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COOPED UP WITH THE KIDS: As the shock wears off and we realise everyone is in the same boat

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It is Easter – isn’t it? For the first time since the babies arrived, the spring clock-change hasn’t had that big an effect on our household.

This is largely because none of us really has a clue what day or time it is anymore. I mean, everyone else is still in their jammies…aren’t they?

It’s also the school holidays. But in the eyes of our young brood, we’ve already been on holiday for quite a few weeks. All they want to know is when we can go out for ice cream or pizza; to see the grandparents; go swimming; go to the park or beach; play with their chums. Because that’s what you normally do when there’s no school or nursery. It’s not easy trying to explain why we can’t do these things or see some of their favourite people face-to-face, but they know we are helping by staying at home.

The school break is giving Daddy and me a holiday of sorts, though, from homeschooling. It has been bit of a whirlwind since our little ones bade farewell to their school and nursery teachers. Suddenly the small amount of time I had in between achieving all the usual weekly tasks has been taken up with trying to do – or find – some remotely educational activities for our eldest and our threenager. The baby is happy enough putting Paw Patrol figures in the oven of the toy kitchen and slamming the door, for now. Fair play.

It’s Easter. Photo by Ania Tuzel.

It is starting to get easier, though, as the shock begins to wear off and we realise everyone is in the same boat. The teachers have been working hard to suggest fun and interesting things to do with our wee ones and the online learning platforms mean we can share what we’ve been up to and have a dialogue with staff. All change since I was in primary school.

I did shed a silent tear or two seeing all the kids heading off in their uniforms on their final day, not truly realising the magnitude of what was going on in the world. But, if I am learning anything about parenting small folk during the pandemic, it’s about trying to protect them from the harrowing reality and make them feel as secure as possible during these strange times. I’m not sure how much they will remember, but I hope it won’t be a sad memory.

Speaking of reflection and recollection, it’s possibly safe to say my Easter weekend is destined to be nothing like last year’s. Saturday April 20 2019 was the warmest day of the year. So, it wasn’t completely unreasonable our boiler chose that particular moment to break. No hot water, but at least the house wasn’t too cold. After we made our peace with the fact we would be boiling the kettle non-stop for at least 48 hours, we headed to our local country park to enjoy the sun.

It was bustling with families, kids squirming all over the play equipment like aphids on roses. I was watching my two playing from afar while granny wheeled baby around. But I wasn’t looking down, which is why I tripped in spectacular fashion and skidded my knees and palms through a whole lot of lovely gravel. I may have uttered a few bad words as I dizzily picked myself up and went limping off to lick my wounds.

Still in pain later, I sheepishly troubled an NHS 111 call handler for advice regarding my tale of woe and ended up waiting in A&E so a doctor could clean my abrasions thoroughly. My middle one later told me: “I like you, Mamma – but I don’t like your sore knee.” Agreed, pal.

We’ve always been big rainbow fans in our house so are delighted to have an excuse to plaster them on our windows to help raise some cheer (although there was a small tantrum when our threenager misunderstood and demanded they should be “on the walls – INSIDE!”)

The artist David Hockney recently shared an image of daffodils, entitled Do Remember They Can’t Cancel The Spring. And my goodness, isn’t he correct? Merry Easter one and all! See, I’m not confused at all …

Spring has arrived in the garden.

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