‘All You Can Eat’ in 14 Days
This is totally what unsupervised free play looked like in our place during lockdown and there was definitely no day drinking or swearing taking place whatsoever
Fresh out of the black hole of our teeny lockdown in NZ. 14 days this time, it’s nothing really. I’ve probably had bender weekends that lasted longer than that. (A particularly nefarious jaunt to Paris in my mid 20s springs to mind. The 12th arrondissement was never the same.) A mini-kin cease and desist, trifling in the global scheme of lockdowns. This time around, there wasn’t that edge of exhilaration in believing we were being invited to perform a starring role in a sci fi blockbuster about saving the world from an evil mutating virus, which caused people to sing from their pitiful window balconies. The first lockdown, it almost felt good to shut the front door and tell ourselves that while we might not have cared about mankind or the earth before, we did now, we were being good people. Courageous, alluring, movie star type people. No. This time, there was just a begrudging realisation that the one-hit-wonder film our agent had us signed up to had been replaced by a poorly received, low budget, spin-off TV series of the same name. One which will run for far too long, ruining our careers and ability to visit the hairdressers. PARENTING LOCKDOWN HACK: if you empower your children with the maturity and independence to choose and prepare their own food throughout the day, they will peacefully drain the house of every single item of junk food, down to the last button of baking chocolate and granule of coffee sugar. This, on top of my 8-year old’s own daily practice of stripping down to his boxers and pelting his seated little sister at close range with his Nerf Megalodon gun while on her class Zoom calls, meant long uninterrupted days for me. The kids would tiptoe past me into the pantry, stealthily close the door behind them and stand there, in the dark, as still as they could. Eventually, I would hear a faint crinkling sound as they unwrapped another item of contraband food, followed by slow, deliberate, careful munching. Once finished, they would slip out, giddy with adrenaline. Then, racked with nervous guilt, they would feign purity by cleaning their rooms or reading a book, before mustering up the hunger and courage for their next mission to the darkened room of snacky-snacks. Towards the end of the junk food running out, I saw my son – in an uncharacteristic fit of good table manners and tender brotherliness – carefully empty out of large tub of jam into two bowls with spoons for him and his sister. Once they realised there was no more processed flour or refined sugar to eat, they lost interest in their ritual of overeating, and started doing extraordinary things like eating full and proper meals, three times a day. After that, I never replaced them (the junk food I mean, the kids I am stuck with).