Lockdown Dad: Sourdough has kept me going the past weeks. Although not as much as my amazing wife and kids

Lockdown Dad: Sourdough has kept me going the past weeks. Although not as much as my amazing wife and kids

THERE is no concrete news about lifting restrictions as I write. But the soundings from Dr Tony Holohan and the Government are clear — Abandon All Hope. In other news, my kids aren’t getting any older and I managed a loaf of sourdough that didn’t make my wife laugh.

How old are yours? I’ve basically forgotten how old my kids are. It’s a tricky question at the best of times — in my mind, they are still three years of age. (My mother tells me that a parent never really moves beyond that, even when their boy has grey hair and leaves out a groan when he sits down.)

The boy I’ve been calling my five-year-old is now six. There was no big party or pile of presents to mark the occasion, so my mind still has him registered as five. The coronavirus has broken time and there is nothing I can do about it. The boy remains five until restrictions are lifted. His sister is due to move from seven to eight in late July. If that can’t happen thanks to you know what, then I’ll lose my mind. And so will you.

Giddy Fitz: That’s what I’m calling my daughter after the first Zoom call with her buddies last night. She’s been lovely over the past seven weeks, since the teachers handed us back our kids, and screeched out of the car-park on two wheels. (Messing. I love my kids’ teachers almost as much as they do.)

I assumed my daughter wasn’t really missing her school buddies. Then the Zoom call started. She started kicking her legs uncontrollably and was like a daft puppy whose owner just walked in the door from work. The legs don’t lie — she misses her buddies more than she’s letting on.

I sat there and watched the mayhem you get when 10 seven-year-olds try to use Zoom. One thought came to mind — I’m glad I’m not their teacher.

Busy, busy, busy: Speaking of missing things, the kids started reminiscing about their swimming

lessons over breakfast this morning. I enjoyed the banter — their swimming is a foreign country to me because my wife brings them, or at least used to. (I stood in once and still have nightmares about trying to get a rubber swimming cap onto a seven-year-old girl with hair like Rapunzel.) After a while though, it made me feel sad about the life they can’t lead any more. I don’t think this lockdown will scar them in any way. (My wife said she read a story about a woman from Bosnia who missed four years of school due to the war there, and since went on to have a get a degree in Australia.) But it’s still rubbish they can’t go swimming. This led to a discussion about the activities we had them doing, back when you could do activities. (I counted four.)

My wife reckons we should scale them back and go for a slower pace of life when the lockdown is lifted. I think she might be on to something. I also think that when the restrictions are lifted, it might be nice to see very little of the kids for a few months. So maybe we’ll push the activity count up to six.

Things are looking up: Good news on the sourdough front. Before this week, I made two attempts to bake sourdough from scratch. The only good thing you could say about them is they made everyone in the house laugh. Even the cat had a giggle, and she’s a cat.

This week, I did something that doesn’t come naturally to a lot of men. I followed the instructions to the very last full stop. I also found a website called theclevercarrot.com, run by a woman who knows her baking.

The key was to bake the bread in a cast-iron pot, in the oven, with the lid on for 20 minutes so it can rise, then 20 minutes off so you get a crust. It worked. I nearly wept tears of joy.

Sourdough has kept me going the past weeks. Although not as much as my amazing wife and kids.

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