The first Siblings post of 2021 seems a bit like deja vu. We finished the last one of 2020 looking forward to Christmas and, while there were a lot less people around our table, the children still enjoyed themselves.
Christmas seemed to be a lot less stressful last year. I was relatively organised wrapping presents as I was all too aware that a Coronavirus case in one of the classes would have sent at least one child home so I knew I had to get the wrapping done so there would be no risk of getting rumbled.
They all finished school and nursery on the 18th and we didn’t have our usual Christmassy outings to see Father Christmas but we made the most of the dry but cold weather on the farm and I managed to organise enough Christmas crafts and movie afternoons to get us through to the big day.
We tracked Santa on Christmas Eve and I did think they might not go to bed they were so beside themselves. At one point there were tears because they thought he was getting nearer but they hadn’t had their tea or gone to bed so it quickly got switched off until just before bedtime and I had to explain several times how big Russia is.
Reindeer cupcakes were made and left out with a carrot and a glass of milk (Baileys) and off they trouped to bed.
Unlike some years, all three were kind to us with a 7am start and the excitement levels were off the scale when they looked through the glass door into the living room exclaiming that he had been. It really is the most magical thing to watch.
Wrapping was ripped and squeals of excitement could be heard as they delighted in the fact that Father Christmas had got what they had asked for.
The next few days went in a blur of food and toys and I felt like I was continually cooking and bringing them all food.
Thankfully, the usually bleary time between Christmas and New Year was carpeted in snow so even more excitement ensued when they woke up to a white glow one morning.
While their foray into sliding farm-style may not have passed any health and safety test, the boys found their flying toy box hilarious but sadly, the snow didn’t seem to have the right texture to build a snowman.
The snow and the arctic temperatures have stayed though so crisp plays out have been a regular and I have struggled to keep up with the outfit changes and drying of boots, gloves and hats.
If we thought Christmas was quiet, New Year was even more so. Crackers on the table made the children think it was Christmas again funnily but I did have to tell them that New Year’s Day brought the Christmas festivities to an end.
Rows started on the last Sunday of the holidays and I remarked to my mum that the boys were probably ready for a bit of space.
There was an inset day at school and nursery for the boys on the Monday and my eldest was due back but we got a message from her school on Sunday night saying they too had arranged an inset day and, with Boris’ announcement looming, I had an idea of what was about to happen but tried not to think about it.
Monday came and I considered whether to bother bathing the boys (the youngest especially is not the biggest bath fan) but I duly filled the tub and cleaned the reluctant bathers.
We all know what happened next so we enter the new year home schooling again (they call it Mum school). I understand the reasoning behind it and the need to try and keep the NHS operating but I can’t help be so sad for my children.
They are all struggling and missing out. The eldest is quite relaxed having had the two weeks holidays first but she will hardly do any work at home because she only associated education with school and her routines have been pulled from beneath her feet.
The biggest boy has missed so much of his Reception year and was making great progress in catching up in year one, only for it to be taken always again.
The youngest is missing his one-on-one time with me in an afternoon as well as his little friends at nursery and I wonder if they will ever recover fully socially and educationally should this go on indefinitely.
I am not holding out any hope that they will be back in school after February half term.
It is not all doom and gloom though. January sees two out of three birthdays here so we have them to look forward to in the next month.
For now we are staying at home and hoping normality returns as soon as it can.