Self-isolating, potty training and grief

I wasn’t expecting to be writing again so soon but with the current plan to implement social distancing and self-isolation as much as possible, there doesn’t seem much else to do! This isn’t meant to be a ‘woe is me’ post at all- there’s enough misery and anxiety around at the moment!

Last week, I attempted to potty train Ezra for 3 days. That is seriously how long I lasted. By day 3 of staying inside the house and staring at Ezra’s willy (so I could put him straight on the potty if he even dribbled) I had mopped up a lot of fluids and I was a crying mess! Poor Sam got the brunt of it as I was snapping and tearing my hair out. Now, I understand that potty training can be stressful- you are literally spending every minute fixated on poo and wee and getting them in a pot- but I’m not sure the lack of success warranted such a nervous breakdown from me. Sam said “you shouldn’t be getting so stressed out by potty training” and actually I had to agree with him. When I really thought about it, this wasn’t about potty training (although saying “Wee goes in the potty, not on the floor!” for the 18th time is enough to send anyone insane). This was really about being stuck in the house.

Potty in front of the TV!

I hadn’t realised how important making plans with others, having little things to look forward to and most importantly fresh air was for helping me cope with daily life without Etta. When she first died I remember channelling a quote from About Time when the Mum loses her husband.

I am so uninterested in a life without Etta.

I didn’t want to die but I didn’t want to live in a world without her. But I think as little as a month after her death, I started thinking I need to fill the days somehow and do anything possible to try and participate in life again- for Ezzie, for Sam and for myself. So I started meeting with friends more, booking a holiday, going on fun day trips as a family of 3. Sam and I often say we are just trying to fill the days until… Well we’re not sure what 🤷‍♀️ But I suppose we are trying to fill our time until we feel a little more healed.

Another day- another day trip!

Once I realised what it was doing to my mental health, potty training was no more! No amount of poo in a nappy/ carpet is worth that river of tears.

So what about now we have no choice but to distance ourselves from others? How am I going to stop myself drowning in my grief? Well I think the first thing that is different to last week is there is already an amazing sense of camaraderie- both online and in real life. People are suddenly becoming more neighbourly again and checking in on each other which actually gives me a sense of hope that the world is still fundamentally a good place, despite all the shit that is in it. I’d like to think it’s that, rather than I selfishly enjoy other people suffering along with me!

Also, I know how lucky we are to be young and healthy. If we get Coronavirus, we will no doubt bounce back (even if it means trying to look after a toddler when we are both bed bound 😱) If Etta was still alive, she would be one of the most vulnerable. I would be terrified and we would all have been self-isolating for weeks already. My heart aches for those who have vulnerable family members and are anxiously trying to keep them safe.

Safe from the outside in her incubator ❤️

So just another way Etta has made me into a better person. Without her, I’d probably be whingeing about having to entertain a 2 year old at home and having my theatre outings cancelled. Maybe I’d even think about ignoring government advice and take Ezzie out to a soft play to save my sanity. (Although I’d like to think not!) But I feel even more strongly now about protecting those who couldn’t bounce back. For some people this is life and death. We are going to have so much to deal with once this is over but here’s hoping that people can pull together.

And thirdly, I spent £40 on amazon prime on craft stuff this morning- that’s got to entertain Ezzie for at least 2 minutes right?!?!

3 thoughts on “Self-isolating, potty training and grief

  1. Emm, you write so beautifully and in a way that everyone can relate to everything you say.

    Potty training was so hard for me too. I think in the end I made a game of it and that seemed to work ……but only for daytime. Nights remained a problem for ages.

    I wish you and your special family all safety and good health whilst Coronavirus touches all our lives.

    Etta’s brief life had such a profound impact on everyone, taught us such important lessons and she will stay with us all, always.


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