We are a very ordinary family: the husband, two teenage boys, a ten-year-old girl, a dog, an Xbox and me. I include the Xbox amongst our number as it has lived with us for so long that I consider it one of my own. That is not, to be clear, the same as loving it as one of my own.
This week, we turn into a nation of home teachers. On the plus side it’s something to add to the CV – for me, more evidence to support Jack of all trades, master of none. While it is the case that our children are remotely learning, I fear that for many of us parents it is a case of not remotely knowing what we’re doing. I’ll report back next week.
Meanwhile, four weeks into lockdown and we’re settling into some sort of routine. My daughter spends hours perfecting TikTok dance routines. Boys one and two play Xbox and emerge blinking into daylight whenever they are hungry. The husband is on a permanent conference call and I am slowly but surely turning into a lockdown lunatic.
The evidence points to a disturbing trend of quite out-of-character behaviour: yesterday I made bread. The first instructions seemed simple enough. Then I reached point three on the recipe and felt faintly nauseous: knead for 15-20 minutes. I can barely manage twenty arm raises with a couple of baked bean tins.
“Nobody warned me that making bread was a full-body workout.”
Luckily, my daughter was on hand, so I did some token prodding and then watched her knead whilst enjoying a cup of tea. The proving was a huge success (I’ve got all the lingo) and I felt quite smug as I popped it into the oven. Then I took it out – it had collapsed, flat, flat, flat. Time to put a positive spin on it: I had succeeded in making my first ever flatbread – an artisan masterpiece.
More evidence of lockdown lunacy is that I helped boy number one dye his hair blonde. This is not something in normal circumstances that I would be encouraging, let alone aiding and abetting. This was his fourth attempt at going blonde; the first three have left him with a distinct orange tinge. So I found myself, gloved up, applying dye, trying not to be overcome by the ammonia fumes (boy number two worryingly said he loved the smell – note to self: remove all glue-based products from the house). If you’re wondering what the result was: he is now very marginally blonder but still distinctly orange. He seems happy with the outcome.
Next on my lockdown list is the dog. She is, if I were to be kind, looking unkempt and if I were to be less kind, I can’t tell which end is which. I have already demonstrated my hairdressing skills on the family, how difficult can dog grooming be? I admit I’m marginally concerned about the wriggle factor…and would it be really wrong to use the human hair clippers on the dog? Hair is hair, human or dog, right?
Lockdown produces some interesting dilemmas…