Here We Are, Now Entertain Us

If I allow myself I think I may worry about running out of ways to keep my kids being so cool with all of this. Or maybe it’s that whole “kids are resilient” thing we hear during broken bones and marriages and promises and such. It’s 35 degrees outside. Yes, it is sunny and inviting looking and maybe we will take a quick jaunt, but between the cold and the rain, we have been pretty much sheltered in place, emphasis on the shelter.

But it has come down to three components. Three beyond the obvious school stuff that all four of us have dealt with in a new way, all in the same room. Those three have been food, entertainment, and activities. I already know regardless of how long this goes I won’t be doing arts and crafts projects. In fact, they already get enough “teacher dad” stuff so as terrible as it sounds, once we call it a day with the academics, I probably won’t go the educational route much. Judge away, but the goal here is to keep them calm and feeling loved and supported. If I get them to a place where they start not wanting to do stuff with me, they will push toward less social distancing. They will stop being so cool. And they’ve been so cool. Variety, I think, has been key. 

They go back to their mom tomorrow for a couple nights so I’ll have time to plan. Thursday was an epic game of risk, apps for dinner, and concerts on Youtube playing in the background. Last night was Monopoly, pizza, and classic Ray Allen shot Miami Heat playoff game, Kerry Wood’s 20 strikeout performance (the best pitched game EVER), and the Bulls’ 1998 game 6 championship win over the Jazz. Tonight we are watching a trilogy of Aliens movies (don’t judge) with chili, and talking a lot about the place we are going to seal ourselves away from society in the woods next week. Variety. 

They’re doing well with all of this. Yes, they all have devices they cling to but it’s a portal, for them, to the outside. We pepper in way too many episodes of The 100 on Netflix because the middle guy loves it and, despite the shoddy acting/writing/effects – the art snob in me even becomes a little less pretentious when an 11 year old looks at me with wide hopeful eyes at midnight begging to watch the 6th episode in a row. 

Generally I wouldn’t go for all this junk food, junk media, junk time (some, but not this full on binge), but right now I am. This is a scary time. For a parent, son, boyfriend, grandson, teacher – to not have all the answers needed to soothe everyone they wish to and usually can? Distraction through bonding, in whatever variety or shape it comes, works for me. I am constantly thinking about how my people look back on their lives and the time spent with me. This thing is something they’ll remember, and I would like to be the face of calm and fun and distraction they recall in their memories of it. So far I think I’m hanging on. Hopefully I won’t have so long to play this role that I run out of ideas. Either way, it’s bringing us closer. Silver linings are most appreciated when the darkness they spring from is fraught with confusion and unpredictability.

10 thoughts on “Here We Are, Now Entertain Us

  1. you are doing a great job! no judgement at all, and you should feel proud for what you’re doing for your kids- peace, calm, fun, and love. keep it up! I’m a teacher, and we are not allowed to do any distance learning or online learning, so I have 6 weeks “off”. I can not post anything educational to my students nor can I send home packets. It’s sad, and I feel lost, but I am happy that these kiddos do not have to worry about academics and not understanding something or becoming frustrated without the helpful hand of mine to guide them like it would in person. scary and uncertain times mixed with frustration and heartbreak- lets just keep all these kids happy and healthy!

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    1. I can’t even imagine! Oh no. Well you stay strong too. I’m in a group text with like 12 teachers from my school where we are doing all the things it sounds like you’re not allowed to and that, too, adds a layer of stress. One teacher was voicing hers last night and I told her about what you just said. All we can do is the best we can do, whatever that amounts to on a given day. Thanks for your thoughts. We may all be quarantined but one thing about this slicing this year is that it’s another communal outlet. You “get it” and I’m sorry for your situation and your kids. I. And am sure many on here, got you. Teachers as a community has really been tested here. I’m glad you’re here for that reason among the others that this challenge always brings. Thanks for you kindness. Hang in there.

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  2. This is a great approach! I liked your thoughts about people looking back and reflecting on their time spent with you. It gives me something to reflect on for myself. Thank you for sharing!

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  3. I think everything you are doing is perfect. Because everything we are all doing to make this feel “normal” is perfect. No one has any idea how to navigate this, and it sounds to me like you are doing all the right things! Positive thoughts to you and stay well!

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  4. Somehow this entry kind of broke me, and also filled me with hope. Damn, being teacher/parents is hard, but it sounds like at the very least, you have perspective. This line… “Or maybe it’s that whole “kids are resilient” thing we hear during broken bones and marriages and promises and such.” Ouch. So good. Hang in there.

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  5. This line really stopped me in my tracks: “…during broken bones and marriages and promises and such.” So powerful. It’s so often I think of my teacher friends with kids before this, and now. I don’t think I handle my own first week very well, and I’m really happy no one was watching me, especially little ones. My dog’s not too judgmental so far, but give her a few weeks. Kudos to you and all of the other parents out there, who are providing normalcy and fun and connection. I think they will really remember this time as one of extra closeness and bonding. I know, as a teacher, my biggest goal is to make sure my kiddos still feel connected and loved by their teacher. Thanks for this post.

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