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Lockdown Letters ‘While the coronavirus knows no bounds, neither do the demands of our youngest children’

Isolation is an even more testing time with restless toddlers thrown into the mix, writes reader Grace Ryan


Grace Ryan with her husband Richie, and children Aaron (10) Daniel (2) and Eva (6 months)

Grace Ryan with her husband Richie, and children Aaron (10) Daniel (2) and Eva (6 months)

Grace Ryan with her husband Richie, and children Aaron (10) Daniel (2) and Eva (6 months)

Lockdown across Ireland is currently taking on a variety of different forms.

There are the healthcare workers and other frontline staff who continue to go to work, possibly more often than ever before. They do not have the luxury of staying safely tucked away at home.

Then there are the rest of us. All of our experiences are unique to our home and family situation.

In my home, there are times when we feel slightly hard done-by as we are locked down with three energetic, highly-strung children who would all like to have the undivided attention of both their parents 24 hours a day.

The oldest is a ten-year-old who, thankfully, does have the capability of keeping himself busy for sizeable chunks of time. However, the other two – a toddler and a baby – have no idea what keeping busy alone is all about!

While the coronavirus knows no boundaries, neither do the demands of our youngest children. They ensure that the two adults, and even the ten-year-old, work pretty much flat-out every minute of the day.

When it was announced that all schools in the Republic of Ireland were closing, I never could have imagined the drastic changes it would bring to our everyday lives.

It’s a challenging mix: a toddler now at home full-time, in addition to the baby and a pre-teen feeling socially isolated and in need of an education. Even as a teacher, this seemed like a daunting task.

And so, without much enthusiasm, we have settled into a new pattern of meeting the youngest two’s constant demands, while trying to free up the oldest to allow him the pleasure of homeschooling himself!

No parks, no playgrounds, no shopping and, worst of all, no grandparents. That is incomprehensible to an irate two-year-old who usually gets whatever he wants.

I sometimes wonder if he thinks he is being punished for the sleepless nights he has forced upon us.

Our lovely six-month-old, who thinks sleep is for losers, is back living in babygrows for the time being.

And so we continue our lockdown in a sleep-deprived haze, furious at those in a position to spend copious amounts of time watching Netflix in bed, and eternally grateful to all of those who are working tirelessly to keep our family safe.

We are living history. The challenges posed by Covid 19 are similar the world over but everybody’s experience of this emergency will be different. In this special series, ‘Lockdown Letters' gives our readers at home and across the globe an opportunity to share their stories about how the Coronavirus and the measures to tackle its spread are impacting their lives in these unprecedented times.

Please email your submission (400 words max.) to stories@independent.ie along with a photograph. We will publish as many letters as possible on Independent.ie and a selection in print every week.

Online Editors