April 6, 2020

Earlier this week, at bedtime, Will prayed “Thank you that I can run really fast, and thank you that I can jump so high, and thank you that I have awesome dance moves.” You guys, he does. Kid’s got moves. Praise the Lord. (Many other prayers have been spoken this week, by him and all of us, full of nobler expressions of faith and hope and love.)

The cat has not been allowed outside much this week, in an attempt to curb her weird hunting habits. She still managed to sneak out a handful of times, and she did bring a lizard in yesterday. Not nearly enough meat there to make a sandwich, though. More’s the pity. Guess we’re back to ham and cheese….Unless ham and cheese are the newest things to hoard? In which case it’s high time we get ourselves a passel of hogs and a couple of dairy cows. (I jest, but then again, people are panic-buying chicks in anticipation of having to live off the land. The world has gone plenty wonky, but we’re not there yet, are we? ARE WE?)

We’ve watched a lot of Jeopardy this week, and I love it. The kids act like they don’t love it, but then they get sucked in. Not to pat my own back or anything, but I’m super good at Jeopardy. Like, I could for sure come in second if I was ever on. Have I ever applied? No. Is it possible that the reason I think this is because I play from the comfort of my armchair where I can cozily shout my answers with absolutely zero consequences if I’m wrong? Maybe. The point is, my older boys have noticed that I’m super-armchair-good at it and they’re becoming more competitive, which is fun. And Foss has been walking around the house absentmindedly humming the melody and going “This…is Jeopardy!”

Last Monday brought the news we expected and feared — school is canceled for the rest of the 2019-2020 year. It doesn’t matter that I knew it was coming, I still broke down and cried when I heard. I cried because of the lost time with friends and classmates, many of whom will be at different schools next year. I cried because of the milestones and goodbyes that won’t be happening for the kids, and because of three months’ worth of memories that won’t be made. I cried because next year was already going to bring big changes with it, and now the boys will be going into those changes with no closure related to what they’re leaving behind. I cried because we got lucky this year, and the boys’ teachers are nothing short of amazing, and I’m just so sad that our time with them was so abruptly taken away. On March 6 we left for spring break thinking all was well, and then a week later everything changed, and I just wish I could have at least given them a hug before it was over.

The teachers, for their part, have been attempting to connect with the kids over Zoom. There’s been so much Zooming going on that Foss and Will (ages 7 and 5, respectively) each had a Zoom meeting scheduled at the exact same time earlier this week, which was cute and chaotic and I spent the whole time bouncing back and forth between them, trying to adequately supervise both. But then Zoom got taken away, by official notice from the school. The teachers didn’t say anything other than “complications related to Zoom,” but we all know what those complications are. You don’t? Well, I’ll tell you. Little jerks sneak their way into open Zoom meetings and then screen-share pornography or other trash, because no matter the crisis, there’s always someone out there ready and willing to exploit it. (We haven’t ever had that happen to us personally, and to Zoom’s credit they are quickly releasing security updates to try to remove this issue.)

The internet is obviously full of awfulness, so it comes as a breath of fresh air when it offers us something wonderful instead. You’ve probably seen this by now, but in case you haven’t, I insist that you watch “Some Good News” with John Krasinski. I watched it thinking it was going to be funny (and it is), but holy smokes I cried a lot too.

I’m still doing my hair every day, and wearing a little makeup, and putting on pants and jewelry. That’s partly because of all the video calls, and partly because I just feel better when I do those things, and partly because lovely people still keep showing up to drop off cartons of citrus or boxes of snacks or bags of flour on our porch (and yes they keep their distance, and yes we wash our hands before we eat those things, and yes to all of it), and I don’t want to look like a monster if and when that happens. (Because obviously, I either do my hair and makeup or just go full-beast-mode.)

I’ve stopped wearing a watch, though. I have a pretty watch, and I noticed it sitting on the counter a few days ago. It was a Christmas gift from Todd, and I want to wear it, but also…I don’t. This part of quarantine is kinda fun. We get up when our bodies wake up, we eat, we do school until it’s done, we eat lunch when we’re hungry, and so on and so forth until we climb sleepily into bed at night.

I apologize to my male readers for this paragraph, but friends, PMS in quarantine is a frickin’ nightmare. I’m usually a relatively steady person, and I can generally weather those emotional storms without too much disruption to our family peace, but emotional grace was not my defining characteristic for a few days last week. One day I was full of twitchy rage at the smelliness and messiness and all-around thoughtlessness of literally every other person in the house besides myself, and the next day I was a weepy mess. That day happened to coincide with the news of the school closures, which Did Not Help. Incidentally, prior to that day I hadn’t cried about anything during this quarantine, but that day opened the floodgates. Other things I cried about that day? The John Krasinski video, a phone call with a friend, a text from another friend, a random act of kindness from a business we work with, and a video from Will’s preschool teacher of her singing the Good Morning song to the kids. I could not stop crying.

Kind of like how Will couldn’t stop crying when it was time to clip his nails the other day. “Will,” I said, “we have to clip your nails.” And he sat on my lap and sobbed big crocodile tears and he just kept saying “I don’t want to so we aren’t going to!!” which was so naughty and more than a little funny and also — spoiler! — not how the story ended. I honestly can’t recall how we turned that corner, but he finally caved in and let me clip his nails and when it was done he said “Oh! That didn’t hurt!” and ran off to eat his promised M&M’s (M&M’s that had been promised long before the weeping began).

If I had to nominate one of my kids for the “Worst Boy” award this week (you know how sometimes someone is suddenly like “Tell me which of your kids is the worst RIGHT NOW!!!”), it would be Will. I’d never tell him that — I do understand some of the basic principles of good parenting, after all. But I’ll tell you. This week was a rough one with/for him. He picked fights with everyone in the family. He stamped his foot and repeatedly called all of us naughty. Any time I started to get something that he requested — say, a green cup of water — he’d bark “Give me it!” And if the cup wasn’t green, well Lord have mercy.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: We named him Will, so we shouldn’t be shocked that he’s got a strong one. But also, if that same rando suddenly demanded that I pick a winner for this week’s “Cutest Boy” award, Will would win that one too. As much as he made me want to pull my hair out this week, he made up for it every time he climbed into my lap, or sang me songs, or suddenly blurted out that he loves me or Todd or Jesus. “Look, Mom!” he said one day, “I made you a dance!” And then he swiveled his hips in an oddly robotic way that was also hilarious, and when I laughed, he giggled his head off. And later that night, as he was going to bed, he thanked God for his awesome dance moves.

This week was a rough one, y’all. I mean, I don’t even say “y’all.” Who even am I? School closures, a stay-at-home order, a stressed out five-year old, PMS, and the realization that “15 days to slow the spread” is now being projected into months…this week ended and my patience/energy/optimism kinda did too. Todd said something about needing to wear face-masks when we go out in public now and I said we might as well all be dead. He told me I was maybe being a little dramatic.

He’s probably right. But this was Quarantine Week 3. Time to find some crafty friends who can make us stylish face masks.

Journal of a Semi-Quarantined Introvert, Week 3

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