We moved house just before Covid hit our shores, and we couldn’t have landed in a better place. Our neighbourhood is lovely, fairly new, and full of families with young kids. A great place to spend lockdown. Kids playing outside; mums having socially distant drinks on the green; dads sitting in garden chairs watching the kids run around. It was wonderful. I say was because that was Lockdown The First. Back in April and May, with unseasonably good weather that spread into a beautiful summer.
But now the days are colder, damper, darker. Lockdown The Second has come with different rules and socially distant drinks are a no-go, even if we felt like braving the weather.
Before Lockdown The Second hit, I had brought the little man on a couple of play dates with a neighbour. Partly for him, partly for me. The boys are only a few months different in age, R being the older, and it was great to see them interact and try figure each other out. He hasn’t been around other small kids since March, when we last saw the childminder, so any interaction with another child is a bonus right now. And me getting to have tea and interact with another mom? Double bonus.
He has been stuck in the house with just me and Dad for months, he needs to learn and grow socially. Something that won’t happen if he stays stuck inside with us. So this was a gateway, a way of easing him in. But then we could no longer go into other people’s homes unless you were in their bubble. So instead neighbour mom and I have sent the occasional text to say ‘going for a walk’. We’ve only managed to co-ordinate time wise once or twice but its been lovely. We keep our distance, the boys eye each other up and we chat. But with the absence of any kind of real life, our chats are very much about Mom Life. How the boys are sleeping, what they’re eating, how many teeth they have now. It’s a compare and contrast exercise and one I don’t like taking part in.
I am doing my utmost not to compare him to other kids. Not to look up what ‘should’ he be doing by now. But without anything else to talk about that’s where our conversations inevitably lead.
The part of chat that sticks out in my mind was the one about teeth. Specifically the brushing of them. I mentioned how we were late coming out because we had to brush our teeth, and put our shoes on and get our hat and so on. And this other mum heard the brushing teeth and we went from there onto how often? Toothpaste? But the public health nurse said we should do this. And I read the other. And poor kid, his poor teeth. And yes when it comes to teeth there is probably a hard and fast rule, unlike so many other areas of parenting, but it is really difficult to get a clear answer. No, in truth, its difficult to remember to look up and ask the right question when you have five minutes quiet time. I always think ‘Oh I’ll look that up later’, in an attempt to not be on my phone constantly and to try give what I want to look up my full attention. Then later rolls around, I have a few minutes calm and quiet and my mind goes utterly blank. I can not remember what on earth I wanted to find out. So I keep going, just keep swimming, and do things the best I can right now.
And he’s not bothered how we brush his teeth, he just wants to chew the bristles and try get the toothpaste tube open and spread it all over the bathroom floor. I mean that’s what its for right?