• Claire Plain

“We’ve got a situation!” Lockdown life with a baby… who has just mastered crawling!

Updated: May 24, 2020

The idea to write this blog sprang to mind a few hours earlier, as I found myself (yet again) calling “We’ve got a situation!” downstairs to my husband. This evening it was one of those delightful surprise ‘poonami’ moments where a simple nappy change wasn’t what it first seemed. It was one of those “Oh my God, it’s everywhere!” moments where you’re not sure what to wipe down first... the baby, the change table or your own hands (apologies to anyone grabbing a sandwich while catching up on some blog-reading… I really hope it’s not marmite!)

Lockdown Life

Now lockdown is tough, there are no two ways about it. Everyone is in different circumstances and having their own difficult moments. I’m sure there are others in my situation who are doing similar things to me… I post a picture of a delightful looking bake with a breezy comment one day, then on another day find myself crying because the home-schooling isn’t working (and at this point I should confess to being a primary school teacher!). However in my defence I don’t usually have a 9 month old crawling around my classroom, eating everything she finds and pulling herself up on anything she can… only to fall down and cry 10 seconds later! Yes, lockdown life is certainly tricky for many different reasons and adding a baby into the situation definitely increase the challenge. As soon as I master a solution for one situation, another one pops up… I feel like I’m constantly playing ‘Whack-a-Mole!’

Baby Solutions

I think the only person who could guarantee a stress-free lockdown with a baby is Mary Poppins, but she’s yet to respond to my note up the chimney! So while I eagerly await her response, here are a few of my own suggestions:

· The Pig Pen

The ‘Pig Pen’ is what we affectionately call our play pen (and I have no idea why or how that started!). It is fair to say my youngest has a ‘Pig Pen’ love/hate relationship. There are moments when she sits in there quite happily with some toys and I feel like I’m winning. Then we have moments where all she does is cry, pull herself up, fall down and cry some more! I should add that I don’t leave her to repeat this activity; she is lifted out, cuddled and then carefully placed back in while I hold my breath & hope she’ll last at least 5 minutes more.

Overall the Pig Pen has a good success rate and is certainly a great help when I need to make lunch, pop the kettle on etc. I know that, aside from the possible falling down, she is contained and safe while I get things done.

· Boxes

Another solution is boxes. My little one loves boxes of any shape or size! I pop some toys in the boxes and she spends quite a while emptying them out… then I simply refill and she empties it again! You can pop noisy toys in to make them more enticing, or if your ears need a little rest fill them with quieter toys. If you keep rotating the types of box and the toys inside it keeps the fun fresh and they don’t get restless so quickly.

The only downside to boxes is they can tip and an enthusiastic rummage around for toys then results in a bump on the head… although a cuddle soon remedies that and then she’s ready to dive back in again!

· Singing Songs

I am pretty sure I’m tone deaf, however my children aren’t Simon Cowell and love to hear me sing! The sillier the songs, the better and especially if they involve actions. Bouncing on the knees is always a winner and keeps everyone entertained and happy for a while. There are lots of possibilities but my little one favours ‘Row, Row, Row Your Boat’, ‘Sleeping Bunnies’ & ‘This is the Way the Ladies Ride’.

Only advice I would add is to be mindful of your timing. I’ve been guilty of enthusiastically bouncing my baby too soon after lunch!

· Books

Sharing books is a lovely way to spend time with children and they’re never too young to start. The Usborne Books ‘That’s Not My…’ series is an obvious choice because of the lovely bold pictures and nice textures on each page. However any brightly coloured book will get their attention and there are so many baby books to choose from. Your baby can sit with you while you read a picture book to an older child. They might not stay put for long, but any amount of sitting still is a bonus!

The tip with this one is to let your baby have books that are robust and safe – they will be pulled around and chewed, but this is how babies explore and is part of their early ‘reading’.

· Change the Scenery

Getting your baby outside is a great way to change the scenery and get some fresh air, which is good for everyone’s well-being. If your little one resists napping, then you might find heading out in the buggy or carrier is a tactic to get them off to sleep too.

Changing their surroundings is a little trickier if you’re in isolation, but still achievable. Giving your baby a different room to be in counts as a change of scenery and if they’re crawling they’ll like a different surface to shimmy across!

One Day at a Time

The key to lockdown life with a baby is to take it day by day, step by step. It’s not easy and there are highs and lows… and ‘situations’! I hope some of the ideas I’ve shared are helpful and make your lockdown living a little easier. Please be kind to yourselves and notice your successes… even if it’s drinking tea before it goes cold or popping on clean pyjamas! It doesn’t matter if there are days when you don’t manage any of the above, there are no expectations. You need to do what best suits you and that will be different day by day. Your baby doesn’t wake up and have a ‘to-do’ list they want to fulfil. They are content just to be in the same space with you, because you alone help them to feel happy, loved and secure… and really that’s all that matters.

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