When was the last time you fantasized about being in a crowded shopping mall, or getting shipwrecked on a deserted island? When was the last time the prospect of a work trip got you all hot and bothered? Well, maybe don’t answer that last one.
Yesterday I texted my daughter’s teacher the word pancakes.
Because, you know, we’re living in a pandemic and it’s back to work and trying to keep things ‘normal’ and not panic our faces off and do all the things while worrying about our jobs and waiting on the vaccine / worrying it will give us rickets (it won’t, don’t @ me) and not letting our eyes roll right out of our heads when someone says they’re doing ‘dry January’ and constantly answering questions like ‘hey mom, is a hot dog a sandwich?’ or ‘hey mom, would you rather fight a bear-sized duck or a duck-sized bear?’
Last month, I snapped.
Like so many people, I was outraged to learn that the parents of more than 500 children separated from their families at the US border in 2017 and 2018 could not be found. That’s more than 500 families torn apart by cruel, “zero tolerance” government policies. I couldn’t stop thinking: who’s comforting these children? Who’s in charge of reuniting these families? What’s being done?
The surest sign that I’ve lost my mind during this pandemic? I just bought my kids a guinea pig.
Yesterday, when my 10-year old discovered the ironing board behind some clothes in my closet and asked ‘what’s this?’, I was: a) super proud to be doing parenting right and b) catapulted back to Grade 7 when learning how to cook, sew and iron were actual academic endeavours.
While some of you are just entering the flaming hellscape that is home-schooling, my kids are starting week four. So here’s a little bit of what I’ve learned and some advice for making sure no one gets expelled or brought up on charges during this very stressful time.
To say I’ve ever had a parenting ‘strategy’ is a bit of a stretch but if I did it would probably be best described as ‘free range’ or, ‘hope for the best.’ I’m not a helicopter parent and I don’t see danger everywhere. Each of my daughters ziplined across a Mexican jungle and cliff-jumped into the ocean before her eighth birthday. (Please don’t judge me for any of this, we have enough problems right now!)
Ten years ago, I was facing a major challenge to my fertility. During a procedure to remove what we thought was a cancerous mass on my left ovary, the surgeons removed the entire ovary and part of my Fallopian tube. The very good news was that I had endometriosis, not cancer. The bad news was the surgery would make it very difficult for me to get pregnant the old-fashioned way.
There are three certainties in life: death, taxes and unsolicited parenting advice.
I recently invested in a smart home device: Amazon Alexa to be exact. I was pretty indifferent to her initially, intending to bestow upon her the same benign neglect I’ve directed at every goldfish or house plant I’ve ever owned and eventually killed.