What we do when we’re not watching television

This past week we have been holed up at home in quarantine with chicken pox. Thankfully the Boy doesn’t seem to be suffering too much with it – perhaps being an eczema-veteran means he doesn’t notice a bit of extra itchiness here and there. I wasn’t too sure how I’d cope with being at home so much. I like to plan outings most days: seeing friends or visiting Gran, going into town or to a play cafe, visiting the library or the playground. But after having already potentially infected about 9 different little children just before we noticed the spots I thought it best not to spread the love any further, cancel all play dates and avoid public places.

Actually, it has been really nice being at home. Turns out my high stress level is at least in part due to trying to get two children out of the house and into buggies and cars. We have watched quite a bit of television, but we have actually also had a lovely time playing and doing drawing and craft. Most of it was re-enacting what the Boy had been watching on TV, but that counts, right?

When the weather was nice, we played in the garden. The Boy invented his very own messy play game, making mud and pretending to pour slop into the ship’s mess (Swashbuckle). It was actually a mash up with Roary the Racing Car. The two cars you see in the ship’s mess are Roary and “Roary’s friend”.



Re-enacting television shows continues indoors. We have had endless fun with the cars, the garage and the car-rug playing Roary. Sometimes the Girl is allowed to play too, but she is never allowed to touch Roary.

Oh no! Roary's broken! Big Crisp [Chris] fix it.

Oh no! Roary’s broken! Big Crisp [Chris] fix it.

Cbeebies pirate game show Swashbuckle is a source of lots of frantic running around and dangerous capers, as the Boy jumps off the side of the sofa shouting “Walk the plank! Walk the plank!” We have used coloured bricks to represent jewels and hidden them around the house, then we rush around trying to find them while the Boy yells “Time running out! 3, 2, 1, yay!” He actually hides them himself, and then wants to find them himself, which suits me fine.

Then Z, our lodger, turned out to own an actual, honest to God jewel. Well, a diamond-shaped paperweight but close enough. Since she showed it to the Boy, it has been almost impossible to prise it out of his hands. The first evening found him sitting hunched up on the sofa with it, muttering “Love-a jewel. Is mine now.” Yes, he had turned into Gollum.

The Precious

The Precious

We have had quite a lot of mileage out of the bricks this week, actually. They have been used as a tiny cat playground:



And they became a house for Upsy Daisy:




And what about the Girl? Well, she likes toys, but she prefers to play with the wet wipes, the remote control and my bag. She also likes crawling under the table to see if there are any left-overs from last night’s dinner to hoover up. We got her a fancy walker with a ‘play tray’.

Everything a ten month old baby could want, surely.

Everything a ten month old baby could want, surely.

But when I put her in it, thinking I could maybe do some washing up, she cries and whines – until I take the play tray off and give her a cardboard box and some pegs. Then she’s happy.

A child's hand is easily filled, as we say in the Netherlands.

A child’s hand is easily filled, as we say in the Netherlands.

So quarantine has been quite a positive experience, with an unusually low number of tantrums and irrational crying fits – and that’s just me.


8 responses

  1. I remember what fun it became when forced to stay in through mild illness or lack of transport when my son was young. We could have projects that grew through the day or out of a television slot of about ten minutes an hour of fun acting out what had been seen. I agree that babies usually prefer boxes,pegs or wooden spoons to other things but in imaginative play the most mundane objects become magical through a child’s eyes.I love it most when you can hear yourself through them like your boy saying ‘back in a minute you stay right there!’ Hope you continue to have fun today.

    • Hope so too! Just watching today;s new episode of Swashbuckle, so I’m sure there will be some running around and jewel hiding later!

      You’ll also be pleased to hear that his response to the baby trying to muscle in on his toy piano was: “Not by the hair on my chinny-chin-chin!”

  2. Oh no I’m so sorry to hear that you’ve been struck with the pox. Hope everyone is ok – it’s good to get it at a young age. Sounds like you’ve had a good week though despite that and my what a fabulous jewel! You’d have trouble to prise it out of my hands too! Healing hugs xx

    • The pox has been a very polite and unassuming visitor, staying quietly in the background and holding the door shut, but otherwise not causing any undue disturbance. Boy doesn’t seem terribly itchy. Now waiting to see if the Girl gets it. She had one spot on her face but I’m thinking there might be more to come.

  3. I know exactly what you mean about stress levels – it’s taken me two years to realise my days will be much less stressful if I only plan one trip out! The summer holidays have meant we’ve stayed at home a lot more and it is amazing what small things you can find to do that become the best activity ever (playing with washing, putting three stones in out of a box, and picking daisies have been the biggest hits so far)!

    Glad that you are coping with the pox!

  4. My two boys had chicken pox together a few months before I got pregnant with my daughter. It sounds weird, but it was one of the happiest times of my life! Just having to spend time with them and away from everything else and outside pressures was amazing!

    • Just how I’ve felt! Although I was quite pleased when I finally managed to arrange a play date for the Boy on Friday with a friend who was not bothered about he pox. 🙂

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