I survived. We survived. I can only sum up the first week of my kids’ virtual learning and my husband and I working from home as pure chaos and total pandemonium, sprinkled with moments of hysteria, flashes of anger and mixed with tears, hugs, more tears, lots of kisses and cuddles.
Here are my 15 revelations (aha moments) from this first week:
1. I should just let my 4-year-old just keep her pjs on.
I tried having her pick out her clothes the night before. I tried bribing her with a chocolate chip cookie at 7 a.m. I tackled her onto the floor and peeled the P.J.s off her. She just wants to keep them on. But maybe if I changed out of my sweats/pjs, that would help?
2. Tantrums are back in full force.
I thought tantrums were only for toddlers. You know, those tantrums where they fall onto the ground, wailing, flailing all their limbs, crying so much they seem like they stopped breathing. And then find their breath and start screeching again. Tantrums are back in full force here. My husband found me on the bathroom floor one afternoon screeching and rolling around because my Microsoft Teams meeting had frozen. Again.
3. I should have bought a crap ton of stickers — maybe I still can.
Why don’t we have more stickers? How can I get more stickers? Are stickers considered a non-essential item? Maybe they would be considered essential items if the COVID19 Gods saw the wrestling/tackling/pulling of hair/screaming/smacking that occurred between my kids over the last packet of dinosaur stickers.
4. Get them out of the house every day. Multiple times a day.
We have fake nature walks in the city. We just run up and down sidewalks, run past the swings and slides (before another tantrum occurs.) I am not a jealous person, but right now, for anyone who has a yard with a fence, I am super jealous of you. Yes, super jealous.
5. Disney+, we love you.
Thank you, Disney. And thank you to my brother and sister-in-law for their login and password (please don’t tell Disney). Thank you, Disney, for releasing Frozen 2 early, for Elena of Avalor, for Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, for Brave, Tangled, Mulan, Mohana… If I could kiss you, I would. Maybe after this self- quarantine ends.
6. Alternating parenting shifts with my husband are working. Kind of.
Every night, we go over the essential meetings that we each have for the next day. And when we need coverage. So far, it’s working. Kind of.
7. My kids are part of my work meetings and that's OK.
I introduce my kids at the start of meetings to wave and say quick hellos. Especially if my husband and I have to take meetings at the same time. Kids are less likely to interrupt if they can feel included from the beginning. Then, they are sitting with their new best friend Disney+. Thank you, Disney+.
8. Get the kids to make their own lunch.
I don’t have to pack their lunches anymore! YAASSSS!
9. I am loving virtual playdates.
One of the moms in my son’s class set up a reoccurring one-hour Google hangouts in the afternoon. My son takes my phone and chats with his friends. It has made him super happy to see his friends daily. And gives me a solid hour to do work while my daughter keeps watching Disney +.
10. Apparently my 7-year-old and 4-year-old need their own iPhones and iPads to keep up with their personal appointments.
I am racing to keep track of all of the appointments coming in. My son already had two conflicts with two Zoom meetings last week. My daughter still needs supervision with all of her Zoom meetings. Is the self-quarantine period over yet?
11. I haven’t accessed or looked at a single link that shows all the extra things you can do with the kids — and I shouldn't feel bad about it.
Please stop sending me extra links of crap we will never look at. It’s 1 p.m. and we all still have our pjs on.
12. I didn’t create a fort. That’s just not happening — and I shouldn't feel bad about it, either.
I don’t understand how one creates elaborate indoor forts with pillows, blankets, more pillows, sheets and stringing up lights and crap. Not happening. And please don’t send me any links on how to create a fort.
13. We are still struggling to get a set schedule down and we're getting used to every day being different.
The suggested school schedule just doesn’t work for us at home. They aren’t with their friends or the teachers they love and respect. And they're not in their assigned seats in their classrooms. Right now, every day looks different than the day before. Congrats to all of you who have the schedule written down on the white board. A round of applause to those whose kids wrote their own schedules. It’s 3 p.m. and my 4 year-old is still in her pjs.
14. The weekends are more important than ever.
My kids woke up Saturday morning at 7 a.m. They thought it was time for school and sat at their designated workstations. I can’t look at another BOB book for at least 48 hours.
How can we make the weekends seem like weekends? We are trying to do pancakes on Saturday morning, taking the kids for bike rides (note, that doesn’t include us on bikes, it means we just chase them) and arts and crafts on Sunday. And more Disney+, please.
15. Drinking every night is probably not the best idea.
I can’t drink every night. I mean, of course I can drink every night, but I shouldn’t. Self-quarantine is doing wonders for my skin (not so much my roots and eyebrows), so I don’t need all that sugar from the prosecco. Meanwhile, my husband just ordered two more bottles of scotch. Clearly, he doesn’t agree.