Day 14

I skipped a few days of writing and so much has happened that I do not know where to begin. This evening it was announced that our Prime Minister Boris Johnson is currently in Intensive Care. I’m not sure if the news is being typically British and playing the situation down, or if his condition is serious but it’s certainly scary and shows that this virus knows no bounds.

It’s the early hours of Tuesday morning and I can’t sleep so thought I’d use my time constructively to write my blog, and focus on something else for a short while to take my mind off the constant awfully news updates.

We have been finding things to do all week to keep ourselves busy. It’s not easy to keep a two year old constantly occupied but I do my best. Being allowed out once a day for exercise is a lifeline right now, and this final freedom is under threat after the sunny weekend just gone demonstrated that people still want to flout the rules with regards to social distancing.

I’m feeling incredibly grateful to have such a wonderful garden, my dad works hard to make this space wonderful, and has created a lovely corner for Arlo and his array of toys, including his mud kitchen. It’s it as a messy play station and it keeps everything under some sort of control (or at least I tell myself this). Arlo has taken to “helping” with all of the tasks around the house – including watering the plants and baking cakes. This one to one time he is getting with his grandparents is something which money can’t buy.

A lifetime of skills and knowledge is being shared and Arlo is absorbing it all. I hope that he looks back at this time and only has positive memories. One recurring issue cropping up on social media seems to be the parenting top trumps game. With so much angst with regards to the virus people seem to be putting their negative energy in to criticising others and there’s a huge amount of this directed for parents who do spend time doing craft activities and home schooling.

Unbelievable. If I didn’t have anything to do I think I would sit and watch the news all day and bite my nails down to the quick with the anxiety inducing news reports from hospital intensive care units. Instead, I browse Pinterest and rummage around in cupboards to find materials which we can use to make ‘stuff’ – I’ve even taken up crochet to keep my hands busy and learn from my mum too. I thought I’d share some of our activities from the weekend and a bit of the story behind each picture – this is my kind of perfect!

On Friday evening we toasted marshmallows together in the garden as the week drew to a close, and then when Arlo finally decided to sleep I had planned to print off and laminate dozens of Easter themed worksheets to play with over the weekend. I ended up falling asleep early and so I ended up printing a few sheets off on Saturday morning after Arlo had already been up and causing havoc around the house for an hour.

I found some tissue paper, and decided to use this and some PVA glue instead of his usual crayons to colour in the dinosaur eggs (Arlo was insistent that they were not Easter eggs). He was in a particularly obstinate mood and didn’t want to do any glueing and sticking because he was fascinated with the scissors, and so I decided to trust him a little and let him enjoy cutting the squares and I cracked on with the PVA glue. Whilst our toast was getting cold I was taking orders from a two year old with regards to which colour plastic spatula was most appropriate for me to be using.

We moved swiftly on to baking….. leaving all the craft materials on the table and moving to the kitchen work surface. I had received some products to test out from The Skinny Food Co, and so we set to work baking together and I instantly regret putting Arlo in new clothes for the day…. it’s almost impossible to try and take pictures, bake, tidy up and keep a toddler amused at the same time but somehow we pulled it off. He was covered head to toe in chocolate but it all seemed worth it for the delicious bakes which were ready just in time for our elevensies.

By noon on Saturday it was time for out daily exercise, I didn’t really want to set up another activity to have to tidy up around the house and so off out we went….. and of course Arlo decided he wanted to walk in the stream….. yes this is a lovely picture but it doesn’t tell you that it was a fun rescue mission when the water became too deep for his wellies and we didn’t quite think about how he would climb back up the bank further down…. nor how there were stinging nettles there too! It’s lucky that I still pack a rucksack with spare everything and knew vaguely what a dock leaf looks like!

The rest of Saturday came and went, we watched a Disney movie before an early night for Arlo and so I did a little bit of preparation – on Sunday morning I made sure I was up before Arlo and had an amazing Jurassic Park themed tuff tray set up in the garden. I had made slime, poured compost, gathered leaves and twigs and set up his best twenty dinosaurs perfectly. I was really excited about this but Arlo was dismayed to see all of his favourite dinosaurs covered in slime.

He was not impressed at all and so I quickly improvised and created a “dinosaur spa” using another tub and Arlo spent a good hour rescuing and washing his dinosaurs in warm water and bubbles – this wasn’t my intended activity but he was occupied and using lots of toddler energy and so this was a success in my eyes. I’m going to set up a car wash next week and he can clean his own toys in the back garden.

Grandad was pottering around in the front garden for most of Sunday morning, building a new archway and so after a quick outfit change because he was soaking wet Arlo decided that he needed to go and find out what was going on and see if he could help out – spending the next hour unorganising all of the bits and pieces of the frame and borrowing the real tools, whilst grandad tried to demonstrate how Arlo could use the toy ones.

After this it seemed like a really good idea to go back to playing with water. So buckets were filled with soapy water, sponges and a chamois leather were found, and within five minutes Arlo was soaked from head to toe and decided that actually he wanted to go and ride his bike in the park.

It’s lucky we aren’t going to be driving anywhere because the poor car windscreen didn’t even get a rinse! After a quick whizz around the park on his bike Arlo finally graced us all with the pleasure of an afternoon snooze. With the sun still shining, by the time we all woke up an both later grandad had set up a production line for planting seeds in the garden.

Arlo has an awesome little Gardening set and so many fabulous seeds to choose from….. But his attention drifted to the more important task of drawing on the seed tray markers. So whilst all three adults were busy getting their hands dirty with compost, Arlo was enjoying having free reign with a sharpie.

Not one single activity went the way I planned for it to go over the weekend, but that’s the whole point of me writing all about it in this blog. Nothing ever does go to plan, life is about adapting to whatever curve balls come your way, and to let the children take the lead. Playing is so important, it’s not just about having fun but about learning to develop life skills, being creative, using your imagination and forming your own opinions too.

There’s a lot more to life than the one or two pictures you might see on Instagram. Just like there’s a lot more to each sensationalised headline being shared in the media about this virus.

This Friday please join me in lighting a candle at home to pause for a much needed moment of quiet reflection. 5373 people who have had the virus have sadly died. These numbers are set to increase further risk week.

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