Since the Coronavirus Lockdown kicked in, on 23rd March 2020, for most of us the World has become a much smaller place. And we’re all having to learn, in our own unique ways, how to cope with the situation. Indeed, how to make the best of the situation… Of course, not everyone is in Lockdown with two bored teenagers!
I should point out that there are still a large number of people who aren’t on Lockdown. Many of whom are directly working to make life safe for the rest of us. And to these people go my thanks and gratitude. You people rock!
But, for those of us who are on Lockdown, we’re suddenly spending a lot more time with our nearest and dearest. I feel a quote from Red Dwarf is appropriate here:
Holly: Jean-Peal Sartre said Hell was being locked in a room with your friends.
Lister: Holly, all his mates were French!
In actual fact, Sartre never said any such thing. But he was French, sooooooo…!
Fortunately, I don’t have any French to deal with. But I am on Lockdown with two bored teenagers, and that’s almost as bad.
Our own circumstances have their good and bad points. On the one hand, we live in a big house and everyone has their own room. There is also a big garden to wander around, without the risk of running into social distancing issues. On the flip side, the WiFi here sucks. A point currently being highlighted by my decision to upload a video to YouTube, and the resulting hours without internet access.
And nothing makes teenagers, trapped by Lockdown, more bored than not being able to access the internet… (As I write, it’s 42% uploaded, with 2 hours 38 minutes to go – a fact I think I’ll keep to myself)
So, what have these teenagers of mine been doing, to stave off being bored during Lockdown? Not help around the house, that’s for sure! I dimly remember seeing Emma with a vacuum cleaner a couple of weeks ago. Something that I’m sure was supposed to become a weekly thing… It didn’t![I should mention, at this point, that Emma read an early draft of this post, which had two consequences. Firstly, she saw my comment about the length of time left on the YouTube upload and made my life Hell for a couple of hours. Secondly, while I was at my radiotherapy treatment in Bristol, Emma did all the housework.]
There has also been an occasional foray into the garden to help with the masses of mowing, weeding, planting, etc. In fact, early on, Ceri insisted we bring the power washer home from work, so she could clean the paving slabs. I’ve no idea why she would want to do such a thing and, after a couple of attempts with the washer, neither did she.
Let’s check on her progress, after a month with the power washer:
There has also been plenty of interest expressed in using the ride-on mower to cut the grass. Something that needs doing once a week and takes about four hours, on a good day. But ‘interest’ seems to evaporate in the sudden glare of reality and, conveniently, some pressing college work needs to be addressed.
And, to be fair, Ceri does still have a lot of college work. Work is still being issued by her tutors and the occasional lesson is being done over webcam. And the way Ceri tends to approach this college work means it takes a long time. You see, she prefers to do the work while she is in a group chat with her friends. Presumably to make it feel more like she’s still in lessons at college…
I think I’ll have to ask her how much chatting she’s actually doing during lessons!
Anyway, the college work does get done, but it takes her all day. Which means she’s been spending all her waking hours tied up with college work. Okay, she’s been chatting at the same time, but that’s a sure-fire way to demotivate you from your studies, in the long run. I think she’s moved on from that, more recently. She’s now spending distinct periods of time focusing on her studies and chatting with her friends at other times.
This makes sense to me.
Personally, I think it’s important for Ceri to stay on top of her studies. While the future of her A levels is uncertain, you have to assume that the powers that be will seek to keep things as close to normal as possible. Which means that the final A level results will still be graded on a curve. So, those students who are taking the present opportunity to skip their studies are going to find themselves at a massive disadvantage, come this time next year.
No doubt, such students will complain about how unfair that is to them, because college wasn’t running normally. My fear is that their complaints will be listened to and the grading system tweaked in their favour. I certainly hope this isn’t the case, because they’re supposed to be continuing with their studies, like Ceri is.
To rearrange results in the favour of those that took the opportunity to slack off, would be a terrible idea. It would reward the concept of taking the easy option and then complaining that things are hard. At the same time, it would be a slap in the face for those choosing to make the effort to soldier on through adversity.
Hopefully, hard work and self-motivation is still something that this country seeks to encourage. I guess we’ll find out in a year…
Emma, meanwhile, is at the other end of the spectrum. She wants to be studying hard, hitting the books and revising like a mad thing. But she can’t. Because her A Level exams have been cancelled. The grades will be announced in mid-August but she has no control over what they will be. She’s done well throughout the year and got good mock results but her real focus was always the finals.
