Tuesday 22 June 2021

Isolation Really Isn't The One...

Holy mother of hell - isolating with this Whirlwind of mine has to be the hardest thing I've ever had to do.

But before I get into it, please don't read this and think I'm irresponsible or that I don't understand how important the rules are - I really do - I wear the face masks, I stay away from literally everyone - even now when things have relaxed a little bit - and I was there, getting both of my vaccinations as soon as I could - I totally get it. 

But wow - does anyone "in power" really understand the importance to some people of having access to all of the things we have stripped away during isolation or lockdown and how harmful it can be to simply whip these things away with no other support network to rely on?

Willow is a girl who needs her routine - she likes to know what the day will hold before it has arrived, she likes to know what to expect and what she is doing.

I'm not saying she can't cope with changes - I think she can - however these changes have to be explained to her a few times, in advance, and then she will throw out a barrage of questions - it's often the same question she will ask over and over again relating to the change that is happening, until she is satisfied and the answer she needs is cemented and "placed" how she needs it to be placed in her mind.

All great then, we just help her with the questions, give a lot of reassurances and she's good to go...

Erm, yeah, well then Lockdown Number One hit us didn't it, and well, maybe I was a tad naive in my thinking on this...

Willow was in nursery at the time and she spent her days with her beloved nursery ladies, with her little group of friends, she knew her day, knew what to expect, she hated weekends when her routine changed...and then it was all totally stripped away from her.

And it was bloody awful - she really didn't cope well at all, even with all of the things I put in place for her.

I made each day as activity packed as I possibly could - I used a lot of ideas from her nursery in an attempt to keep things as similar as possible - I even made a name star for her so she could put her name under her picture every morning like she had at nursery...

Visual timetables, structured activities, I even hit up all of my old childminding knowledge and planned out learning activities properly...

And for a while things were OK, but come on, it was never going to last was it - it just wasn't her routine, it wasn't what she loved and it certainly wasn't what she needed.

Willow's violence really began to escalate during that period and it's no wonder really - her super-busy mind just wasn't being stimulated enough and she was simply fed up.

Luckily for me the ladies at nursery were so amazing - they started video calling Willow twice a day - first in a morning to kind of remind Willow that they were still there, that they still cared and to set her a learning activity for the day, and then on an evening to see how her day had been and to see the results from her activity, and oh-my-god did it help.

(But, as I always say to everyone, we were very spoilt with our nursery and their level of amazingness.)

We fell into our own little routine and were often walking around the playground-closed parks at 8am in a morning just to get her out of the house and to keep her busy.

But lockdown is always going to be different to isolation isn't it and Willow has had to isolate twice now due to someone in her school bubble testing positive - with zero symptoms herself and two negative (a fate worse that death to do) tests might I add.

I'm all for the rules and I stuck to everything I had to, but wow, it was so hard.

   It affected Willow so much - this little wild, free spirited busy bee - who is at her happiest being outside - now couldn't visit her beloved parks or walk the streets after tea seeing what she could see.  I wasn't allowed to claw back some sanity during the day when things got tough by getting us out of the house into the fresh air.

It was hard.

There was no amount of work I could print out, or books I could buy to keep her engaged enough to stop the meltdowns or the violence and it made me dread waking up to it sometimes.

I mean school holiday's and weekends are hard enough, but at least there are places to visit to ease some of Willow's boredom.

And - this is no doubt where I get into trouble - I may have allowed her out of the house.

I know, I know but seriously when you're stuck in a tiny house with zero sleep, with a whole lot of anger and violence from someone who doesn't really understand what's going on...well, it's tough stuff sometimes and you consider anything to help make everyone's day a little brighter and a little more tolerable.

And then there is this little five year old to think about - she has actually began obsessively and repeatedly asking her "anxious" questions over and over again recently (after stopping for ages)...

~ "Is our car still there?"

~ "Is there someone in our car?"

~ "Is my nose bleeding?"

...these questions may seem like nothing to most but if you know, you know - during times where something has really bothered Willow, when there is a huge change or something she really can't understand these questions are something she zones in on and fixates over and she will ask each question over and over.

Isolation set them off again so I just knew her little head wasn't OK with everything at all.

But when I say "I may have taken her out" I don't mean "Ooooh we should really nip to Primark at the busiest time on a Saturday afternoon", no, I mean at 5.30am I may take her over the road to a deserted cul-de-sac and let her make snow angels in the snow; I may take her to an empty park (the one over the road from us) at 6am and let her kick a ball around; I might take her to the woods at lunchtime on a work and school day when there would be no-one around to do a nature hunt and then maybe put her in the car in her PJs at 5am when she is mid-massive-meltdown and let her belt out Disney songs whilst I drive her around the dark, deserted streets until she feels better...

We would literally see no-one at all...surely that's OK right...

But I honestly don't think there is anyone in this world who could convince me that these things are wrong when there is an anxiety-ridden little girl's mental health and well-being at stake...and mine too for that matter....

And so, if I have offended anybody then I'm really sorry but before you judge me talking about the possibility of these teeny bends in the rules, come take a walk in our lockdown shoes for a day or two - you witness the confusion and heartache that I have to and then you tell me how you feel...

It's simply all about survival...


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