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Don't give kids a sharpie

Something I never thought I'd have to tell my husband. But here we are. COVID-19 Quarantine. The kids are home 24/7 for the foreseeable future.

We worked out a plan where my husband would stay home from work Monday thru Wednesday. I would be home with the kids Thursday and Friday. We would all be together Saturday and Sunday. That is a lot of quality time together.

At first, I was not thrilled about the decision. Our daycare is a very safe and clean environment. Daycare is where my children go to learn, play, and explore. It also tires them out. I should know. They only go three days a week. The other two days they are home with me. I try to keep them busy and engaged, but they are Energizer bunnies. They just keep going, and going, and going.

I was also worried about how my husband was going to be able to pull off working from home and watching the kids. The few times he has done it, the kids have spent a majority of the day watching tv. If you let him, my oldest would watch tv all day. He's like his mom that way. But, he likes to watch superhero cartoons. Shows I don't feel are always age appropriate. Watching those shows while being cooped up in the house leads to very aggressive behavior. My youngest can only handle tv in small increments. He is always busy. He's at an age where he needs structure and supervision. And activity. Lots and lots activity.

This is where I tell you more about my marriage. My husband is a creative minded person. He isn't into planning. He's go with the flow. I am all about color coded schedules and calendars. Someone has to be organized. Am I right? In the days leading up to keeping the kids home, I was pulling 8 hour plus shifts at work. At no time did my husband make plans for what he was going to do with the kids being home. So with little sleep, I got to work. It's always the mom's job isn't it. I gathered ideas from Pinterest. I saved posts and links being shared on the mom Facebook groups I belong to. Out came the the construction paper, glue sticks, food coloring, and washable markers (I promise I am getting to the Sharpie part).

Day 1 of COVID Quarantine

  • This day was a bit hectic. I had to take off work because my husband had to wrap things up at his office. We started off the morning with Nick, Jr. Then off went the tv. While the youngest colored the oldest one practiced his letter of the week, Z. I even found a fun ABCMouse video on youtube to help him with Z, but he was having none of it. Whine Whine Whine. Next we made a Leprechaun Trap. The oldest cut strips of construction paper to make a rainbow. I learned he had no idea of ROYGBIV. In our case ROYGBP. They both helped with glue and glitter to make gold coins. Followed by Glue and Cotton balls for the fluffy cloud at the end of our rainbow. Mom handled the box for trapping. Before lunch I turned on Nick Jr again for Blaze and the Monster Machines. I do find this show educational. Then lunch. Then dad came home. Goodbye nap time. The rest is a blur. All I remember is being unable to sleep and planning for the next day at midnight.

Day 2 of COVID Quarantine

  • Dad was now solo. Before I went to work, I sent my husband video clips of St. Patrick's Day songs. Links to virtual field trips. Ideas of how to space out learning with your preschool aged child. I set up a rainbow science experiment. All he had to do was add water and food coloring. I made a Rainbow Color Hunt sheet. I told my husband to hide a bag of skittles somewhere in the house and tell the boys a leprechaun was loose and left behind some treasure. During their nap, he would open the skittles bag and make it look like they had trapped the Leprechaun.

  • Welp, they did the rainbow color hunt. They found the skittles. And they almost trapped a Leprechaun. They even got some outdoor time. It went better than I expected. My husband even documented the day.

  • Notice anything in these pictures? A 5 year old carrying a yellow Sharpie. I seriously did not realize I had to tell my husband they were "mommy pens." I guess I did. My husband also used the sharpies to write on my children's hands to emphasize hand washing. Didn't think I had to tell him that was a bad idea either. Guessed Wrong. The oldest also fessed up that they had watched a lot of tv including Battle Bots. A show that is somewhat educational, but leads to destructive behavior. And my busy boys were bouncing off the wall. No one wanted a bath. No one wanted to go to bed. It was a loooong night.

Day 3 COVID Quarantine

  • Once again, I found myself lesson planning for my children before work. I woke up late, because I was just exhausted, and found myself making and cutting out shamrocks for a counting activity. I then made a worksheet for a Skittles Taste Test. The Rainbow Science experiment didn't happen on Day 2, so I wrote a note reminding my husband to do it. I added a few extra activity ideas-- just in case. I even took set up all the activities on our kitchen table.

