The Lockdown Diaries | Week 16
Just in case you’re wondering how my week’s been going, allow me to introduce you to Boo Boo the Poo Poo:
Yes, I know what it looks like. It’s actually a rubber poop, though: a rubber poop which Terry bought a few weeks ago, back when we were having to stage elaborate soft-toy scenarios in the bathroom every night in order to persuade Max to come upstairs and have a bath.
Every night, Terry would sneak upstairs and arrange a selection of Max’s ‘Guys’ around the room. Sometimes they’d be climbing out of the window, other times they’d be swinging from the light fitting, or trying to get into the bath. Whatever they were doing, Max would find it absolutely hilarious: all we had to do was utter the words, “What’s that noise I hear coming from the bathroom?” and he’d be upstairs in a flash, shrieking with laughter at whatever mischief his “guys” had got up to this time.
Well, it was only a matter of time, really, before Terry hit on a brilliant idea: what if Max were to come upstairs one night and find a POOP in the bathroom?
So, one day, Boo Boo here arrived, and Max was predictably thrilled by him.
A little bit TOO thrilled, in fact.
Since that day, Boo Boo and Max have been inseparable. They bathe together. They eat together. They would even sleep together, if I didn’t take Boo Boo away every night, just in case Max decides to try to eat him or something.
Some children have a teddy bear or a comfort blanket.
Mine has a rubber poop with eyes.
Why is this the kind of thing that happens to me? WHY?
Some things I have found myself doing this week:
* Tucking Boo Boo the Poo Poo up in a blanket.
* Giving Boo Boo the Poo Poo a nice big cuddle, because he was sad.
* Reading Max a story… in the voice of Boo Boo the Poo Poo, and while holding him in one hand, so it looked like he was the one reading the book.
* Having lengthy conversations with Boo Boo, in which I provide both my voice and his.
Do you ever have a moment when you’re doing something parenting-related, and you suddenly stop and think, “WAIT, WTAF? AM I SERIOUSLY CUDDLING A RUBBER POOP RIGHT NOW?” And yes, you ARE. You ARE cuddling a rubber poop. This is your life now. And, actually, the fact that this is my life now really has nothing to do with lockdown, to be fair: unless you count the fact that, if we weren’t currently still locked down, I might be having a little more success in my mission to distract Max from games involving rubber poops. It does, however, have a lot to do with the fact that I’ll probably be bringing this series to and end soon: because, as much as I’ve enjoyed the excuse to write some diary-style posts again, and to document this strange time in our lives, the fact is, that’s all I’ve got, folks. A photo of a rubber poop. With eyes.
Lockdown may be all but over (Both non-essential shops and hair salons open this month, and people are even starting to talk about booking holidays again: there are obviously still some restrictions in place, but, for most people, I think it feels pretty much over…), but our household is still shielding, and while we now have a lot more freedom than we had back at the start of this lockdown, that freedom is still totally dependent on the weather. When it’s dry, we can go out for walks and meet up with people in their gardens – while being careful to stay at least 2 metres away from them at all times, obviously. When it rains, on the other hand … we wrap Boo Boo the Poo Poo up in blankets, and we do that for 12 hours straight, basically.
This week, it’s rained almost non-stop, with just one dry day, which just so happened to coincide with the biggest event of the week: Terry having blood taken as part of his regular kidney transplant screening:
This was actually something I’d been worrying about ever since lockdown started. Terry has blood tests every few months, just to make sure his transplanted kidney is still functioning as it should be. He obviously can’t just skip these appointments without risking the health of his kidney, but, of course, heading into hospital in the middle of a pandemic wouldn’t exactly be low-risk for him either, so I was pretty worried about what would happen when his next appointment rolled around, and he had to choose between either putting himself at risk of catching the virus, or putting himself at risk by not having an essential blood test.
