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Day 100: Wait, what?

It’s been one hundred days since the COVID shutdown began. You know how people with new babies say, “I can’t remember what life was like without her”? I can barely remember what life was like before the shutdown. I mean, I remember intellectually, but it doesn’t feel real anymore.

E often makes statements that begin with “After the coronavirus…” She has big plans, like a playdate with her friend and eating at a restaurant — things we wouldn’t have thought twice about four months ago.

There is definitely a part of me that doesn’t want to go back to driving, schlepping, extracurriculars, and over-scheduled days. But there’s still this sadness about the possibility that our world really has changed forever (although I’m a bit skeptical about that; major things happen and everyone says the world has changed, and then it just kind of goes back to status quo.)

Today is one of those days where I just need the kids to stop talking for five minutes. I’m irritable and so frustrated by how… slowly… they… do… everything. We played a game of Agricola and by the end I was rushing them along because all I really wanted was five minutes to myself to enjoy a bedtime snack without people watching me eat and sidling up to me with mouths upturned, like baby birds waiting for a regurgitated worm.

“Holy cow, R, just make a move already!”

“I’m thinking!

“You need to do your thinking while other people are taking their turns, then. N, you do realize there are negative points for having empty spaces, no animals, and no crops… right?”

He ended up with a grand total of 8 points (for those who don’t know the game, when good players play they might have fifty or sixty points at the end) to R’s 21 and my 32. Afterwards I wanted them to go to bed so badly that I volunteered to clean up all the pieces — and this game has a lot of pieces.

Anyhow, what I wanted to say was that other than the odd day here and there, I’m actually enjoying being all together as a family — almost like on our road trip, but not quite. On the road trip I had absolutely nothing to do other than be with my family. Everything was pre-planned, mapped out, and scheduled. I got to actually enjoy the things we did. The only way I could achieve that level of enjoyment being with my kids is if I took a full day every week to do all the planning, scheduling, and prep work… which isn’t a terrible idea, come to think of it, but something always comes up.

Like today, when we found mouse droppings in the basement storage room. Time to drop everything, clear out that room, clean up, plug up all holes in the masonry with steel wool and expanding foam, and set out some traps. It definitely took me away from things like doing math with E or reading to the kids.

So it’s been 100 days. Have we learned anything in that time? Well, I learned that my kids had huge gaps in their academic learning; that if I don’t make time for myself (and I don’t, sadly,) nobody else will; that I mostly enjoy having my kids around me; that some of my children function far better at home than at school. I’ve probably learned other things, too, but that’s what I’ve come up with tonight, still running on last night’s six hours of sleep (because I stayed up googling ways to help K overcome some of her academic issues). I guess I could claim that I’m 100 days smarter, if not better rested.

What have you learned in the last 100 days?

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