Sixteenth Day

I’m hearing the district walked out on negotiations.

I think about three years from now.

I hear about losing ground after typical summer breaks.

I hear “kids are resilient,” but most kids just learn how to acclimate to their problems until later in life when shit blows up. Mental health support will be urgent when we get back.

Fifteenth Day

How many times have you cried today?

The district says there’s a newer, wider gap and that they again have offered their last, best offer. There is a newer, wider gap between my mind and where it used to be.

Why is it hard to fund public education? And live on one full-time job?

Another week disintegrates.

Noise Canceling

We are back to distance learning. Three kids, two of whom don’t read, one of whom doesn’t talk. All of whom need. I am not adjusting with any semblance of grace, but I thought I’d try to write something humorous or at least light in tone for each day that they are home, from the beginning of distance learning until the end. Seventeen days. Seventeen installments.

Here’s the first one.

I call it…

Noise Canceling

Don’t bother Mommy.
She’s got her earbuds in.
You know what that means.

It means we can do what we
want, and she
won’t hear it.

They’re noise-canceling.
Did you know that?

It means they
cancel out

That means noise
doesn’t exist when she’s
wearing them.

I don’t know why she
doesn’t wear them all the time.

Yes, we can do that
now while she’s got her
noise-canceling earbuds in.

And yes, we can do that,

But probably not that.
No, we shouldn’t do that.

Not even if she has her earbuds in.

That seems dangerous.
I know, usually that’s fun.
But really.
Get off of there.

No. No, don’t do that.

Don’t unload the dishes.
That’s OK.
I know you’re trying to help.
But I don’t think she’d
like that.

No, put that back.

Hey, Mommy? Mama?

No, stop it.
Don’t do that.
I mean it, don’t!

Mom! Mom!
Help! Help me!

I said stop!

Mom! I need help!
Help me!
Oh shit.

I shouldn’t have said that.

Glad she didn’t hear it.

But It’s Iowa

We kept the kids home. We un-enrolled from our lives. We ordered little kid masks. We took them out of swimming lessons. We didn’t go to parks for a time. We put up a playset in our yard. And then a pool. And then two other pools, after the first and second ones broke. We didn’t go to Thanksgiving or Christmas last year. We turned a room or two into a “school room.” I facilitated distance learning for my then-first grader while trying to get my then-too-little-for-traditional-school online school options via I did this while the baby transformed from an infant to a toddler to a climber.

We wore special masks. We turned down social invitations. We tried to enroll the kids in special vaccine trials. We got vaccinated as soon as possible. We kept our kids up-to-schedule with their other vaccinations.

We kept our oldest home from school, even after the district opened up in February of this year to going back to in-person. Finally, at the end of March, we did send him back.

We didn’t do traditional camps over the summer. We did do a lot of outdoor stuff, like mountain biking, and in my case, running.

We haven’t been to an indoor restaurant for a long ass time. Years? But really, who wants to dine indoors (or anywhere, ever) with kids. We don’t go to movies. We don’t go to the fucking Frozen musical that would be so cool for my six-year-old daughter to see.

All of the adults and old-enough kids with whom we socialize are vaccinated. Some are even antsy to get a booster.

My husband took our older two kids to a Cub Scouts camping trip (outdoors, clearly). I took my toddler to Iowa to see my family. Who is grieving. Who is sad. Who has lost so much.

In Iowa, my toddler caught COVID-19. My toddler. Who doesn’t go to daycare. Who doesn’t go to ECFE. Who doesn’t go to Sunday School or playdates. Who follows me around, day and night. He caught it from family who have, now confirmed, breakthrough cases.

And now I have the virus. As does my husband. My big kids, so far, do not.

But they’re out of school for the next two weeks and, woe is me, I will be facilitating some lackadaisical version of distance learning for a second grader and a kindergartner while keeping my mask on and my toddler upstairs. Maybe I will employ Alexa somehow.

We have mild symptoms. Other than anger. My anger (and self-pity) is pretty severe.

Plus, it’s my birthday on Friday. And I had special plans.

In Iowa.