Today I had a whole bag of “NO” with my kids’ names on it.
No, I’m not making breakfast for everyone. You guys are perfectly capable. (They made pancakes and waffles)
No, you cannot have my phone.
No, do not whine at me.
No, I’m not in charge of entertaining you.
No, you may not take a bath after your bedtime. You should have done it an hour ago when I suggested it.
No, you may not go live with your grandparents because you’re sick of being stuck here with us. You’re not the only one who wants out.
I felt so adrift today that I had to either laugh or cry. Since crying usually leaves me with a nasty headache, I decided to laugh. “Let’s make a list of things we could do today,” I said. Here’s what we came up with:
Things to do during the COVID lockdown:
- Break into the zoo. (“The animals are still there,” Mr. December reasoned, “and it won’t be crowded at all!”)
- Take a leisurely stroll down the Allen Expressway
- Organize a mass protest against the spread of COVID-19
- Turn roped-off playground equipment into emergency housing for homeless people
- We could build a tree fort in our yard
- Plant some seeds. Sit around and watch them grow
- Watch some movies
- Perform an entire play complete with costumes and sets
- Play front porch charades with the neighbours
- Give up and go back to bed.
Number 10 was clearly the favourite among the adults, but the kids nixed it. We did some screen time; I had a nap; I learned that you can make some decent hair elastics out of old pantyhose; I sewed some masks (the kids helped me turn them right-side-out); we played scrabble; I coloured on our wall mural with E. The kids talked or yelled constantly. I finally indulged in some primal scream therapy, which the kids thought was an absolute scream.
The kids are all in bed now. Although I spent the day feeling alternately bored, frustrated, and exhausted, now I can finally follow my dreams… give up, go back to bed, and check off number 10 on my way there.