Daddy and Munchkin Blog
The Big Jump back to Normality

With the vaccination programme in full swing, and even with the slight disturbance from the new Covid-19 variants, things seem to be looking up and we are on the road to normality. With the situation improving, comes exciting times ahead, but with these exciting times I personally have an approach with a anxious sense of apprehension, as the return to normality comes with some big big changes and a big jump back to normality.

people at concert, return back to normality
Doesn’t this seem a world away?
Photo by Vishnu R Nair on Pexels.com

Let’s start with the positives though, writing this in the week of 26 June means my age (the big 30) are now eligible for the vaccine and I’m all booked for my two doses and ready and raring to go. By the end of August, I’ll be fully vaccinated and ready for normality, or at least my immune system will be…

Being vaccinated is great as I have a lot to look forward to. In August alone, we have a holiday to Center Parcs booked, one we have pushed back three times now. I’m going to a festival in London, the crystal maze experience, and to see Hamilton. Its going to be a mega month.

The last time we made it to Center Parcs with a tiny Munchkin.

And that is where, sitting at home and writing this where I have lived, worked and spent a lifetime on Netflix for the majority of the pandemic, I find it hard to see myself back out there, as exciting as those things are. It is such a big jump from this house to a festival environment or packed into a theatre.

This is nothing new though, and I’ve always explained this as my comfort zone having to adapt. When things change, like starting a new project at work, and I find it hard to immediately adjust and feel a little out of place. Give it a week or so and my ‘comfort zone’ expands and I relax and enjoy the new challenge. The trouble with coming out of lockdown though, is that my comfort zone has to expand a lot further than it ever has before. Time will tell really how easy that is.

That said I cannot wait to see people again properly. My best mates have a new little baby that really needs a cuddle (or maybe it’s me that needs a baby snuggle?) and it will be wonderful to have lunchtime walks with my work ‘twinny’ again. It’s just such a big change.

How do you feel about returning to normal? Let me know in the comments.

Thanks for reading,

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Anticipation 2021

As we approach Summer and the potential end of “lockdown” and our journey on the “road map” out of the restrictions, we must all be feeling a slight wave of trepidation.

I am luckily not a nervous type of person, with no history of depression, so I have got through the last year relatively unscarred mentally. I am keen to get back to normal, with obvious care at all times, to meeting family and friends, be it in the garden. I have already started observing the weather forecast with great interest, but as us British know, it can be very unpredictable.  

My main area of concern is going back to the theatre or a trip to London. Last year we had lots of tickets booked for various events, which were obviously all postponed, so as from July, we have our first night out at the theatre. This means close contact with strangers, and although I should have my full vaccine cover by then, it is a worry.

My other worry would be my Mum. She is generally well at the moment, showing no signs of her progressive lung cancer. I want to get her out to see her friends, enjoy her garden, just generally have fun and be happy. So project Mum, is my priority, starting with lunch in the garden, then with family, as soon as possible.

My retirement with Brad, was obviously not as planned. We had the first 18 months organised with gin afternoon teas, a tour of England and Scotland, other camping weekends and a once in a lifetime trip to three countries in Asia, as well as the countless theatre shows. These fun events peppered our new life together without the daily grind of going to work and to help get used to seeing much more of each other. To be honest, I feel that I see him about the same, as I still am quite busy. I have my wonderful day looking after munchkin, I see and help Mum 3-4 times a week and I now help supervise a community fridge, one morning a week. This takes in donations from the public, or shops with produce reaching sell-by dates. This is available for anyone to come in and to take as needed.  So our marriage, in retirement and “lockdown” has survived and we look forward to our future together.

All our plans have been on hold, and not cancelled and we already have booked a camping trip in May locally and our UK tour is back on for July. (do I sound famous!) So despite some anticipation, I am ready for the rest of 2021.

Thanks for reading, how are you feeling about the road map out of restrictions? Drop me a comment below.

Nanny of Munchkin

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Stay Happy Working from Home in Lockdown

I returned from furlough to support other departments in July. Then recently my role changed to computer based and naturally, it was right to work from home. So I packed a PC and got my little home office sorted. But, seeing those four walls and no people could drive anyone crazy. Here’s my seven simple little tips to staying sane working from home in lockdown 2.0.

1. Keep Connected

A lot of workplaces use instant messaging services such as Teams or Slack these days and if not, there’s always good old email. Have those little check ups and conversations you’d normally have in person, online. Get on a video call for a ‘social lunch break’ or catch up over lunch on a online game such as the ever increasingly popular ‘Among us’.

2. Keep a routine

Maybe its not the same routine, but a new routine to give yourself time away from the screen. Either way, find a routine and stick to it. I keep mine as close to normal hours as possible, as I take a real pleasure in the usual 5pm sign off. Also, take breaks from the screen as you would at work. It’s important to look after yourself in the same way as at work.

