We are heading into week six of isolation and I’m not going to lie, it’s been a challenge. I’m grateful we are all safe and that Australia has done a wonderful job, so far, of keeping the infection rate quite low. BJ is the one struggling in our family. I think Hubby, AJ and I would be fine working on projects around the house and taking a daily walk in the local area but BJ is up the wall and down the other side with his life being turned upside down. We’ve had to become quite creative with feeding his social needs. I’m sure we’re not the only ones with a restless family member who finds the current restrictions difficult.
We’ve been staying at home as much as possible, but we’ve had to continue to take BJ out for a drive each day. There’s always a purpose for the outing like dropping off a care package to a friend or relative, picking up a care package or a contact-less delivery of Travel Without Limits magazine. These outings provide me with sanity and relieves the household pressure. We carry a letter from our doctor in case we are stopped and questioned by police. BJ doesn’t get out of the car and we have no contact with anyone on these outings.
AT HOME ACTIVITIES
We’ve continued to find new activities to do each day at home. Thankfully, AJ is always happy to help and be involved which makes it even better for BJ.
Since the last isolation diary, we’ve cooked cupcakes and brownies. BJ particularly enjoyed the cupcake decorating kit a friend dropped at our doorstep. It was easy to do and a lovely activity which also resulted in a tasty afternoon tea for all.
AJ was keen to give hydro dipping a go and with extra time on our hands we spent the afternoon trying it.
BJ was fascinated by the process of spraying paint on the water’s surface and then dipping items into the water.
We are short on supplies, but we’ll be giving this another go when we can get our hands on the things we need.
Outdoor movies are a hit with the whole family. The night sky has never been clearer and lying on a blanket under a doona (duvet) watching a movie is a great way to appreciate the starry sky. We use an old projector screen and a laptop to screen our films.
The kids chose a retro design from their youth to print on special paper which they put on t-shirts.
Matching Bob the Builder t-shirts had the kids happy. AJ used to wear BJ’s Bob t-shirts when he had outgrown them and she was little. She still steals his clothes – proof in the photo above, though her hair is covering it.
I had a couple of polymer photo puzzles made up for BJ. He was never keen on puzzles when he was younger but I thought with the extra time on our hands we might try them again.
The durability of the puzzles is good, but I have to say they are still not easy for BJ to do. I think it’s always worth revisiting activities and he certainly loved helping with the puzzles.
We did a drive-by delivery to our friend’s house which proved lots of contact-less fun. On arrival we found cupcakes and a cup of tea waiting outside for us to take back to the car. Before anyone came out we hid Easter eggs for their kids in their letterbox and then put inflated balloons with clues inside around their front yard. The kids needed to pop the balloons to get clues as to what we’d hidden. When we had everything sorted, we phoned from the car to say they could come out. We then watched all the fun from the safety of our car. BJ loved watching the balloon popping, but I must say he is a master at popping balloons and would have made short work of the game if he could have been involved. The kids then chatted and entertained us with bubbles, kite flying and a tennis game. This was a highlight of the week and seeing the joy it brought BJ has meant we’ve organised more driveway visits to local friends.
After our first successful visit to our friends above we decided to visit again, this time with the promise of a car wash. We stayed in the car and the kids washed it.
We could talk through the glass while staying safe. Before we arrived at their house we stopped a few houses away and wrote messages for the kids in liquid chalk.
They thought it was hilarious. As they washed the car we critiqued their washing and wrote messages of encouragement on large scrapbook paper. When they’d finished we had little lolly bags for each one which we left on the fence for them. This gave both families some much needed isolation laughs and safe contact. Isolation is definitely making everyone more inventive with fulfilling social needs.
Hubby took a carer’s day one week and stayed home to help and give me a chance to get some work done on the magazine. It was much appreciated and broke up the week for us all. BJ loves nothing more than having the whole family together so that was his happiest day of the week.
If you’re at home solo parenting while a partner works, I highly recommend seeing if they can take a carer’s day to give you a break if you’re starting to burn out. This seems like it’s going to be a marathon rather than a sprint and we all need to take care of ourselves as well as our loved ones.
While I don’t have much free time I’ve tried to ensure the activities we do appeal to AJ as much as BJ.
We’ve made sure we have time to do puzzles with her in the evenings (we are on our third Disney puzzle but the Aladdin one remains my favourite), we watch shows she likes and take her new slack line to the park so she can practise her skills.
It’s a challenge with her Zoom classes with BJ wanting to get in on the action.
Most of the time I take him out while she has classes so she can concentrate but her lovely mentor teacher didn’t mind BJ dropping in to say hello last week.
We do our best but there’s a huge gap between the attention we can offer AJ and that which BJ has every day. We are fortunate she is so keen to be involved with her brother and joins in so often with what he’s up to.
ACTS OF KINDNESS
We’ve been on the receiving end of so many lovely acts of kindness. If you’re reading this and have a friend or family member caring for someone with a disability, I can tell you any small act of kindness won’t go astray. Food is an obvious and practical gift which can be helpful. We’ve had meals dropped at our door and not needing to cook on those occasions has been wonderful.
We’ve had a variety of thoughtful things mailed or delivered to our door and they’ve all brightened our day. It’s broken up the monotony of the day, reminded us that people are cheering us on, and understand on some level it’s not easy. Some have provided us with an activity to do which is also super helpful.
Supporting BJ physically all day is tiring and as much as many of these kind gestures are for the kids, they truly brighten my day too. Just knowing someone is thinking of us is truly heartwarming.
I’m sharing some of the lovely things people have done to hopefully give those wanting to do something for another an idea or two.
We’ve had postcards and other letters sent by friends of mine. Although some of these people are travel writing pals the kids don’t know, they’ve loved getting the mail. Real mail is rare so it’s been lovely getting something in the mailbox other than a bill. We’re putting the collection of postcards up on a wall in the kitchen and BJ enjoys looking at them again every day.
These are just a small sample of the lovely acts of kindness – we’ve had Facetime calls, a lovely support worker stopping by with flowers and more.
Next week AJ is due to go back to school full time. Final year students are going back to face-to-face teaching and that will bring new challenges for us all. BJ will miss his sister and I obviously have concerns about breaking our isolation. BJ will remain at home for the foreseeable future.
Stay tuned for the next installment of the Isolation Diaries and please share any activities or tips you’ve found work well for your family.
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