As Ophelia’s temperature spiked for the second time in just over a week, we went into 14 days self-isolation a week before the order came for everyone to stay at home. Andrew and I have also had really bad colds recently too which have left us wondering if we’ve been in contact with it or, as Andrew is convinced, that we’ve had it (he’s a hypochondriac!) We’re coming to the end of this now and we’re strictly abiding by the rules that are currently in place. I’m dreading going for the food shop in a couple of days because well, you know, pandemic.
I’ve written before about the agoraphobia I experienced when we lost Alexandra, so I think I’m pretty practised at not leaving the house and carefully planning routes when I do. The difference now is that instead of it just being our world that stopped; everyone else is now on pause too.
I’ve read somewhere that collectively we are having similar reactions as when we experience grief. There’s probably something in that as I know I’m experiencing some extremely triggering feelings both physical and emotional. The healthy eating is almost completely out the window again, I’m feeling exhausted despite good amounts of sleep, smiles feel forced in photos.
Once you’ve said goodbye to one child you are terrified of having to say goodbye again. In normal life I think do a pretty good job of squashing those feelings and trying to not let those thoughts ruin or restrict our way of life. However, this time is different.
Andrew is obsessed with data and stats and is giving a running commentary and I know logically, hopefully, touch wood, we’ll be OK. But we beat the stats once didn’t we? Despite a low risk pregnancy we were on the wrong side of the stats. Behind every number there’s a devastated family and this is no different in a pandemic. I can only empathise with those going through something similar at the moment where their choices for memory making, access to support from organisations and families and being able to hold the funeral service that want is severely restricted.
We’re both working from home and it’s proving challenging to say the least. My usual Mum guilt is going off the scale. I like routine but it’s not something that I’m trying to implement in lock down. As Ophelia’s only 3 I’m not going start any formal learning any time soon. In this arena I go to my Mum for advice (retired English and Pupil Referral Unit teacher) and she’s reassured me that it’s fine to go with what Ophelia’s physically able to do. Forcing her to start too early would probably backfire on us anyway. Once Ophelia starts school, she’ll have almost 14 years of institutionalisation anyway and I’ll be dammed if I’m going to give her any more.
On the flip-side I don’t want her to spend the entirety of lock down in front of the TV. She’s definitely taking after me with her love of telly. I’ve tried to use this to my advantage and Ophelia now loves watching Maid Marian and her Merry Men and mimes along to the theme tune complete with dramatic interpretive dance. She also informs me that “this was your favourite Mummy, when you were a little girl”. Strong female lead character… that’s what I’m going with.
She also loves her books. She cuddles these more in bed than cuddly toys and is often found passed out with a book completely across her face when we check on her. So, with most things to with Mum guilt, O will show me that I don’t need to worry so much, but it doesn’t mean I’ll stop! Baking, building marble towers, brio trains, making stories with the cuddly toys plus TV and books on repeat is what we’re going to be doing for the foreseeable.
But I’ll still keep asking Ophelia if she wants to make pink home-made play-dough with me (like Mum did with me) until she says yes.