The Coronavirus pandemic has left the majority of the world facing some form of lockdown.
A set or rules that infringes on the freedom that we have all come to take for granted – and rightly so.
Billions of people who are now forced to stay indoors as recreational services and facilities close their doors, batten down the hatches and wait for an end to this disease.
Families who normally passed each other like ships in the night are now in each others pockets. Memories will be made as we all seek new forms of entertainment to see out the hours and days spent inside our four walls.
And those with young kids have the challenge of keeping themselves sane – and their little ones from climbing the walls in frustration.
Speaking to others who have wee ones, it is clear that we aren’t the only ones who are willing for these weeks to end so we can get our kids out and about again.
Our kids are feeling the pinch too.
Normally around this time, my wife would be looking at various festive grotto’s to visit, so my kids can attend, we can get a twee photo of Father Christmas attempting to cheer up my offspring – who are in bawls of tears.
With my oldest’s birthday impending, we would also normally be looking at ways to celebrate another year of his life.
Now, my wife frantically trawls the internet for new ways of doing so, but within the confines of our home.
It isn’t just special occasions that have led to us all looking at alternative methods of entertainment.
Every day is half-filled with routines of sorts. The bath routine, the meal routines,the bedtime routine. Each one designed toward efficiency and for the benefit of our children – although how often these routines descend into anarchy is both hilarious and perhaps a signal that we need to switch things up a little.
The other half of the day though, is for play and stimulation of their brains.
Our kids are very lucky that they have a house full of toys and activities that most would envy – but a certain time indoors without a bit of fresh air does leave them going a bit stir-crazy.
I decided yesterday that I would take the oldest out for a walk. It had rained for 48 hours prior to the day, but the sun was shining – a little – and despite the wind blowing waves upon waves of dead leaves around, I thought it would be good to get him out so he can expend his boundless energy.
My oldest loves a walk and once we had clad him in his big coat, we embarked upon our journey.
There were plenty of puddles on our walk – something that all kids love. The problem is, he had grown out of his last pair and lockdown had left us unable to get a new pair.
But I couldn’t stop him running and jumping in every puddle – I would have needed a leash for that. So eventually he leaped into a puddle and despite my best attempts, both he and I were soaked.
But his unbridled laughter was so welcome, so uplifting, that I thought “why not let him have a few more? He’s already soaked and this is probably the equivalent of a drink after a hard day’s graft for a little one. Let him have his puddles.”
So I did, and every one he splashed in evoked the same joyous reaction from him – which no matter how hard you try, you end up matching.
I of course selected the shallower of the puddles for him to erupt into, as some of them were so deep that he would have needed armbands.
But two thirds into our walk and he was squelching underfoot with every step and I had a lovely pattern on my trousers that resembled a Jackson Pollock painting.
Then, the rain came.
And it didn’t drizzle. The heavens opened.
So, we began to run but there was no urgency in my little one’s steps so we were making no progress. And because of my Scottish nature, I had left the house in just a t-shirt.
No one needs to see me in a wet t-shirt competition. Not after last time…
So, I grabbed him, put him under my arm and ran like he was an oversized rugby ball.
We got about five minutes away from home and the rain stopped, thankfully. A kid’s weight is very deceptive. They may be light to pick up, but wield that weight for a few minutes and it is more effective a workout than half an hour with Rosemary Conley and Mr Motivator giving you shuttle runs.
We got home, I took his trousers, socks and trainers off and he immediately went back to playing with his toys, but he was a little more tranquil than before.
Sometimes, you need to let your kids splash in the puddles, despite the drawbacks.