When I found out I was pregnant and worked out when my maternity leave would be, I was super excited. And not just about the baby. While on maternity leave there would be an Olympics and the Euros, two major sporting events that I normally only get to watch bits of, and I would get to watch it all – or, you know, have it on in the background while wrangling a small baby.
And then – coronavirus! Which has conspired to ruin literally every plan I had for my maternity leave, including the more minor plans regarding televisual entertainment (although in fairness, BT also had a good stab at ruining those plans before coronavirus even really arrived on these shores).
Coupled with this, over the last six to eight weeks or so, Little Man has gone from a baby who often fusses with a bad tummy, to a Mega Fuss Machine 3.0, who is just so grumpy and fussy that it’s basically impossible to follow anything happening on TV when he’s in the room. Even when he’s in a good mood he now just shrieks. Apparently, he enjoys shrieking. So, given that he’s also not sleeping well, we are really struggling to watch anything other than nature documentaries. And, honestly, if you can’t actually hear the dulcet tones of Sir David Attenborough, is it even worth it?
So – how to survive lockdown with a baby?
Well, recently the Bundesliga returned! Actual real-life football, the perfect entertainment for looking after a grumpy baby, where you don’t need to hear the commentary to follow the plot. Except, obviously, we couldn’t watch it because the days of football betting available on terrestrial TV are long since gone.
So, we’ve cracked and got a subscription to BT Sport, and I’m now rapidly becoming aquatinted with the various teams and players of the Bundesliga. Thank God we have something we can watch (but not hear) while endlessly bouncing the wee man on one knee. It’s the perfect solution for lockdown with a baby.
Did China have a moral responsibility to warn the international community sooner about the threat of the emerging coronavirus? Well, some people think so. But China disagrees. Perhaps because they were ON A BREAK.
Like that time where Ross decided not to tell Rachel they were still married, China kept Covid 19 on the down low, presumably hoping that the problem would somehow just go away of its own accord. And, just like Ross and his history of unwise marital choices, China too has previous for this kind of behaviour (cough cough SARS cover-up, 2002).
2. South Korea – Monica Geller
China’s little sister used to be much bigger, but lost a bunch of weight landmass to the Communists at the end of the Second World War.
South Korea has kept its coronavirus death toll low through a rigorous programme of testing, treating and tracing contacts, plus social distancing measures. This is exactly the kind of country that’s obsessed with hygiene and has 11 categories of towels.
If only the pandemic had taken place during a later season of Friends, the UK might have benefited more from the shining example of Monica/South Korea. Unfortunately, we’re still in the early seasons, with the UK in a co-dependent relationship with Joey…
4. United States – Joey Tribbiani
The USA’s response to coronavirus can best be described as… confused. Like the time that Joey got fired from Days Of Our Lives for claiming that he wrote all his own lines, Donald Trump has been called out for spreading fake news about coronavirus, such as saying that it’s a hoax and that one day the virus will just disappear “like a miracle”.
Germany reacted furiously when 200,000 American-made protective masks destined for Berlin mysteriously disappeared en route, and there are suspicions that the US government redirected them for its own purposes. I guess the United States DOESN’T SHARE FOOD PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT.
Could the US have done a better job addressing the pandemic? Well, at this juncture, it’s a moo point.
Phoebe cares a lot. That’s why she’s a vegetarian and shops at flea markets. And that’s why she’s New Zealand, which has pursued a highly-praised policy of eliminating Covid 19 transmission completely within its borders. Plus, Prime Minister Jacinda Adern gave a very Phoebe-esque speech assuring children that the Easter Bunny and Tooth Fairy are considered key workers and thus would not be affected by the lockdown. And she finished up by singing a song about a foul-smelling cat… Or so I’ve heard.
7. The World Health Organisation – Mr Heckles
No-one wants to engage with Mr Heckles, the crazy downstairs neighbour who keeps banging on the floor with a broom and shouting “Test for cases! Trace and isolate contacts! Use adequate personal protective equipment!”
Ugh, the WHO. Such a pain.
8. The Novel Coronavirus – Janice
Much like coronavirus, I’m pretty sure that Janice doesn’t have a surname.* They both seem to have the ability to pop up literally anywhere, no matter how much they’re not wanted. And once you’ve been involved with Covid 19, it seems like it’s pretty difficult to break up.
OMG being in lockdown can be boring! As I can’t take the baby out and about, I’m trying to keep busy even while he’s curled up in my lap. And a lot of the time, he refuses to chill out anywhere else. But what to do?
1. Learn A Language on Duolingo
Duolingo is a great app that lets you learn a new language or brush up on an existing one – for free! You can practice for a few minutes a day and set up reminders so you don’t forget. I’m trying to learn some basic Japanese, to help us when we’re in Japan visiting my husband’s Japanese family. And I’m also trying to remove the cobwebs from my dusty old German skills. It’s easy to fit in a few minutes when Little Man has a catnap.
2. Read and Drink Tea
For Christmas, my father in law bought me a subscription to the Tea and Book Club by Bookishly, kindly suggested by my husband on the quite logical basis that I love both tea and books. It’s great getting a classic book and delicious fancy tea through the letter box every month, and it’s a simple pleasure that can be enjoyed while baby is napping on me (because obviously napping in his basket would be ridiculous). Bookishly are still open for business during the pandemic, with appropriate social distancing measures in place, and I can highly recommend them.
