For the old readers, welcome back. It’s been a while. Come have a seat on this old couch which I just Lysol-wiped. Have a cup of coffee with me, just sit six feet away. Listen to my ramblings as I have nowhere to go and nowhere to be but home, and chances are, so do you.
For the new readers, join the ride. I don’t know how long I am back for, but I promise to provide absolutely useless and meaningless content while I stay.
Week 1 of quarantine ended yesterday. It was a success as I did not end my husband or my six-year old.
For those selling the merits of the current global situation by proclaiming that it allows you to “slow down” and “spend quality time with the kids”, I say this: we did not have kids to spend quality time with them. We had them to pack them off to school/childcare where other adults much better at adult-ing will show our kids how to be adults. We had them so that we could feed them half-assed meals and do a substandard job of nurturing and hope that nature would take care of the rest. Or we had them because we put too much stock in one of the reasons below:
- Societal pressure: We got tired of the awkward jokes our parents/grandparents/uncles/aunts/siblings were making at family gatherings about our ability or willingness to procreate and decided to put an end to the discussion.
- Limitations of Netflix: We broke into a cold sweat one day because we realized that eventually we’ll run out of shows to watch on Netflix and then what would life have to offer? The looming threat of languishing entertainment and a lack of reliable care in our senior years was reason enough to procreate.
- Extinction of tomatoes: We had a warm, fuzzy feeling in our chest (likely heart burn) imagining what a miniature version of ourselves would look like. We realized that we should, nay, we must spread our seed and continue the lineage, because without doing so, even some breeds of tomatoes have gone extinct.
- To err is to be human: Accidents happen. Pretty self-explanatory.
So to be clear, no one ever had kids to “spend quality time with them”. That’s one of the things people like to drop in a conversation at a party because it sounds wholesome like “sustainable living” or “practicing meditation” or “reducing your carbon footprint”. No one is exactly sure what it means, but it makes you sound like you have it together.
And so late last week when my husband and I were told by our employers that we will be paid to work (somewhat) from home and spend quality time with our kid, we realized we had never googled what quality time actually was.
“What do I do now?” the spawn asked at 13:00 hours on Monday – Day 1 of Week 1 of quarantine. We’ve got a calendar/schedule of set activities stuck on the fridge which we religiously followed on Day 1. Since then it has served more as a gentle reminder of all the things we should be, and aren’t doing with the spawn.
So far quality time has entailed:
- Outdoor walks (where the spawn constantly complains that she is tired of walking and whether we can go home now and have a snack)
- Arts and crafts (where I google something that looks stupidly simple like melting-crayons-art-work which makes a huge mess and takes way too long, and then the spawn walks away distracted, and I continue working on it like a maniac, and then I yell at the spawn to come back here, and then she asks if she can have a snack)
- Braiding hair (where I google some stupidly simple hairstyle which takes me 13 retakes to do on the spawn, and then she undoes it in 5 minutes because the snack she was having (banana) got into her hair)
- Baking/cooking together (where I look up a kid-friendly recipe to make with the spawn, and we somewhat nail it but she eats half of the batter before the thing could be baked, because, well she needs a snack)
- A new lesson (where I look up an interesting new topic for her to learn like dinosaurs, or specifics of a country or how something is made, and teach her about it and then she asks if she can see how cookies are made, and then she watches a video on it, and then she wants a snack)
- Start a garden (where we start seeds indoors and I get the spawn to write out the labels for peppers, tomatoes and cucumbers, and plant the seeds, but then it makes her hungry because we were talking about growing food and then she wants a snack)
- Torturing the kitten (where we together as a family make the kitten run around in circles and chase things but then the spawn asks for a break because the kitten is tired and probably needs a snack)
- Math/English lessons online (where she practices for 5-10 minutes but then needs a break because when you are studying you always need a snack…..)
Oh Lord of the heavens and Earth and COVID19, please give me the mental fortitude to get through these weeks (months?) of quality time.
To all the parents trying their best to spend quality time with their kids during this surreal time, I say: you is kind, you is brave, you is beautiful. And stock up on snacks because these monsters will eat everything.
Tomorrow I’ll share with you my top tips for being the best quarantine-you that you can be. Stay home and stay safe.