Emma was still making flash cards for her final exams, in the run up to the mock exams. To her, it was far more important to ensure that she was totally prepared for the finals, than fully focus on the mocks. The expectation is that if you revise well enough, you can bring your mock results up by one grade.
That’s what Emma was aiming for…
That’s now been taken out of Emma’s hands and, for the first time in their lives, dropped in the laps of her tutors. And, true to her nature, Emma worries about all this.
Not enough to stop her being bored, a lot of the time, though. And not enough for her, and Ceri, not to take their boredom out on me…
For a long time, now, we’ve had a Saturday film night. We take it in turns to choose a film, and then we all have to sit and watch it. Without phones and mobile devices. And without complaint… As you can imagine, three weeks in four, those two conditions are tricky to abide to. One good thing about the Lockdown, is that we all have more time to think about our film choices. As such they’re much better, all round. Long may that continue.
And, to compliment this weekend film night, we now have a mid-week games evening. Again, we all take turns choosing a game to play as a family. It has led to a interesting spread of games:
- Articulate (chosen by Emma)
- Jigsaw race (Chosen by Ceri)
- Monopoly (Chosen by Ceri)
- Risk (Chosen by Julie)
- Game of Thrones Board Game (Chosen by Emma)
- X-Box: Modern Warefare 2 (Chosen by me)
- Risk (Chosen by Julie)
There’s also been a couple of rounds of the somewhat traumatising Don’t Get Got game, ticking away in the background… Also chosen by Emma… I think what’s very clear about all this, is that I’m getting well stitched up when it comes to getting my fair number of choices!
Still, weekly film and games sessions help to break up the week nicely. But they’re not enough to completely stop my teenagers being bored during the Lockdown. Personally, I’ve been finding the inability to go shopping to be tiresome. For some reason, I really like grocery shopping, but I haven’t been able to go to a Supermarket in over a month. I thought that this inability to shop during the Lockdown, would be a major downer for my bored teenagers. Who, after all, are girls…
I’ve recently discovered that this hasn’t been an issue for them at all. Because they have been shopping.
Not only that, on my Amazon account!
Using my account is fine, apparently, because I have a Prime account, so they save on postage. This is, of course, true. But it’s not just the postage they’re saving on, it’s everything! Because they’re just ordering things without telling me, and it’s all going through on my card!
Bored, or not, my teenagers are going to learn that some rules still apply during the Lockdown. Like, if you’re going to steal from your dad: don’t get caught!
And I’ve already been letting them get away with murder…
One day, they decided it would be a good idea to give my leg a bit of a waxing. And I let them:
More recently, Emma decided my hair was too long. So I gave her my clippers and this happened:
But, it hasn’t all been bullying me.
There have been some useful developments as well.
Like I say, Ceri is still doing lots of college work. I’ve also managed to persuade Emma to teach herself touch typing. Something that I wish I’d taken the time to do. I reckon I could halve the time it takes me to write posts like this, if I could touch type. Ironically, I don’t have the time to learn the skill, because it takes me so long to write posts like this…
Anyway, Emma is using the Typing Club site, and is getting on really well. Theoretically, I started at the same time that she did, although, I haven’t got past the first lesson yet. Still, I’m glad that Emma’s progressing well, it should be a help when she goes to university in September… Assuming that she still will be going to university in September. Ah, well; she’ll get there in the end and touch typing will be useful when she does.
In addition to this, both of the girls have been doing a bit of exercise. The treadmill machine is certainly getting more use from the girls than it is from Julie and me…!
And it would be far better if we were all using the machine, because Emma has been doing a lot of baking. She says that baking relaxes her. This is great, and all, but it’s not doing my waistline any good!
Ceri, for her part, is finally making time for the projects that she’s been wanting to do for ages. Things like making a silicon mold of a Harry Potter chocolate frog, so she can remake it as many times as she likes after she eats the one she’s got. We’ll do that in the coming week.
What she’s done this week, is make a painting with acrylic paints, by pouring them all over the canvas. Ceri, being Ceri, decided to use pastel paints that were full of glitter…
So overall, if you ignore the theft and abuse to my person, being stuck in Lockdown with two bored teenagers hasn’t been too bad.
But if the Lockdown drags on for too much longer, then I’m going to have to start seeking my revenge…!