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Alex Polizzi on adjusting to life in lockdown

Splendid isolation

Since term began, my only thought on waking is what I have to get through with my son, Rocco, every day. 

He is seven and has the concentration span of a stoned gnat. 

I am a terrible teacher. I have no patience. I am technologically inept and the new normal of downloading tasks, virtual meetings and uploading finished tasks is testing every atom of my ability. My poor beloved boy has started keeping a notebook with a cross next to my name every time I shout at him. There are so many crosses he has had to turn over the page. 

I am ashamed of myself. I read about people up and down the country who have been improving themselves in innumerable ways; meditating, writing, improving their yoga practice or cardio fitness, organising wonderful community endeavours.

I can’t seem to settle to anything. Under normal life circumstances, I read at least a novel and week and often two. I manage to work away from home three days a week and still keep up with my emails. I accomplished things every day.  I got properly dressed and kept up with a fitness regime.

Life now has been given over to my innate compulsive tidying–which takes up an ENORMOUS amount of time–and I find my happy place in endless hoovering, washing floors, laundry and turning out cupboards. It is a kind of white noise that tunes out all the fears about our businesses and the effect this awful virus is having on our friends, family and on the country. 

‘Teaching’ Rocco–or more accurately supervising that he stays sat on a chair–is a constant interruption to the bliss of creating a perfectly curated games cupboard (yesterday), or tutting over the number of duplicated and half-used products in the laundry and amalgamating the AA batteries and tea lights we have in various locations through the house (today).

It is hard to do this whilst explaining the calculations of currency and change to a seven- year-old. I frankly gave up when it came to a humanities lesson entitled ‘forest bathing in Japan’. I admire teachers even more than I already did, having supervised a comprehension exercise on the finer aspects of African drumming.

He is seven. Who cares? 

I have ‘reflective surfaces’ tomorrow… Terribly hard to do whilst hoovering the cutlery drawer and I have a freezer audit due too…

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