In these times of quarantine, I should probably be trying to read books to improve my mind, but other than the Bookishly classics, I’m mainly reading a tonne of Agatha Christie, because I’m a sucker for a good murder mystery!
“But you can’t bake without putting down the baby!” I hear you cry! Oh, but you can. Sometimes Little Man is happy to chill on his mat in the kitchen with me while I bake, but if he doesn’t want me to put him down, I just pop him in his baby carrier and carry on baking! I can’t really do anything involving the stove while he’s in his carrier, obviously, but all the mixing of cakes etc. can be done just fine. So far we have made banana bread, brownies, blueberry muffins and raisin and oatmeal cookies. His dad is gluten intolerant and can’t eat a lot of baked goods from the shops, so it’s nice to make gluten free versions at home!
Quarantine tip: a lot of baked goods can actually be frozen for later, if the batch you make turns out to be too big for your household. If they have a high fat content they usually freeze well.
Baby naps while mama bakes
4. Play Catan Universe
This is the app version of the board game Settlers of Catan. It’s not free, but there is an extensive trial version so you can try before you buy! It’s perfect if you have a baby, because you can play a game against the computer slowly over the course of a day and just put it down if he starts fussing and needs attention. I recommend, especially if you’ve enjoyed the board game version.
I should probably also give an honourable mention to my husband’s app game of choice, Football Manager, which he loves and which is on my ‘to try’ list!
I’m hoping at some point I might manage to fire up the PlayStation 4 and finally get around to completing The Witcher 3, but thus far I’ve not worked out how to do that with a baby in my lap…
5. Write this blog
I’ve really enjoyed starting this blog and again it’s given me something to do that I can easily pick up when Little Man is chill enough, and put down if he starts kicking off. I used to have a blog (Pituitary Ademoaner) about my health issues years ago, and it’s great to get back to writing again. This is a free site on WordPress, so if you’ve ever thought of starting a blog, why not?
6. Watch Netflix
I’m not made of stone, obviously all this mental activity is pretty exhausting and sometimes me and the Little Man just want to zonk out in front of the TV. I’m currently watching Gilmore Girls for the first time and loving it, but I’ve also watched a lot of Friends and Fresh Prince of Bel Air, Tiger King (obviously) and loads of nature documentaries.
Like everyone else on the planet, I’ve been watching Netflix’s Tiger King during lockdown. If you haven’t seen the show, I’ll warn you right now that this post won’t make a lot of sense. Anyway, I was of course immediately struck by the remarkable similarities between the semi-moronic egomaniac obsessed with power, and the… you know, the other semi-moronic egomaniac obsessed with power. And so, I present: eight reasons why Boris Johnson and Joe Exotic are practically the same person.
Why Boris Johnson and Joe Exotic Are Practically The Same Person
1. They’re both American.
Let’s start with the obvious. Joe Exotic was born in Kansas. Boris Johnson was born in New York.
2.Theyboth use ridiculous names for their public persona.
Joe Exotic was born Joseph Schreibvogel, a name which completely fails to convey any sense that its owner may be America’s most prolific tiger breeder. Boris Johnson was born Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, a name which very much succeeds in conveying the sense that its owner is an overprivileged, bumbling racist.
3. They both lure younger people into their bedrooms.
If Netflix’s Tiger King is to be believed, Joe Exotic induces young, straight men into relationships using the magic of meth. Boris Johnson, on the other hand, is under investigation for potential misconduct in a public office, after allegations that he gave his mistress, Jennifer Arcuri, public funds and access to foreign trade missions. Which of course might explain what she saw in a dumpy, spam-faced gentleman twenty years her senior.
4. They both have trademark bleach-blonde hairstyles.
Frankly it’s hard to say which hairdo is worse. But there’s certainly something about the bleached blonde colour that really brings out those reddish-pink tones in the skin.
5. They both vastly overestimate their ability to hold high political office.
Joe Exotic ran for President. Boris Johnson ran for Prime Minister. The only real distinction there is the number of other people each of them managed to fool into supporting them.
6. They both blame all their problems on an evil external entity.
In Joe Exotic’s case, all of life’s ills can be blamed on that bitch, Carole Baskin. Boris Johnson, on the other hand, prefers to blame the European Union. However, it should be noted that there’s absolutely no evidence that the European Union killed its husband and fed him to a tiger.
7. They both have someone pulling their strings from behind the scenes.
Boris Johnson has the murky shadow of “political advisor” Dominic Cummings looming over him like a creepy puppet master. According to Netflix’s Tiger King, Joe Exotic’s ex-business partner Jeff Lowe manoeuvred himself into position to take control of Joe’s zoo and conveniently land Joe in prison for soliciting murder for hire.
8. They both have ill-judged musical careers.
Thanks to Tiger King, Joe Exotic is now famed for such dittos as Here Kitty Kitty and I Saw A Tiger. Boris Johnson, on the other hand, once sung Bob Marley’s Three Little Birds to a group of journalists, and once heard it will never be forgotten.
Your Thoughts on Boris Johnson and Joe Exotic…
Have you been addicted to watching Netflix’s Tiger King during lockdown? Can you think of any similarities that I’ve missed between Boris Johnson and Joe Exotic? Let me know in the comments!