Honest Motherhood: A healthy dose of imagination 

A recent column for The Wokingham Paper:
It’s not something I ever pictured: being housebound during pregnancy. But I’m embracing the unique situation, as best I can, just like every other human at the moment. We’re all just doing our best to, in my case, plod along, with as much humour and positivity as we can muster. 
Some days are easier than others. Though I am acutely aware it could be a lot worse. I am, after all, healthy and still able to experience all of the magical moments one goes through when growing a baby. 
My partner and I get excited every time the little one moves, and kicks have become these sacred pockets of time, where everything feels alright again. A comforting reminder of all the things we have to look forward to after this cruel pandemic is over. 
I’ve taken to making lists, whilst Maia has taken to creating artwork, every single day. And always including her new sibling. She’s doing a bit of everything: illustrated story books (an ongoing project), the usual mould-your-own-anything from the squidgy goop, and painted rocks with googly eyes, each resembling a member of the family. 
“This is you Mummy!” she says, holding up a small pebble found in the garden, with eyes. 
“Gosh it’s uncanny..”. 
“And this is me and this is the baby. I tried to make Joel but I ran out of googly eyes.”
I have now adopted what one would call a rather “relaxed” approach to Maia’s schoolwork. (Otherwise known as the path of least resistance.) Mainly because I have lost the will to fight. One must pick their battles wisely. And I do not believe, at six years old, she will fall desperately behind her peers doing what I would accurately refer to as: the bare minimum. 
I also currently have very little patience and would much rather see her happily painting a rock than attempt to force her into perfecting the art of subtraction. I made this mistake a few days ago and it did not end well. I merely tried to encourage her to persist, with my help, at something she wasn’t so confident in. “How will you get better if you don’t practice?!”. 
It was not worth the tears. Hers or mine. In the end I gave in and turned all the minus signs into plus signs so she’d finish the exercise. She didn’t. 
Both her Dad and I have ordered enough workbooks to keep her going for a good couple of months, so she does a little every day, though not without some defiance. 
“I wish you and Daddy would stop buying me workbooks!”. 
Understandably, she’d much rather be creating humans out of rocks (or boxes..). I don’t blame her. 
This, combined with regular reading, gives me some confidence that she will be absolutely fine education-wise. Whilst her classroom and playground learning may be at a standstill, her imagination is still as sharp as ever. 
Which I suppose, given the current climate, is exactly what one needs. A healthy dose of child-like imagination. 

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