COVID-19 Diary – 18th March

I turned 40 a couple of weeks ago, and started writing a blog about how that felt. However, I was rapidly overtaken by events and it suddenly seemed like turning 40 was the least important thing in the world. In short, any plans I had went by the wayside due to, first, my own (non COVID-19) illness and then the global pandemic.

So instead of writing about turning 40, I decided to write a daily COVID-19 diary. I don’t expect it to be especially interesting to anyone else, but would like to be able to look back on these strange times and remember those little thoughts and details that otherwise get lost.

18/3/20

I work a condensed 4 day week, and Wednesday is my usual non-working day, looking after my 2 year old son, so this could have been like any normal day for me. Except that my wife was working away upstairs, having already started working from home due to being asthmatic, and therefore higher-risk. Except that the playgroup I normally take my son to was cancelled, like almost everything else. Except for the unsurprising 5 o’clock announcement that all schools and nurseries would be closed until further notice.

We spoke to our 5 year old daughter, who is in Year 1, after dinner. We’ve been talking to her about the pandemic, and answering her questions as honestly as we can (without going out of our way to bring up elements that might scare her). She seemed relatively unphased by the idea of school closing, and our son is too young to really understand that he won’t be going to nursery for a while. Time will tell how they will cope with the reality of being home every day, all of their extra-curricular activities being cancelled, most of the places we would normally take them after school being closed, and hardly, if at all, seeing their friends and family.

After the kids had gone to bed we had to put together an emergency childcare plan for the coming weeks. We’re both very lucky to be able to do the vast majority of our work from home, and our employer, a university, is closing the campus to non-essential staff from the end of this week in any case. We’re going to be trialling a system where I look after the kids in the morning while my wife works, and vice-versa in the afternoon and early evening. We shall see how it goes. I don’t deal to well with uncertainty in the best of times, so having a routine of sorts will hopefully help, although the major uncertainty of how long this will all go on for, and what the impacts will ultimately be, still gnaws at my stomach.

Will write again tomorrow, and for however long it takes for some semblance of normality to return.

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