A Week in “Given Up” and “Gained”
This week is “spring break” in our school district. We were supposed to be in Arizona, visiting family. We haven’t been there in over 3 years, but were forced to cancel our trip as the COVID-19 pandemic became more threatening.
The schools in Illinois are closed until April 30th, which means that in addition to not traveling for spring break, we are home, with three kids, and no daily assignments coming home from the teachers. While my husband and I attempt to work. Deep breaths.
We are now on Day 22 of our social distancing efforts. The first two weeks were the hardest. This week was hard for different reasons — needing to come up with our own ways to keep the kids occupied. But overall, I have come to accept a few things: 1) We are in this for the long haul, with our “shelter in place” order extended until at least April 30th 2) I cannot do it all and have to make peace with the bare minimum and 3) I will be tired all the time.
We have given up a lot. A normal week for us would have included eating out at least once, choir practice for our 10-year-old, Lego club for both the 10-year-old and 8-year-old, leaving the house to see my therapist, yoga, church, probably eating out at least once, maybe a play date, grocery shopping, and stopping at Starbucks on the way to day care for our toddler.
I have never planned so. many. days of activities at home. But now having survived the week of “spring break” I can say that we did the best that we could, given our confinement.
- On Monday, the kids did an indoor scavenger hunt, colored pictures of tigers (their school mascot) to hang in the front windows of the house, and wrote letters to the local hospital thanking medical staff for their efforts.
- On Tuesday, we did a “field trip” in the morning and dropped off some gifts for friends on their doorsteps. The 8-year-old took a class through Outschool called “Fight Germs Harry Potter Style!”
- On Wednesday, we did “cooking camp” and the kids made blueberry muffins in the morning, and then made dinner: pasta, roasted potatoes, and salad.
- On Thursday, we did “spring cleaning” and brought all of our outdoor furniture out of the garage where it had been stored for the winter. The toddler did a “Frozen Dance Class” on YouTube as well as a yoga class. The 10-year-old did an Outschool Harry Potter-themed class on setting goals.
- Today, we did another morning “field trip” to a Starbucks drive-thru(the company has been amazing in its response to the pandemic). We watched a bit of Bill Gates talking to Sal Khan on YouTube. We let the kids turn the living room into a fort and they are going to have a sleepover in there tonight. And spent part of the afternoon outside, savoring the sun as it neared 70 degrees.
Not a bad week. I printed out the daily schedule at the start of the week and it was on a clipboard in the kitchen, so the kids knew what to expect each day. They also got to have “extra” screen time each day, both in the morning and the afternoon. My husband and I alternated the morning and afternoon activities, with the other parent working.
When Illinois announced extending the school closures until April 30th, spring break was also extended by one day, now including Monday the 6th, to give teachers some time to prepare what the next few weeks will look like. So we have one more day to contend with (with a the weekend wedged between) but overall I can say that we survived spring break.
The week is going to be wrapped up with a movie tonight (“Hook” from 1991). My husband groaned a bit at the idea of one more thing but I pointed out that we have done nothing together all week. It has been one-adult-on-all-kids, but no time spent with all of us. We have popcorn and the living room forts, and will make it through this movie before collapsing into bed.