As it turned out, though, he didn’t have to go anywhere near a hospital: actually, his blood was taken in the back of a white transit van, parked in a supermarket car park, by a nurse wearing full PPE, who carefully sanitised all of the surfaces before and after each patient. So, yet another thing to file under, Things We Really Didn’t Expect to Happen This Year, then… Bizarre as it sounds, though, it actually seemed much safer than going to the hospital: Terry wore a face mask, and used tons of hand sanitiser (Which actually wasn’t really necessary, because he was careful not to touch anything, but still…), but, even though this was the first physical contact he’d had with anyone other than Max and me for almost four months now, the truth is that neither of us was hugely worried about it. I was worried about the results of the test, because I always am (They were absolutely fine, thankfully…), but community transmission of Covid-19 has remained very low here in Scotland, with only a few new cases per day, and very few fatalities, so, in the end, the thing I’d spent so much time worrying about, turned out to be no big deal, really. Which is a bit of a recurring theme in my life, now I come to think of it. There’s a lesson in there somewhere, folks, and one day I fully intend to find out what it is…
In terms of the other changes this week, I have to admit that I’ve lost track a bit: the way that each country in the UK has its own set of “rules”, along with the fact that none of them are hugely relevant to people who are shielding anyway, has made it all a bit confusing, really, but, from what I can gather, here in Scotland…
01. Non-essential shops are now allowed to open, as long as they have an outdoor entrance – i.e. shops inside malls still have to remain closed for now.
02. Playgrounds are open again!
03. We can now travel more than 5 miles from home, for recreational purposes.
04. Children under 12 no longer have to practice social distancing outdoors: so Max can hug my parents as much as he likes in their garden, but still can’t go inside their house, because I guess that makes sense, somehow?
05. As of today, pubs and restaurants can open up their outdoor seating areas to customers, who will be able to sit outside in the torrential Scottish rain and enjoy a nice meal. Tempting.
Of these, only numbers two and three make any difference to us: the shielded still aren’t advised to go to shops or restaurants (And, even if they were, we wouldn’t be comfortable doing that yet…), and although Max has been enthusiastically hugging his grandparents, we’re still reluctant to allow close contact with anyone else right now. Being able to drive more than 5 miles, however, will make a big difference to us, and we’ve already had a couple of trips to the playpark at the bottom of our street with Max, who had the most fun he’s had in, oooh, about four months, funnily enough.
( I was actually quite worried about this, but it’s a tiny park, which is hardly ever used, and, sure enough, each time we’ve been this week, we’ve been the only people in it. I go loaded up with hand gel and antibacterial wipes, but it feels pretty safe there, even to me, and I guess the near-constant downpours we’ve been subjected to this week will at least help wash any bacteria off the equipment…)
(This is not the playpark, needless to say: this a very big hill we climbed, on that one dry day this week…)
Other than that, though, there’s really not much to report. We’re gradually regaining a bit more freedom, but we still can’t go anywhere that isn’t outdoors and socially distanced. We can’t do anything other than go for walks or, if we’re very lucky, sit in people’s gardens at a two metre distance from them. And, I mean, it’s fine. We’re fine. We’re just… not very happy, is all. There’s nothing to look forward to, and nothing much to talk about. Our life isn’t terrible, but it IS very small right now, and very, very boring. After 16 weeks, we’ve reached the point I’ve been dreading ever since Terry got his shielding letter back in March: the point where the rest of the world – or the country, at least – starts to go back to normal, but we’re still (mostly) stuck at home, telling stories to rubber poops, and worrying about how we’ll cope when the clocks change, and winter starts drawing in again. Shielding has certainly protected us, which we’re obviously very grateful about, but it’s also left us feeling a bit like outsiders throughout all of this: both during lockdown itself, when we weren’t able to do anything at all, really, and even more so now that lockdown is (unofficially) over.
This week, however, brought more good news on that front, too. As of today, Scotland has gone 48 hours without any Covid-19 deaths for the first time since March, and there were only 4 confirmed new cases in the last 24 hours. As I said last week, I’m still really aware that all of this could change, especially as restrictions continue to be lifted, but, for now at least, there’s a lot to feel positive about, so I guess we just need to cling to that, and hope that, by the time winter does roll around, things will look very different. For now though, Terry’s been advised to continue shielding until the end of this month, so I’ll continue my diary until then too, and then see where we’re at: I mean, having just introduced such compelling characters as Same Guy and Boo Boo the Poo Poo, I couldn’t possibly leave you all wondering what happens to them, could I?