Day 23

Today is my day ‘off’ the kids. It is just as well, as my knee is killing me. I haven’t left the house in four days and my P.E. regimen is limited to hanging out the washing. It is beyond frustrating to be back at square one.

Rev G is in charge of homeschooling and has a bad start. He can’t get into the daily Zoom meeting. It is only when the call is almost over that we realise the teacher is setting up a NEW link every day, and we missed it as it was right down the bottom of an email.

The school uses a communication/story sharing site called Educa, which quite frankly, is pants. Using it as the main method of communication with parents is tricky, because sometimes we are sent direct messages while other times it’s sent as a group story. It makes finding the correct information harder. But it is what it is. There are lots of things to iron out in this new way of schooling, and as the child of a teacher, I am fully aware of the hard work that must have gone into producing the teaching plan.

I’m friends with one of the mums whose kid is in the same class as my kids. The schoolwork pressure and technical difficulties have brought her to tears today. She knows our school has no expectation for kids to do work if it’s too much for parents, but it doesn’t stop her from feeling like a failure. Lockdown is not a walk in the park at her house, and she finds the relentlessly positive “I’m using this opportunity to be my best self/learn swahili/deep clean the fireplace” social media posts just make her feel inadequate.

image via Pexels

She manages not to throw her laptop out the window, takes a deep breath, and puts on the telly for the kids. Lockdown sucks.

My children’s teacher has messaged the plan for the day so Rev G and the kids go off for a walk to do their maths assignment. They make a tally sheet to mark off all the soft toys they see. They come back with a detailed sheet, including real animals they spotted along the way, like ducks. Both children do some maths on different apps that the school uses. I don’t like too much device time, but it does give Miss E some much needed time away from her brother.

Master D continues to battle with anxiety. He is terrified of the dark, and hates that many of the rooms in our house don’t have curtains to pull against the dark at night. (I’m not sure what the owners of our house have against curtains, but the lack of them is bizarre. Fortunately my MiL has sourced some for us.) Master D also hates being left alone, which means having quiet time in his room playing with his toys is out of the question.

Both children are playing up at bedtime, leading Rev G tearing out his hair in frustration. They have been doing this most night for the past few weeks. Neither of our children are great at listening and following instructions at the best of times – like most children, but their shenanigans at bedtime are taking their toll on Rev G. He is angry and exhausted.

I am sure that it just another way the children’s anxiety is coming out. We are living in scary times. An invisible virus killing people is scary. We have to shelter indoors and change our lives dramatically. It’s incredibly scary, and difficult for children to process this stuff.

We talk about what we can do to support Master D and his sister. Leaving lights on overnight. Checking in each day with how they feel. Managing our own emotions. Giving lots of cuddles. Trying to be patient.

The advice about kids returning to school at level 3 has changed to no longer being ‘voluntary’. My heart sinks. For me this may mean I struggle with my knee injury for several weeks, perhaps months. The type of injury I have requires rest, not physio. It is impossible for me to get the rest I need right now. Who can rest when they have young children at home 24/7 who require care, activities and schooling ? I am fully supportive of all the measures we are taking to stamp out COVID-19, but I’d like to scream.

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