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  • Writer's pictureEllie Hamilton

Groundhog Day - it's pretty crappy....but it could be worse!

Updated: Apr 18, 2020

Have I been procrastinating on writing this month’s post, that would be a big FAT yes. My head, nor my heart has not been in the right frame of mind and every time I started to draft something it just came across really negative which is not what the blog is about.

I still can’t quite get my head around the current global situation and should you have said to me at Christmas that in three months’ time the world will be fighting a war against one of the most horrendous viruses that we’ve witnessed in our lifetime I would have laughed and said don’t be daft, but sadly here we are.

I was slightly in denial about the seriousness of the C word 5 weeks ago and was merely brushing it off by thinking it was just like getting a severe case of the flu.

All I could really focus on was seeing my best mates who were coming over mid-March and my in-laws the following week, was this a selfish way to think, probably, but I now know how very wrong I was.

The reality of how devastating this virus is kicked in when the schools in Muscat closed on 15 March, below is a timeline of how things changed very rapidly:

15 March: Schools in Oman closed

17 March: Oman borders closed to those with tourist visa (this is when we knew for sure that my mates and our family weren’t coming out and I was gutted, but knew it was for the best)

18 March:

  • only Omani nationals allowed through the borders

  • shops in malls to close as well as traditional souks and markets, with the exception of supermarkets, pharmacies, clinics and opticians

  • all places of worship to close (including mosques)

  • all gatherings, events and conference suspended

  • closure of cinemas, gyms, sports clubs, barbers

19 March: all public transport suspended

29 March: all flights to and from the country have been suspended

10 April: governate of Muscat put into full lockdown until 22 April

On writing this post Oman have had 1,019 cases of which 176 cases have recovered and sadly 5 have died.

Emma and I are on day 30 of self-isolation, Danny has been going to work and then working from home every other week and he has also been doing the food shopping...what a superstar he is. What has it been like as a stay at home parent over this period,

well the first week I drank alcohol every night. Now I’m not talking about binge drinking as that would be like self harming when you know you have to wake up early with a toddler the next morning,

but I was having two to three drinks. My head is back in the game now and the daily drinking has reduced back down to the only having a drink two to three times a week. I would say that over the past four weeks I have realised that I go through a cycle of three or four good days of feeling positive and it could be worse to then every forth or fifth day having a shit one and having a few tearful episodes, but then the cycle starts again (I won’t go into specifics of how I felt when it was the time of the month, but it was similar to the devil incarnate and afterwards I felt pretty sorry for Danny). I’ve been very conscious of my mental health and the things which have helped me stay sane during this time are:

  1. Exercise – we are really lucky to have a gym in the house but I have also been doing the Joe Wicks PE workouts four or five times a week as there is nothing better than feeling those endorphins and Emma likes to join in too (it also helps with the extra calories I've been consuming through boredom snacking)

  2. Pamper sessions – running a bath, candles on, chilled music, face mask and doing my nails once a week

  3. Music – near enough every day I have cranked up the music and danced like crazy with Emma in the kitchen. I’ve also sung along on the odd occasion (probably not so great for the night watchman who lives next door)

  4. Disney – I adored Disney movies as a child and I have been loving watching all the classics with Emma as she’s now of an age where she’ll sit and watch a film – it’s these moments where we are cuddling up on the sofa which I love and I find it very calming.

  5. Virtual nights in/coffee dates – I’ve had a few virtual nights in with friends where I’ve put a full face of make up on which makes me feel like a brand new me and I’ve also managed to have catch up with friends who I haven’t’ spoken to in ages. You know you have a quality friend where you pick up the phone and you start talking as though you had a chat last week even though it might have been several months since you last spoke.

  6. Switching off my phone – I’ve had a couple of days where I have switched my phone off for 24 hours so I don’t look at social media, news, WhatsApp groups as these things result in my anxiety reaching sky high levels.

Thankfully, Emma seems to be moving away from the cranky toddler tantrum phase (hallelujah), and she has actually been really good. I try and do to activities everyday with her whether it be painting, fort building, playing with cars, playdough, reading etc and I also try and encourage independent play, but she is at the age where she just wants to play with you.

I know, I know, I should cherish it, as one day she won’t want to play with me, but spending 12 hours a day with another human one-on-one, every day is bloody intense and HARDWORK!

So, have I given her the kindle to watch cartoons a couple of hours at a time, yes I have, have I felt bad about it, yes I have, but sometimes to get the other stuff done, like ironing, cleaning etc you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do. Hopefully, all she will remember from this period is having loads of fun with her mum playing and watching a copious amount of Disney films.

The second week of self-isolation I thought would be the perfect time to potty train as we had all this time trapped inside so may as well make use of it. We bought a potty back in November just for Emma to be aware of it and occasionally asking her to sit on it before bath time, so when it came to potty training it was an object she was familiar with. We also bought some cotton knickers with rainbows and unicorns on which she adored, so it made it fun. Day one and we were off to an amazing start, we had a few wet puddles on the floor (thank goodness for marble flooring),

but by the end of the day she had gone for a wee about eight times in the potty…there was me with a smug grin thinking this isn’t hard at all.

Day two, I was due on and Emma seemed to be a bit more resistant, but she was still sitting on the potty when I asked her to and doing wees, however because I was feeling a little highly strung I could feel my patience levels were nearing towards zero and when you are potty training you have to be with your little one constantly, but we got through the day successfully, however by this point she had not gone for a poo (apologies for the overshare). Day three, the smug smile on my face disappeared pretty quickly, Emma was not happy and almost seemed distressed about sitting on the potty every time I asked her, so we decided to press pause on the potty training and I put a nappy on her. We are not far off, but for the moment I am going to leave it until she starts showing some clear signs.

In light of trying to stay positive and looking forward I’ve been trying to make a list of the five things we will be doing post lockdown:

  1. Soft play – I’m going to let Emma run wild for 2 hours until she’s completely worn out.

  2. Manicure/Pedicure/haircut…basically a full-on spa session

  3. Pool day – now I’m pretty conscious that it might be on the hot side by the time we finally come out of lock down, but I desperately want to get into the water with Emma.

  4. Brunch – food, drinks, music in a public setting...need I say more

  5. Night in a hotel – we were due to have several days in Dubai next month which we have cancelled, so we will just look forward to a staycation instead

At the moment there are no signs of when lockdown will lift in Oman, but in my head I’m thinking it won’t be for another 4-5 weeks. The main thing is we have our health, I love the people I am in lockdown with and everyday I am grateful for modern technology and being able to speak to my mum and my sister (who also help to keep me sane on a daily basis). The other key thing to remember is…this too shall pass….stay safe!

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1 Comment

Apr 18, 2020

Fantastic blog ... it’s been tough for us as we are in the U.K. and my husband is in Muscat . Praying that we all get through this soon . It’s been four weeks of lock down for us now . Enjoying the quality time at home with the kids , and thankful for my garden 🙏 I’ve also realised during these crazy times allowing the kids on their kindles and Xbox it’s not the end of the world . Just like me having a cheeky vino on Wednesday night .

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