Or What it really looks like
Here in lockdown we have – we have to have – a routine. We have worked out in the last seven and a half weeks that no routine leads to chaos and chaos leads to shouting and shouting leads to consequences that none of us will enjoy. So we have a routine. Every day, weekends included.
The routine was widely circulated online when lockdowns started worldwide.
However we have no printer, and we’ve also got increasingly poor at getting up in the mornings. Plus the original routine clearly assumes that your children will either a) do all this with absolutely no adult input or supervision or b) do not require food or clean clothes.
But of course our days don’t really look much like that at all. In fact – with occasional additions of door sanding, supermarket shopping, cleaning and gardening – they’re rather more like this:
Sometime after 8.30:
Despite doing very little, we are sleeping longer and later. Maybe it’s a subconscious (unconscious) way of passing the days. The children are even worse…
9ish: Time to live up to the 1950s expectations of the Royal Canadian Air Force and do our daily 12 minutes of 5BX or XBX exercises. In fact Ben and I do them twice – once first thing and once with the children later.
9.23: Amend the attestation
9.24 Off to the boulangerie. Only one of us. The other gets the fun of
shouting at gently encouraging the children downstairs and laying the table.
9.26 Boulangerie trip. Shopping could be worse. Plus this is the only time in the day we speak to anyone else.
9.30 Home with the spoils
9.32. Hand wash. Obviously. Having been outside. Even if the only thing I’ve touched is the bread bag and my own bank card.
9.33 (the timetable is slipping already). Breakfast.
9.55 *voice of doom* WASHING UP.
The dishwasher broke about three days after we arrived here. Dishwasher repairs are not an essential service (though the cheese shop is). A scrupulously fair rota has been discussed and drawn up. I love it (at home guess who does all the washing up?). Some other members of the family are less enthusiastic.
10.05: Socks on. Teeth brushed. Wash your hands again.
10.09: Change the attestation. Off for a walk this time:
10.15 Quick tadpole check.
10.17 (ahead of schedule now – that’s because we didn’t stop to make pizza dough, or do laundry, or engage with the bickering). Walk. It is odd how whatever mood everyone is in when we leave the house, (and after the washing up some of us are often not at our sunniest) we are always in better fettle when we come back. So, whatever the weather, off we head on one of our walks – all within our permitted one hour, one kilometre radius.
11.16: Wash hands in case the virus has been lurking up a forest path.
11.17: Academics (no screens). Ben used to be a teacher and we both have several degrees. But none of that means we’re any good at educating our children. We attempt maths (lots of maths as it turns out our children don’t know half as much maths as their reports would have had us believe), music, writing – all sorts: we love a haiku and this was a great way of getting Lucy’s thank-you-letters done – problem solving (how to get the children to do their work) and quite a lot of pacifying and cat herding.
12 ish (depending entirely on how quick and conflict-free academic time has been): Creative time.
1pm: Lunch. Hopefully outside.
1.45: More washing up. Oh good.
1.55: Thank heavens for “Quiet Time”; it’s honestly everyone’s favourite part of the day. The large amount we’ve now spent on Stephen Fry reading Harry Potter was entirely worth it.
3.06. Or 3.08 or 3.14 or really we should go and get them now shouldn’t we? More antiquated Canadian exercises. For the whole family this time. They love it.
Marshmallows are awarded for a) effort (ie actually doing something) and b) chat (ie not spending the whole time complaining about how someone else isn’t trying hard enough while simultaneously doing nothing yourself (see a)).
The mindfulness I briefly tried to introduce afterwards has been abandoned having met with too much resistance. I still think it would be an excellent thing for all of us so if anyone has any good tips on how to make cynical children enthusiastic about lying still and breathing please do let me know.
3.30: “Screen academics”. The original routine says something like “more academic time, you can use your screens if you like“, but funnily enough our kids choose screens. Every time.
We are in theory each still trying to learn a language on Duolingo (although my enthusiasm for Mandarin Chinese has waned slightly) and so the children do some French (despite their opportunities to practice being limited by not being allowed to talk to anyone else). There are various maths and English programmes they spend time on too. Magnus and Lucy are also adamant that Minecraft is educational. We are not entirely convinced.
4.15: More exercise. Normally our home made circuits.
If it’s very wet or there are vaguely physical chores to be done these are occasionally overlooked. We even did Joe Wicks once. Never again.
4.45 or as soon as possible: Free screen time. Cooking (with a different helper each day). Laundry. Instagram. Everyone in their own little corner doing their own thing. Silence reigns. Unless we can agree on a soundtrack.
6ish: Supper. Often with cheese.
7 or so: Washing up, washing selves, family games, or perhaps a film, moods (normally Ben’s and mine) depending…
By 9: Go away the lot of you! And breathe…
With no television, it’s time for some sophisticated adult entertainment.
The chocolate might make an appearance now too. It helps you sleep. Or something.
And so to bed. Tomorrow will be much the same.