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Half of his life in lockdown

G's contribution to our Stay Home collecting project

We live in a two bed flat in south London. There's me, my husband, our three month old baby and our little dog.

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A person holding a baby behind a window with posters of rainbows in front
Me holding my son to the window. He has spent half of his life hearing us clap for key workers each week.

In what ways has the coronavirus pandemic changed the way you use your home?

With our baby being new to the world we've had to try to find fun ways to make our flat entertaining for him. All rooms are filled with as much colour and music as we can.

We have a small outside area where we have hung colourful bunting and interesting things for him to look at.

We realised that he has spent half of his life in lockdown. He hasn't been able to see his grandparents or aunties/uncles since he was about one month old.

A baby sleeping on pillows and blankets on the floor
We meet other families at our baby classes held over Zoom and we spend our days singing nursery rhymes and looking out the window.

How do you feel about your home? How have these feelings changed?

We like our little home, it's a safe space. We're very fortunate to have it. It's small but we have everything we need.

How does staying at home affect your relationships?

It has made us truly appreciate how lucky we are to have our families. This time has given us a chance to spend amazing quality time with our baby and we are so lucky to have him. It has meant we have kept in touch with family and friends more over video chat than we are usually able as we have the time to video chat as much as we all want.

What do you appreciate most about your home? What do you find frustrating?

We appreciate the cosiness and familiarity of it. This is our home and it's our safe space during these uncertain times. In this space all is ok and safe.

We can give our baby a happy place to enjoy his time whilst we are in lockdown. He doesn't know what's going on outside and all he knows is mummy and daddy and so we want to make this time as special and fun for him as we can.

The thing we find tricky is that the outside space is very small, we have no grass. We've tried to make it fun for our son with colourful decorations.

Colourful bunting hanging in a a garden
Our outside yard space. It is small but filled with colour and we hope our son and dog enjoy being out there.

How has lockdown changed your habits or routines at home?

With a new baby we've found it helps to try to form a routine to help him with a structure. We'd normally be going out to parks regularly or visiting family or having people visit us.

So because we can't do that we try to have time set aside in the day for specific play time for the baby including sing and sign classes over zoom with other local parents.

We try to fit in exercise classes from YouTube – mainly in the morning after the baby has been fed and then we try to take our daily walk early too. We video chat friends and family almost daily too so that our son can start to recognise them hopefully.

How is your sense of home affected by your neighbours or those living nearby?

We have had to time our daily walk so that we avoid busy times of day where others are doing their walk. With a new baby and a dog to keep safe we prefer to go out early for our walk. As our outside spaces are so close together we have to make sure not everyone is out at the same time so as to maintain social distancing.

We have to therefore limit our time out in the yard as much as possible. A positive though is seeing everyone come to their doors/windows each week for the clap for the key workers – it's a chance to engage with those living around us from a distance.

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