The Baby’s got a Ketwig. A grown out, shapeless mop of hair courtesy of the coronavirus pandemic and barber closures. It curls under his earlobes and reminds me of the mullet that I accidentally let him grow when he was 18 months old. It looks better these days but is missing the goldenness of his infancy and the smell of Johnson’s baby shampoo that you could smell when they fall asleep on your chest.
I haven’t been in any shop for two months. I’m on the same tank of petrol I was on around the time of my last school run. We spend the days doing school work, which the teacher emails to me, and playing. On Saturdays and Sundays I try and establish some semblance of a weekend by letting him have the Switch back and knocking the learning on the head. Sometimes I do that on Mondays too. Occasionally Tuesdays. I don’t suppose it really matters anymore. There’s no rush.
The only grown ups I’ve seen are his dad who does the shopping in between my online big shops, and my parents on drive-by waves. We text more. We FaceTime. The baby practises his reading while my parents tilt their iPad and never get it quite right. We host online quizzes that we would never have thought to do before and me and my friends, who all feel alone in different ways right now, have an hour once a week where we are all together.
Living is slower, but it depends on technology. I bought a tree online. A tree. We are getting back to basics – the Baby’s got a Ketwig, I’m cooking more fresh food. We are looking after our homes and gardens, communicating more, being grateful for memories, missing loved ones, spending more time with our children – but the basics are obtained via click n collect, or downloaded from online resources for parents, declarations of affection on social media, conversations in little boxes on the screen.
Many years ago there was a nerdy meme which was a spoof of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, with ‘the internet’ badly edited in to the pyramid of basic human needs as absolutely fundamental. It doesn’t seem so flippant now.