Around noon, I got this text "Today is not going as smoothly as yesterday. they both have had timeouts We've colored, having lunch and then hopefully a nap." Needless to say, I was in no hurry to get home. Once I arrived, I found both children still in their pjs. Not a good sign. My skittles taste test clearly backfired because the oldest was bouncing off the wall. No one could keep their body still, no one wanted to listen. Their room was a mess- it was chaos.

Text went flying to friends for moral support. A bottle of red was opened. By 7 p.m. I was spent. We put the kids in our bed and attempted to sleep. When that didn't work we tagged teamed them. My husband took the oldest to his room and slept with him. I got the youngest. To get him to sleep, I decided to check out Cosmic Yoga on Youtube to see what the fuss was all about and hoped it was calming. I picked a 30min. episode. It did the trick, we both fell asleep.

Day 4 COVID Quarantine

  • We woke up to rain. Oh GOD. Despite this, I told myself, today was going to be different. After all, I was going to be home all day. My husband had the day off. We also had an appointment to get our taxes done, so the children were going to have a play date with some friends. Well, I can tell you the day did go better. Thanks to some social distancing interactions, a new game picked up at Target (along with these babies),

a nap and less television. The kids helped pick up their toys to play with the Mr. Bucket game while we made lunch. They picked up the basement so we could all do a Cosmic Yoga video. Then we all took naps. When we woke up, we watched a video from the Cincinnati Zoo. We colored. My husband and the oldest did a board game, while I concocted a tower game out of plastic cups for my little one.

After dinner (tuna casserole, which no one at but me), we did another Cosmic Yoga video. I realized after I pressed play, that this activity should have been done after we got hyped up at bath time. Oh well, lesson learned. To calm our bodies before bed, we all watched a new Amazon show called Jessy and Nessy. It was cute and held the kid's attention. My husband again took the oldest to bed and I kept the youngest in our room. I had him watch actors reading children's books on @SaveWithStories. While on Instagram, I found a video of the lead singer of one of my favorite bands playing 10 songs acoustically. I got a free concert and my son got lullabies. Anyone else really enjoying all the extra content?

Day 5 COVID Quarantine

  • This will be my last entry, as the week is basically over. Yes, there will be more blog posts about our time in isolation, but for now, lets end on Day 5. I was up at my usual 6 am hour. I used the time to drink coffee and watch a show on Hulu. About 30min. in the youngest was stirring and my alone time was done. We started slow today (my husband slept until 9:30. Must be nice). We watched more @SaveWithStories videos until both boys were awake. Then some Adventures of Paddington Bear. After breakfast, I turned on Facebook. My son's favorite band (a kids band made up of dads) is doing a Facebook Live every day. At first, my son was not in to it. He wanted to go see them, and not on tv. But once they started singing, he got more into it. When they gave him a shout-out he was ecstatic.

  • Once he became disinterested, off went the tv. Instead, we played toys and colored. Then both boys helped me make a birthday cake.

  • My oldest is turning 5. See my other blog post called "We'll have a House Party," to see his reaction to having his birthday party cancelled. After lunch, Cosmic Yoga, and nap time. Not as smooth as the day before. The oldest was having none of it. Who could blame him. The sun might be shining, but when it is 20° I really don't want to go outside with my kids. All you moms down south, think about that for a second. If I want to give my kid outdoor time, we all have to bundle up. Ugh. By the time I had to start getting ready for work, the oldest was antsy. I turned on our computer and let him listen to books on ReadingIQ. He was still doing that when I left. SCORE. I'm not sure how the rest of the day went. I told my husband to have a fun night, make it, Superhero Night. Let them dress up in costumes and watch a superhero movie. No text is good, right?

I know we are all trying to find our way during this time. It wasn't like we asked for it, or prepared for it. It just happened and we have to deal with it. Since this all began, I have been engrossed in social media, ingesting all the suggestions, free content, and free advice from those that homeschool. One thing I learned from those sages, was this: Don't stress about school. I know, I have the luxury of having little children, but I still worry about their education and if I can provide the right developmental tools for them (and keep my job and sanity). Our kids will learn so much by being home and around us. And yes, tv will be watched, until the internet breaks and power goes out. It is time to start being flexible. We are all in this together.


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