Monday, August 24, 2020

First Day of {Virtual} School

I taught at my university last week. Socially distant, in masks. It was weird, but less weird than I expected. I'm not feeling optimistic about us staying open after watching the news about UNC and Notre Dame. It's just asking too much to ask college students to sacrifice their social lives for a risk that feels minimal to them. I don't mean that in a snarky way, either. I get it. It's just a crappy situation all around.

Last Thursday was a busy day and the kind of running around I haven't done since March. I taught on campus in the afternoon, then picked up G from the babysitter, then met David at his school, where he had the big girls. They were playing outside while he sorted school supplies for pick up. I dropped off Coco at gymnastics, took Zuzu and G home and fed G dinner while Zuzu tried to login to her third grade meeting. We had trouble with the login in her schoology account and needed to use the login from my email but by that time we had to go pick up Coco so she only got to see a bit of the meeting on my phone in the parking lot while we had gym wifi. It felt like an inauspicious start to the year--minor technology mishaps, plus conflicting schedules, and multiple kids competing for my attention.

On Friday, Coco woke up with pink eye. I'm just hoping we don't all get it. So far, so good. She's been on medicated drops since Friday and having no other issues. A friend messaged me that pink eye can be a symptom of Covid-19, which had me spiraling a little bit. I did some googling and found that it is "unlikely" to be a symptom on its own, and we are already hyper-vigilant about any potential cough or sneeze or fever, so I almost wish I hadn't known! It caused a lot of worry and angst. Fortunately, her pediatrician was not at all concerned and she seems to be doing just fine. Her eye looks normal now, but we keep the drops up for a week. Unfortunately this means we're saying goodbye to her beloved make up kit she got for her birthday! 

G has been her active, busy, curious little self and continues to basically leave a path of destruction in her wake. She's continuing to earn her nickname Wrecking Ball (also Hurricane Genevieve). She still likes the mama snuggles and has finally, finally, started signing "more" and "milk," but she still does a lot of general screaming/shouting, which makes breakfast several decibels louder than I really like things to be at point in the morning. Today, amid the chaos, Coco helpfully asked Alexa to "play calming music" and she put on some mellow folk, which was soothing for all of us.

G colored on her adorable romper and the carpet on the bottom stair with an Expo marker yesterday. We installed a dry erase board in the dining room, which is now doubling as a classroom. The big girls were sword fighting with markers and marking on each other's skin, so dry erase marker privileges have been temporarily revoked and we ended up mounting the board upside down so our remarkably tall 15-month-old (she's in the 90th percentile! What?) can't reach the marker ledge. 

G climbed in the bath tub while D was in the shower the other day and broke a candle I had sitting by the edge of the tub (taking candlelit baths is 100% aspirational and not reality here so why do I even bother?). Anyway, D cleaned it up and vacuumed the glass out of the tub, but he missed a few tiny pieces, so the next day G climbed back in the tub and cut her knee and her little foot. She has also discovered she can open the dishwasher and then reach the kitchen counter, so that's a delight. Basically, no surface is safe from her except for the fireplace mantel, so it's frequently decorated with our phones, lego sets, remote controls, drinking glasses, and anything else the baby wants that we don't want her to have.

The girls started remote learning today. It's a lot. Even though they are pretty independent and savvy with technology after their experience in the spring, it's still a lot to manage and it's still hard to hold their attention. Coco worked very hard on an adorable self portrait and she wasn't quite finished and wanted to keep working on it even though her teacher told everyone to finish up and move on to the next thing. Since her teacher is just on a screen, she's not especially motivated to follow those directions. The project that is here in person feels more pressing or exciting. I can hardly blame her!

Zuzu was excited about the first day of third grade--up and out of bed early, dressed herself in her cute "Hello Third Grade" t-shirt from Grammy and did her own hair with a cute bow in it. Coco handles transitions more like her mama--kind of grumpy and reluctant. She has settled in just fine (we always do!) but she was a little crab apple for pictures this morning and I didn't get any of the two girls together. I'm going to make them pose at lunch.

Meanwhile, I'm squeezing in my own appointments in Zoom meetings and preparing for teaching class tomorrow and we are making it work. A year ago, I would never have imagined being here. And here we are, sliding into the New Normal and figuring it out as we go. 

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