I got 99 problems, but mould ain’t one…

I got 99 problems, but mould ain’t one…

It’s been a while, so I thought I’d write you all a little catch-up on what’s been going on chez O’Brien-Day.

Nick bought donut pops last night on his emergency wine run to Co-op (yes, I am aware that it doesn’t really count as essential shopping, but he was getting the boy outside for some fresh air at the same time, and copywriting deadlines and a non-napping baby meant wine was definitely necessary). They are ridiculous. I have eaten them all, which doesn’t really fit with my Noom food plan.

We’re 2 weeks into home-schooling (I think, time has lost all meaning), and Ethan seems to be coping with it a lot better this time around (although there were tears this morning when he got 3 maths questions wrong, every 8 year old has a bad day). He is more confident in asking for clarification from his teachers, much more independent in tasks (which means I’m not parked permanently next to his desk), and to be honest his teachers seem to have gotten into the groove a little bit more as well.

There are still the little hiccups that come from having to balance a day’s worth of live lessons with a toddling sister who just wants to be involved with whatever is happening on that screen. At the moment, to the extent that we have any routine, Erica’s afternoon nap coincides with Ethan’s lunchtime, so we can’t go outside as she refuses to sleep in her buggy. Nick has decided that he and Ethan will “walk to school” every morning to start off the day with some fresh air, so they head on out around 7am for a speedy walk around town, coming back red-cheeked and hungry, ready to hunker down in front of Miss Byrne and the rest of 4B. We’re having 15 minute speed scooter sessions out the front of the house at break, and Ethan and I take Erica out for a tour around the Marsh after last lesson. It’ll have to do, and we try to make up for it with an epic walk at the weekend with our lovely support bubble peeps. With nerf gun enticement you can usually get them to walk 4 miles (parenting is around 65% bribery in my extensive experience)!

As if the baby, home-schooling, housework, washing, cooking meals for constantly hungry people, and trying to claw back some semblance of mental health through exercise wasn’t enough, I’ve been ramping things up with the freelance copywriting too. Let’s not be coy – I needed to go back to bringing in some money. However, the original plan was that lovely Auntie Heather would come and hang out with Erica for a few afternoons a week so that I could concentrate on a piece of work for more than 5 minutes in a row. Then lockdown happened, and our options narrowed to…well…none.  This coincided with me suddenly winning a fair few jobs that I now have to fit in around fixing audio problems on the Chromebook during French lessons, removing the piece of pasta that Erica has found under the fridge and is currently on it’s way to her mouth, making sure everyone is fed and isn’t wearing the same pair of shorts for the 5th day in a row, paying my husband a little attention, and sleeping.

I’m obviously very grateful to have work that I can do from home. This was the goal, and I know mum’s who have had to send their children to nursery, or who have been furloughed because of their childcare responsibilities. I am beginning to fray around the edges though, hence the need for an emergency wine run, and probably the mainlining of donut balls. I have also considerably widened my writing repertoire: last night I wrote an article for a fashion wholesaler about how to start an online clothing business, and the day before I was collating a list of 40 Easter decorations you can make with your kids. Life is a weird thing.

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I have also recently (re)discovered that I am a terrible person. Every time someone messages me to check in, or ask me how things are going my heart sinks. Not because I don’t appreciate the lovely people in my life who care about me, but because I am so stressed right now with a million things going through my head, that taking 2 minutes to try and craft a positive and reasoned response that won’t send them running to social services feels like the straw that that bloody camel just couldn’t carry. I’m obviously very ungrateful, I know this. If I didn’t feel like it was terribly self-indulgent and attention-seeking (says the woman with the public online blog…) then I’d put up a Facebook status at the end of each day so that people could collectively find out that we were all still alive, no-one had glue gunned their hand to the table during DT, and we had managed to get outside for approximately 3.5 seconds in-between online school lessons and family Zoom catch-ups. Thinking about it, that idea may have merit…

In other news, this week’s house purchase from Facebook marketplace (within Covid restrictions, obvs) was a dehumidifier. Even with windows open and radiators on for an hour daily this mid terraced house struggles with condensation. The ridiculous amount of washing we have to dry through the winter probably doesn’t help, or the fact that we have, you know, 4 people wandering around breathing all day. But the new machine (hello increased electricity bill), combined with us finally getting around to bleeding the radiators only to discover everything above ground floor level was 95% air (just award me my house maintenance badge immediately), has definitely helped the situation. Now we can stop worrying that everything we’re storing in the loft is going to be completely ruined. It’s the little things…

Courtesy of Chris Riddell

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