Day 8 of Homeschooling, City- and School-wide Shutdown #3

It has been a day, to say the least. It started innocently enough. I slept in, skipped my morning meditation and went straight into editing my book at 6am, because I had already lost an hour. I’m trying out intermittent fasting to lose some of the dreaded COVID 15, so I did my best to ignore my growling stomach while I wrote, actually looking forward to the glass of Metamucil I’ve been taking for two days now. Despite the packaging, it’s done nothing for my “plumbing,” but I like to tell myself I’ll feel fuller after I drink it and I do. Mind over matter. It’s enough anyway to tide me over until lunch, which starts at 11am these days, since that’s when the kids have their first of 300 nutrition breaks scheduled between their classes.

I shower at 7:50am because the kids are thankfully still asleep (impossible to get them to bed any earlier than 10pm since I no longer have “School tomorrow!” to threaten them with) and it’s the only chance I’ll get to have the bathroom to myself for the entire day.

By 8:15am everyone is at the kitchen table eating their waffles and Nutella. Because I’ve given up. I’m pretty sure the Gummy Bear vitamins are junk food in disguise, but anything to make me feel like a half decent mom.

At 9:10am, online class begins, but I’m always 5 minutes late because I keep forgetting to adjust the kids’ iPad screen time settings and then I have to do it all over again manually because the kids have already undone everything I did the day before. I’m running out of passwords for them to hack.

By 9:30am, my 4-year-old daughter has already had enough of online learning. She keeps running away from me and slamming her bedroom door shut so she can watch Disney and play Minecraft even though I’ve supposedly disabled both apps through screen time settings.

My 8-year-old twins watch their gym teacher do Gym class while lying down on the living room couch. 

I catch Scout in her playroom (the closet under the stairs) watching Disney. When I open the folding door, she quickly toggles over to her own Gym class. I see her teacher is juggling stuffed animals.

“Forget it; you can watch Disney,” I say, and close the door.

At 10:30am, the kitchen is finally clean from breakfast and now it’s time to start making lunch. I don’t even know what the kids like anymore so I make it all. Scambled eggs. Sunnyside up eggs. Cheesy rice. Frozen pizza. Bagels and cream cheese. And grilled cheese, just in case. Lest anyone think about calling child services on me, I do prepare a banana-blueberry-spinach-yogurt-and-oat milk smoothie that no one touches but me.

At 11:30am, the fighting begins. Followed by the whining and crying. Mostly mine. Okay, maybe the twins too. Grade 3 math is excruciating.

Scout is on to her second Makerspace craft activity which is really just like art class for octogenarians. I follow along as the YouTube video her teacher plays for us pauses for every inch of line drawn, until finally a squirrel/flower/caterpillar is revealed, hours after Scout has already defected for her Barbie dreamhouse. Because I don’t have enough to do.

At 12:30 the kids want lunch. Again.

By 1pm, the twins are fed up. I agree, so I let them vent in their daily journal. Zephyr talks about how “scool suks” and I write a note to his teacher about the beauty of catharsis.

If you haven’t heard about my eldest, tween-age son, it’s because we have an agreement. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Also: Stay out of my way, I’ll stay out of yours.

I promised the kids fresh-baked cookies for snack time (if there is such a thing anymore) but by 2pm I’m embroiled in a tech breakdown. In a Google Meet with the twins’ teacher, we put our heads together trying to figure out how to transfer screen shots of the twins’ daily journal to their Chromebook Google Slide. We both give up.

At 2:59pm, I reinstate Minecraft Education in the twins’ screen time settings, so I can be 4 minutes late for my client meeting.

I honestly can’t tell you what happened after that. I must have been sucked up by some worm hole of despair.

All I know is that when Gord comes home at 5:30pm, neither of us say a word. He pulls his pants off and puts an ice pack on his ailing knee while we silently compare whose day was harder. Then he hobbles over to the closet and pulls out the vacuum cleaner to clean up all the mud tramped through the hallway by one of the kids (“Not me!”). Point proven.

A text from a friend notifies me that Doug Ford wants to keep the kids home from school next September.

The end.


Cat Margulis is a Toronto writer and super (tired) mom of four. She's working on her first novel, launching her own podcast The Passion Project, and generally trying to do and have it all. You can see how she does it @catmargulis and @passionprojectpod on Instagram.

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