3. Treat yourself

Reward yourself with whatever makes you tick, whether that be that slice of cake or healthy snack, time to do something fun, or just to get out of the house and go for a wonder. Treat that brain with things that make it happy and it’ll look after you.

4. Celebrate the small things

Friday at home time for example…

5. Appreciate the little things

When is the last time in the office that you got to pick the radio station or take the DJ spot and mix the Spotify playlist, chose the optimum working temperature, or got to show up in your undies or in winter socks and robe (like me)? My point is to appreciate the little things and wins of not sharing your workspace with others, as much as you miss their adorable little colleague faces.

6. Set up the right space

Probably should be number one but hey. Set up your working from home space so it doesn’t interfere with your space to relax. Chose a corner of a room you don’t typically use, or another room entirely. This way you can prevent any negative work feelings encroaching your personal happy space.

7. Let the radio keep you company

It could sound silly at first, but after several days not hearing another human speak during work hours, the radio can be a welcome change. So tune in to your favourite show, and let them help keep you happy.

Happy working from home!

Do you have any other tips? Let me know in the comments below.

Thanks for reading,

Avoiding the Lockdown Lows

I recently wrote a post about staying sane with a one year old (you can read that here). I read it back and realised that while that was great for how to stay happy with all the dirty nappies and early mornings, it didn’t really focus on me, the adult.

So here five ways I have avoided the lockdown lows myself.

1. Streaming (what the internet was born for)

Disney plus came into exisitence bang on the right time, coinciding with the start of lockdown, saving us from boredom by letting us catch up on the latest releases we had missed but also reminincing with the golden oldies.

Other streaming services do exist however, so its important to mention while not dreaming about living at DisneyWorld, we’ve also been dying to save the big cats watching ‘Tiger King’, been is utter disbelief with ‘Suriving R Kelly’, and beyond furious with ‘The Trials of Gabriel Fenandez’.

2. Getting out

We have used our daily exercise hour to get some fresh air and vitamin D, whilst also giving Munchkin a change of scenery. This gives some goodness for all three of us.

3. Project house

Being furloughed has been a great kick to get all the house jobs done.

I finally got around to finish filling some holes in the house and kick started the garden ‘renovation’. Me and Natalie have no real garden experience yet we’ve (somehow managed to) put up a fence post and two panels and most recently prepared the soil by hand and laid some turf (we bought our house with a low-maintainence fully-slabbed child-unfriendly garden).

4. Had some ‘me time’

I thought ‘me time’ would come in the form of the xbox one, but then I discovered that you can play board games online. This was a revalation.

So nap times and the odd evening has become virtual board game times with my work crew, university mates and my Mum, Sister and Wife.

For this we have been using boardgamearena (Here’s the link), which for private play, requires one premium member at only £22.80 for the whole year or you can play other players worldwide for free.

5. Appreciation

I think what has really kept me chirpy is spending some time thinking about and appreciating the benefits of lockdown.

Whether that be being a key worker (woo to all of you) and feeling and seeing the value of your continued sacrifice, having reduced work hours (woo!), or working-from-home commitments (so you can do a day’s work in your PJ’s), or for me, spending time seeing the development of my Munchkin.

I hope you are all staying sane and safe in lockdown.

Thanks for reading,

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Covid-19 Self-isolation and Staying Sane with a One Year Old.

When we came to self-isolate we knew this would be hard on Munchkin. His usual week changed suddenly. One moment it was nursery for three days and each Nanny covering one day each. At weekends we would see friends, or his Grandparents, Great Grandparents or his Auntie and Uncle. There would be a weekly swimming lesson and a weekly sensory and play group and then suddenly it all changes and you don’t know why.

It changes to just one day at nursery. But not normal nursery. The first day since the schools closed we arrived to just us in the car park and only two members of staff inside. Then for the rest, he just at home with us. Six days per week of just Mummy, or Mummy and Daddy, and they can’t really tell you why.

So what is important…

Routine. We decide for Munchkin’s, and our, sanity to create a new routine. One to keep things fresh and engaging but also to still differentiate between weekend and weekdays. So we made sure meal and snack times and types were set, and we would have slots for sensory play, reading time, play time and a walk.

And there is the next one, walks. Using the one time to get out of the house to go for a long walk. I realised the importance of getting out the house every day during SPL (shared parental leave) and know what it can do for your well being. Further to that, just getting some regular fresh air, outside those four walls in the garden, does a world of good.

Finally, its sharing the workload; the nappies and changes; the routine and the household normalities like the dinner and cleaning. Though I am sure most mothers will agree, sharing the workload should happen regardless of whether there is a pandemic or not!

I hope you stay sane during your self-isolation everyone.

Thanks for reading,

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