Every now and then it’s good to have a moment that helps you see how you’re coping. A litmus test, sort of. A gut check.
For me it came during Mary’s Google meeting with her class. Mary wanted to show Brigham for show-and-tell, and when I went to get him I saw a huge gash on his hind leg.
Immediately a Rolodex of tasks and decisions started rolling in my mind of decisions I couldn’t make and places I couldn’t go. WHY!?!? WHY did our cat choose THIS TIME to get injured!? THE NERVE!
I panic-texted a few people and quarantined Brigham in the garage (HA! A quarantine within a quarantine!), interrupted Tom’s work meeting (“What? Well, is he bleeding? He’ll probably be fine.”) When Thomas and Anna asked for a snack I barked, “NOT NOW! BRIGHAM IS HURT!”
No one else was even a little bit flustered. My parents were satisfied once I confirmed that Brigham’s rabies shots were up to date, and Mary used a stuffed bunny for show-and-tell.
It was a stressful week. And I think I’m operating juuuuuuust fine until something unpredicted happens. That’s when the uncertainty of this pandemic feels near.
This week David broke his arm, Brigham got hurt, and Anna released 400 praying mantises in my kitchen.
We’re doing just fine.
On Monday David made this obstacle course for his siblings. As you can see it’s pretty tame, mostly low-to-the-ground. As one of my friends said, “It’s mostly cushions!”
I was IN THE MIDDLE of telling my friend, whose daughter just broke her wrist, that it seems like there is an uptick in broken bones during the quarantine! That’s when I heard David scream, “I JUST BROKE MY ARM!”
He was right.
We’ve started doing a bit more school every morning, and some days go well and some days don’t go well. This particular day wasn’t going well. To be clear, my kids aren’t the problem. Their unprepared, overwhelmed, irritable teacher is the problem. Well, their teacher and her 2-year old.
After a grumpy morning I set up an activity I saw on Days with Grey a few days ago. Put old, dried up markers in water, then let the kids play.
The kids all loved it. It was instantaneous engagement and cooperation. I gave them a few old medicine droppers and egg cartons to round it out. they did everything else.
I asked David to show me his best mad scientist face. He’s a natural.
Thomas is a close second.
After many, many tries, this is Mary’s best mad scientist face. “No, Mary, you’re trying to look crazy. Like a bad guy who’s trying to make poison.”
“I can’t help it, Mom, this is just what my smile is.”
For MOST of this activity Anna was inside looking at videos on my laptop. I know we’re not supposed to admit that we use screens, but I was DONE with her acting like a 2-year old for the day.
She was fine until David walked in and saw her looking panicked and flapping her arms. David went to help and saw that she was covered in praying mantis babies.
Hold on for a second. Did you say PRAYING MANTIS BABIES!?
Yes, I did. Because several weeks ago I ordered praying mantis eggs. I knew they’d be good for the garden and fun for the kids. They arrived and sat, dormant, and we sort of forgot about them.
That is, until Anna was left alone in the house watching videos and decided to get curious. The eggs HAPPENED to hatch that same day. We spent oven an hour scooping baby praying mantises into containers and taking them outside, all the while hoping Tom didn’t come downstairs until we got it at least mostly contained.
(If you click on the pictures they’ll zoom and you can see the praying mantises — they’re teeny.)
Even though it was a disaster, it was also very, very cool. We’re already ordering more.
One of our family goals is to go as long as possible between grocery shopping. We made it April 5-April 24. Almost three weeks. Tom came in with a haul, and after everything was unloaded and put away, he surprised the kids with ice cream bars.
For as long as I’ve known him, Tom has never deviated from the list. If he was trying to absolutely make my quarantine, he succeeded.
(If you’re wondering, Brigham is A-ok, just fine.)