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a child’s eyes

I’d only just started walking when the coronavirus hit. Since then the biggest thing I’ve noticed is that Spring has truly sprung. The trees in the garden had white flowers in March. Then they died. Mummy’s not very green-fingered so she was worried that the trees were dead. But where the flowers were, I can now see plums on what she thought was a fig tree (I rest my case) and tiny green apples. The rose bush has also burst into life with eight glorious pink explosions.

When the Easter holidays started, my brother was given a project and had to grow tomatoes. Home from school he came with a tiny plant and we all had to put it into a new pot with lots of soil, which I tried to eat. In the last four weeks it’s more than doubled in size, despite my attempt to snap it in half. Its flowers have become tiny little peas now – Mummy says that they are actually tomatoes. My brother is very proud of this plant. I am not sure that this is justified as Daddy seems to have done all the hard work.

My nursery has refused to take me in the past weeks, despite the fact they have remained open and insisted that Mummy continue to pay. It’s best not to talk to her about it or she might start to shout. At least we can now eat breakfast together and look out the window. She’s normally in a rush and now she has nowhere to rush. Instead we spot the cats strolling by. They are very nonchalant, these cats, and brave to cross our garden. Mummy is a dog person. She doesn’t like cats. Thank god the glass is there to protect them.

We’ve also been watching the bird wars in our holly bush. It is actually more of a tree as our gardeners seem to have ignored it over the years. It is much higher than our conservatory – its prickly branches scrabble against the roof and right at the top is a big tangle of twigs. Each morning, an enormous crow flies across to this shrub and lands with an outburst of cawing. Minutes later he is joined by two magpies and the battle for the bush begins with a cacophony of argumentative birdsong. Mummy says that magpies are thieves but I’m not really sure who owns this primitive nest. But I do enjoy watching the big birds arguing over their rights. It reminds me of being at nursery when I want a toy all to myself. It really doesn’t matter who owns it. In that moment it has to be mine.

My brother hasn’t been able to go to school so he’s been trying to do his lessons online. For the first few weeks I didn’t know what this meant. I happily deconstructed the kitchen, removing everything from cupboards and decanting what I could onto the floor whilst Mummy and my brother fought with their laptops and one another, disregarding my antics until the end of the day when Mummy used lots of words I’m not meant to know and am certainly not allowed to repeat.

After a few weeks, I realised that not only can I walk but I can also climb. Mummy and big brother, sitting aside one another on the bench, weren’t so delighted about my new ability to haul myself up and insert myself between them. Not only that, but I have discovered the joy of laptops: they have lots of buttons to be pressed. And because I have two laptops to choose from, I can cause maximum destruction. Mummy has started calling me Conan the Destroyer instead of Sprout. She shouts quite a lot when I try to play with her laptop. Doesn’t she realise that everything within my grasp is mine?

Another benefit of us all being housebound is that Mummy doesn’t go to big supermarkets anymore. Despite being English, she doesn’t really like queuing and she grew rather fed up with all the big shops declaring that they had run out of toilet rolls. Were people wrapping themselves up in them to ward off the virus? Luckily my Daddy is Swiss and organised, and Mummy discovered that there was lots of loo roll in the cellar. As I still wear nappies, the big ‘Loo Roll Crisis of 2020’ has completely passed me by.

Now that she doesn’t drive to the big shops it means that we can walk to the small ones. I like to do this every day. I discovered an old Ikea toy trolley that used to belong to my brother. I take it everywhere, and in the last eight weeks one of my greatest pleasures has been to toddle up the road to Spar with it. I like to go via a stony path where it makes a really good rattling noise. This probably annoys all our neighbours but at least they know that I’m out and about. It’s also a good receptacle for the stones I pick up along the way.

In the shop, I can dash about seizing strawberry punnets and pouches of pureed fruit. I like to surprise Mummy at the checkout with the extra items. Given that she has to stand two metres away from the person in front and really doesn’t want to go through the rigmarole of queuing up to pay all over again, she’s forced to buy my special selections. When we get up to the checkout, I normally manage to swipe a Snickers bar and bite into the wrapping, horrifying the well-behaved Swiss folk behind me. Once again, Mummy’s forced to pay up. Unfortunately, I am not old enough to eat these chocolate delights no matter how hard I scream for them. My loss is Daddy’s gain.

What more I can say about the past eight weeks is that I am sad that Nanna and Grandpa cannot visit us. They were on holiday in Spain when all this happened. They are still there and don’t know when they can leave. We have our fingers crossed that they will be here in the summer holidays. My brother will be devastated if they aren’t. He was also meant to have had his first Holy Communion on the 17th May and now it’s been cancelled. He was really looking forward to it. I am not sure why as he always kicks up a fuss when we have to go to mass. I think it might have had something to do with the presents he was hoping to get.

His godparents are disappointed that they cannot come from England to see us either. Godmother Mary manages orchestral tours and doesn’t even know if she’ll have a job when this is all over. Godfather Graham has a job with a name I don’t understand, but Mummy tells me he has to stick tiny tubes inside people to make their hearts work. He can’t work at the moment because he has cancer himself and his hospital has been really rubbish about giving him protective clothing. One morning he found himself operating at 2am on an 80-year-old coronavirus-infected man who was bleeding to death, and the assisting nurse had to go and beg another surgical team to give him a mask to wear. That’s something else that makes Mummy annoyed.

Mummy might be shouting more these days but I have loved this big ‘at home’ adventure. I’ve watched a season change, learned to run and climb and notice things, and I have spent so much more time with Mummy, Daddy and my brother than I would have if this had not happened. Mummy has also saved lots of money by not going to the shops and maybe one day will have enough to buy me a pony, one I can fit into my trolley.