.:33:. School Closed | Home Open

In what felt like a quick moment, the world shook like a snow globe and we were all sealed inside our homes for safe containment – waving from behind glass… or at least six feet away. Now, taking on new roles with new “to-do” lists expected to tackle multi-tasking at a whole new level. Being a full-time-work-from-home-co-parenting-educator was not a career path I envisioned and definitely not a title I imagined engraved on my new office door (It’s also slightly too big for most standard plaques).

However, haven’t we all survived and thrived in this world because of the challenges we’ve tackled? The obstacles we’ve overcome? The right person who encouraged us? We are here because we derived from that one ancestor who was either a risk taker, an innovator, or maybe just in the right place at the right time. Survival of the fittest has a new definition today. A definition that requires the willingness to understand new forms of communication through technology, along with creative thinking by tapping into some old school home economics – revealing valuable skills like sewing, cooking from scratch, and whipping out the shears for a classic bowl cut. But perhaps the most important aspect of survival just may be refined juggling skills. Mastering a balance with a rhythm while keeping all entertained is a talent that takes patience, trial and error, organization and historically – clown school… 

Not gonna lie, some days have felt like clown school. Nothing against the mastery – besides the nightmares that haunted me as a child. But, really – it’s all about the art of juggling – not the reputation, shiny shoes, loud colors or noisy accessories. Although, those may be useful…

It’s been 1 month since a Friday bell rang at my kids’ school and spring break was in session. We are now about to start week 5 of distance learning with the new knowledge that school will not open up again until the fall. So, we continue to provide some mediocre schooling with crossed fingers – hoping we aren’t failing them. Our focus has shifted on what’s important – blending those vital skills with good old play. Last week’s home-ec involved learning about growing our own food as well as mask making and homemade sanitizer – just your basic activities of daily living… in a pandemic.

With school closed and home open, new motions have taken place of old habits. Colored Post-its that fill the wall, are finally starting to methodically move from “to-do” to “done” with visible progress that conclude in high-fives. Our calendar is ever evolving: with a mix of work needs between two adults and school expectations between two children, while finding new ways to keep a home in order… like turning laundry into a math game, dishes into a science activity, and dance parties for PE. We’ve adapted to one another’s needs with an open mind and transparent understanding that this will not be perfect.

With school closed and home open for (what feels like) business, we are clocking-in the moment we wake and clocking-out when our heads finally hit a pillow. Yes, I know this is how parenting works anyway but this is a new form of exhaustion. Mixing working life with life as the reading and writing teacher, the gym teacher and lunch lady, the science and math instructor, the new (and heavily under-trained) IT resource. From the comfort of our homes we are all trying to figure out how to live in discomfort. How to manage like normal, but this isn’t normal. At least, not the same familiar ‘normal’. It is a new normal for now and just may indefinitely change the way we function as a family, how our kids learn and how we work as employees.

With school closed and home open we now have a chance to stop and go a little slower – something we all need. Even on days when us parents feel like all the things might be drowning us, our little life savors sit on the side always ready to grab us, ready for a hug, quick to forgive, and incredibly adaptable. They may need school but they really want us. So, if you can squeeze it in – take time to sit with them. Learn from them. Chalk up the driveway, cook with them, go on a bike ride, plant something, just BE… for even a moment. At the same time, give yourself a break and a pat on the back. This is not easy, this is not perfect, but I believe we can all master the juggle with minimal tools (maybe keep the shiny shoes).

.:9:. 415 days later. quite a maze

girls on grass

I was hoping to post something when my girls turned 1.  However, I was a bit busy with birthday planning – you know the ‘event of the year’ that your kids will never remember.  Still, you put your all into it so you can justify all those wasted hours on Pinterest creating a ‘Birthday Board’ with 113 grand ideas.  I mean c’mon, when they’re 18 I’d feel terrible if they look through pictures and wonder why I didn’t hand make everything. So I guess the late nights filled with sewing, glueing, painting and fancy chalk writing is all worth it!?… Lucky for me, I actually enjoy this kind of stuff.  For some women I know this isn’t the case and society has put way too much pressure on Moms to create this “homemade life” for their kids.

SO, 415 days later (almost 14 months old now) and what a year we’ve had… A whirlwind, a roller coaster, whatever you may call it. Now, I look back at the months past and imagine the years ahead and I would consider it quite a MAZE! An unpredictable experience filled with excitement and uncertainty, you know you will eventually get through.  A labyrinth of smiles, drool, bite marks, bumps, bruises, tears, giggles, and children’s songs you could sing in your sleep… on repeat.  Nothing expected, but everything imagined.

Favorite quote of the year, from my husband Jason (while changing diapers)…”It’s like wrestling gators!”.  Thank god for this man who had never changed a diaper prior to having two babies of his own.  He dove in so fast, you’d think he was a professional gator wrestler.

*Note: I now believe that if we were ever stuck in the everglades amongst gators, we would be well prepared.

Since this is our first summer with all feet on the ground (stair climbers+walkers), no more army crawl or tummy time, we’ve had a little more excitement in the house. Two walkers going in two different directions is equally comical/nerve wrecking/and slightly stressful.  They walk as if in a drunken stooper and just when you think your entire house is baby proofed, they find a way to injure themselves. Along with walking comes a whole new level of independence! They no longer want their nails clipped.  I can hear the gawkers now – “ewe, there’s those world record babies with the longest nails”.  Don’t worry, I clip their nails but (again), this is one of those gator wrestling moments and these are angry thrashing gators.  Another fun sign of independence: they can now touch the top of their heads – like little ballerinas (can you picture it?).  Although when they decide that their sweet smelling baby soft hair needs to be touched, their dainty little twirly fingers are usually full of mango, peas, pasta, applesauce, you name it.  I don’t want to brag or anything, but we may have invented a new fancy hair pomade… (patent pending).  The ending result is usually a nice glistening crust that seems to hold even the most obscure styles.

A year of watching two babies grow has been interesting.  They are so different.  I love it so much, I can hardly handle it.  Seriously, It becomes hard to handle and keep everything straight (who did what and when) – this is why I write.  I keep separate journals for both, but this is just another way to remember this experience.

To all you soon-to-be moms, new moms, or moms continuing to grow their families: keep your heads up, cry as much as you want, sing those silly songs as loud as you can, do those crazy dances that make your little ones giggle so much they hiccup, hug those babies even when they are squirmy and screaming, and love love love this life you are given. As hard as it may be at times, it is a beautiful maze of never ending moments to relish in.