...many (many?) more to go. Overall it was a good week though minus up and down anxiety about the state of the world and how strict to be with social distancing. It even almost felt normal to have the boys home all week. Maybe my brain is just stuck on spring break mode.
Our daily schedule
Our approach to "homeschool" is very laid back and so far we don't have a lot of structure to our days. Our boys are really calm and tend to be more agreeable (ahem) in the morning so I've found that to be a great time to set them up with play dough or kinetic sand and put on an audiobook for them to listen to. Sometimes they'll listen to an audiobook for two+ hours! Especially Dash. Harry Potters #1-3 are on repeat at our house. After that we might bake something, try out some kind of video (Cosmic Kids Yoga, Raising Wonder art videos), or do some outside play. Then it's lunch time with an hour of quiet rest time afterwards. After rest time my mom has sometimes taken the boys out for an outdoor adventure to ride bikes or explore an open area (no playgrounds). Then it's dinner prep/play followed by dinner and bedtime. Honestly it would all be very cozy if it weren't for the context of a global pandemic. Or, it is cozy but also scary and weird at the same time.
We aren't concerned about trying to advance the boys academically while they're out of school although we are doing lots of audiobooks and some worksheets. But honestly our other activities like baking, play dough, etc. are educational for their ages. Our district has said they will start providing distance learning at the end of the month so we'll see what that looks like. People are sharing so many resources for at-home learning and engagement it's almost overwhelming. We haven't done any consistent screen time with the boys previously and don't want to ramp up screen time too much although we also aren't stressing about them getting more screen time than usual.
A couple changes I would like to make would be to create a loose structure for the boys so they have a bit of predictability in their days. I think they would also like feeling like they are part of determining what we do in a day. I like an idea shared by Elise where her girls pick three things to do each day and choose from a long list like "read quietly, make a piece of art, bake something, do a math worksheet, etc." Perhaps we could have morning audiobook/play time, followed by something outside, and then spend the rest of the day letting them choose their three things.
I also think we need to make snacks more independent. We don't have designated snack times at our house but with the boys home all day everyday they are asking for a lot of snacks. We don't mind them eating snacks when they want them but it would be nice to have them just help themselves. I think we need to designate a drawer or bin in the fridge and one in the pantry filled with snacks they can have any time (cheese sticks, fruit, healthy-ish snack bars).
How the boys are doing
The boys' attitudes have been so good. I'm so proud of them. Kids are so resilient! I do think Dash especially is missing school though. He loves school and I know he's missing the structure. He's asked to turn in the worksheets he's doing to his teacher and that breaks my heart a little. Which is not to say we haven't had rough patches. One of my boys is a bit more likely to be skeptical/disappointed when we make suggestions about our next activity. I've found myself having to say very earnestly, "I know this is hard. But I'm doing the best I can." I think they do get that. And I also get that they feel disappointed and sad about these changes even as we are having pretty fun days and that's okay too. Lots of opportunity for empathy and understanding going both ways.
How I'm feeling
Pretty good all things considered. Although the greater implications for businesses is really worrisome I'm glad that Arizona has now shut down restaurants, bars, gyms, etc. along with our schools. I hope this means we are taking the measures necessary to slow the spread of COVID19 and will ultimately translate to this alternative lifestyle ending earlier.
What Chris and I are talking about right now is if we should restrict the boys playing outside with friends which we have been allowing them to do. As I said previously our outlook right now is that we won't regret taking precautions but we could regret not being cautious enough. We don't know how much other families are out in the world and interacting with other people. Considering that we are interacting with my mom plus we'll have a newborn any day it feels like we should close our circle even further. This weighs heavily on my heart because they boys have so much fun with neighbor friends and I know how hard it will be to tell them they can't go play at all after they've done such a great job following our directions to only be outside. Plus their friends will probably still be playing outside together.
It's so strange and sad that something as mundane as my weekly trip to Trader Joe's is now fraught with worry about exposure and empty shelves. And that I'm no longer the one to do it. We decided Chris will be running errands from now on and he's started wearing the mask he wears when biking on low air quality days. So far we've been able to find just about everything we want/need at the grocery store or find substitutions (crunchy peanut butter instead of creamy is NOT going over well unfortunately). I'm very eager to see grocery stores stocked as normal although see no predictions/indications of when that might happen. Chris went out this morning to get groceries but found a long line waiting to get into Trader Joe's so decided to try again later. Maybe we'll call to ask what time of day might be best.
At this point we aren't low on toilet paper because I purchased a new pack the week before the TP hoarding started and at home Chris and I are only using our bidet + cloth wipes for drying (bidet for the win!). We are trying to do nightly wipe downs of most-touched door handles, light switches, etc. with Lysol wipes and we have two containers of those left although I went through one in a week. I'll start being more judicious in their use. We also have about four packs of baby wipes. Literally the only baby thing we didn't stock up on. Who could have predicted aisles of baby wipes would be emptied out in the weeks before our baby arrived?! However, we can use our reusable wipes if needed (we also have a set of cloth diapers handed down from a friend) and/or I know I can reach out to friends to see who might have a pack of wipes to spare. One friend already reached out to me to drop off some wipes which was so kind! We were just able to order wipes through Amazon to be delivered in early April so that feels like a relief.
For the weekend
When I woke up this morning I thought about how Saturdays should be prenatal yoga, a soccer game, maybe a birthday party, or a date night with Chris. Normal Saturday things that are now taboo. It's so weird. I'm not sure I can stop saying that.
Mostly we're just on baby watch right now. Eeeek! That is definitely a happy and exciting event that keeps my spirits up (with just a little bit of worry about bringing a baby into the world in the middle of a global pandemic. Look at these words that I am writing!!)
That's the update from here. Hope you are finding little comforts and joys, friends. Reach out to friends to check on them or if you're feeling anxious or low. It really helps to be reminded that we aren't alone even if we are physically more isolated.