of this, on close inspection, we discovered there was the odd wee lovely crayon mark on the walls. The skirting boards were scored, chipped and just about hanging on for dear life. Oh yes and the door handles – why can’t kids just open a door and close a door? Why do they pull on the handle and then swing on said handle while the door opens? Uuuuugh. 

Oh, and I almost forgot to tell you all about Jamie’s near death experience with a 5 litre tin of green emulsion paint! No, not because the tin of paint nearly fell on him or because he drank it. No, because I was going to kill him!!

James and I decided that we would start off by painting the kitchen. After spending a lifetime looking at colour charts, we decided on a nice muted green, or ‘Mellow Sage’ to be exact. So half an hour spent queuing outside of Homebase in the rain, in face masks with two toddlers in tow was about the highlight of the week. I was so excited to get started on decorating the house and getting the place freshened up. Thankfully, they had the paint. James said he would make a start the following evening after work. Sorted!

Well, not quite…

The following morning started off well. The kids were in good form, enjoyed their breakfast and were happily playing away while I got tidied up, washing on and jobs done. I peered into the living room and Jamie and Lily were sitting playing Lego so I thought I would race up the stairs, get myself dressed (yes, I was still in my PJs) and grab the kid’s clothes for the day. I was literally 4 minutes…

As I was walking back down the stairs, I thought I was seeing spots. Green spots. As I got closer, I noticed it wasn’t just green spots. It was green smears. And it was everywhere! 

Oh. For. Fox. Ache!!!

Green paint. Green paint on the front door, handprints on the walls, the sofas, the tv, the doors, cream rug, (aaagh! THE CREAM RUG!) – and then I looked into the utility room. Lily was standing at the door crying, not a spot of paint on her but totally traumatised, pointing to Jamie, shouting, “Mummy, it was Jamie!”

And there the little devil child was. The 5 litre tin which was safely stored in a locked cupboard was now on its side in a pool of ‘Mellow Sage’ with Jamie sitting in the middle of it, his arms completely coated in paint. If I had thought about it and I wasn’t so raging, it would have been a good photo but needless to say I was anything but mellow and wasn’t in the mood for a Kodak moment!

After showering Jamie and getting the pair of them out of the way, I set about starting to clean the devastation. I mean, where do you start? 

Three and a half hours later…

Everything was cleaned apart from the rug. Yip that thing had had it! Cream rug and green paint? No chance. I thought that was pretty good going considering the state of the place three hours beforehand. Roll on playschool!

That evening, James arrived home and to say I was slightly stressed out may have been an understatement. Thankfully James took the kids up for showers and bedtime so I could have a bit of time to myself. I had just poured myself a glass of the medicinal stuff when James appeared with the floor steamer.

“What you doing with that?” I asked.

“I’m going to try it on the rug, see if it takes the paint out. The rugs wrecked anyway if it doesn’t work.” James replied.

Well, lo and behold! It worked. And If I’m honest, the rug never looked better!

So, fast forward to the playschool and the first day experience. Not only was it a big day for Jamie but it was a big day for Lily as well. Lily hadn’t been in the pushchair for months and had no intention of going back in it just to take Jamie up and down the road. That’s two miles a day she would be walking. I had the pushchair on standby, just in case.

We headed off, Jamie all excited to see his friends again, Lily all excited at going to playschool with Jamie.  And me? I was quietly freaking out. My brain running at a hundred miles an hour.

ME: What if someone in this place has Covid?

ME: Is it going to be cleaned properly?

LILY STARTS TO SING: “All we hear is Radio Gaga!”

ME: How are they going to…

LILY SINGING: “All we hear is Radio Gaga!”

I couldn’t help but smile at the distraction of Lily singing Queen the whole way up the road to playschool.

On arrival at the playschool, all my fears were quickly dissolved. The staff were fantastic and explained exactly how the new set up for dropping off and collecting was going to work. Jamie was so excited, he ran off into the classroom without looking back. Lily started to cry. 

“Jamie!” She shouted.

“It’s alright Lil, we’ll be back to collect Jamie at lunchtime.” I explained but Lily was sobbing.

Just at that, one of the staff members shouted me back and Jamie came running out, gave Lily a kiss and says, “See you later Lil!”

Oh my heart. I actually couldn’t speak walking out of the door and up the road, until Lily started singing Queen again.

And I thought lockdown was going to send me Radio Gaga! 

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