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  • Writer's picture Jana

"It Feels Like I'm Stuck on an Island With a Bunch of Noisy Monkeys." Coronavirus Update - Day 89...

Graham and I think alike. When he broke down crying this afternoon, I knew that something was wrong. He is usually so even-keeled. I asked him to come to a quiet room and talk to me alone. That's when he said it, "Mommy, I feel like I'm stuck on an island with a bunch of noisy monkeys."

I have been stuck on the same island with the same noisy monkeys for close to three months, so I can relate. I have just never thought of it as an island nor them as monkeys (his thoughts are far kinder than mine). However, once I thought about it, his analogy made sense. We all know this situation is tough for kids, but sometimes they can't find the words to express their feelings. Graham did and they made me giggle, just a bit.

In addition to the annoying Monkeys, I suspect he was upset already because we had to take a similar trip to the twins' school this morning, as we did to Garin's last week. A goodbye trip of sorts. Our mission was to pick up their belongings and bring back anything we had at home that belonged to the school, such as library books. Graham was particularly sad because he is a sensitive boy and also, his beloved teacher, Mrs. Stevenson is retiring this year. That means that when they finally return to school, whenever that may be, she won't be there anymore. His heart was broken today.

We were back in school mode today, but since things are winding down, it wasn't too intense. We just have to get through a few more days and then spend the rest of the summer praying on our knees that school reopens in August. Either that, or we'll need to make a reservation at a sanitarium (my guess is that they quite booked up these days) for Mommy because, like Mrs. Stevenson, she too is retiring from teaching. The only difference is that Mrs. Stevenson lasted for decades (presumably) in her profession while Mommy barely lasted 12 weeks.

The Monkeys were indeed loud today and quite messy. Graham forgot to mention that part when he was crying on my shoulder. I reminded them repeatedly to clean up (and quiet down), but it seemed to fall on deaf ears. So tonight, after I cleaned up from dinner and took Fitzy out, I headed up to my room again to write and left the Monkeys in their habitat, otherwise known as their classroom, otherwise known as our Kitchen/ Family room, to clean up. I have made an unbreakable promise to myself that I will no longer do that job (in addition to teaching, of course).

When things got too loud and too messy today, I simply tried to bury myself in my newspaper and more specifically in the crossword puzzle. Or I left the room altogether to escape the mania. Finally, around 3 this afternoon, I recruited Graham and Catherine to cook and bake with me. It helped me to relaxed and also gave me a sense of accomplishment.

If there is one thing I have learned over the past three months it is that this is a one day at a time situation. Sometimes I try to convince myself that things are normal, hoping that lying to myself will make me feel better. It never works. The danger is that one can be left questioning the validity of one's feelings of stress, anxiety, and depression, along with any other normal emotions that come up in a crisis, especially a prolonged one like this. For me, it is healthier and more adaptive to remind myself that things are highly irregular and therefore my feelings, whatever they may be that day, are completely justifiable and normal. There was no class nor preparation for how to prepare to be locked in my home with four children during a terrifying pandemic, so I am officially excused.

Lining up at school this morning for the "no contact" end of year exchange.

Graham looking out the window for Mrs. Stevenson, whom he hasn't seen in person in three months.

Mrs. Steveson, waiting for Graham. Catherine's beloved teacher, Mrs. Fleischman was also awaiting our arrival with all of Catherine's stuff.

Catheirne curled up and reading one of her new books.

Graham pouring through the contents of the bag from Mrs. Steveson.

Miles out in the yard amsuing himself and keeping cool from the hot sun with a huge "ballela."

Catherine, Graham and Miles lamenting the loss of our much treasured grapefruit tree. It had to be cut down today due to an disease.

Miles and Graham visibly shaken by the loss of their favorite tree. Miles climbed in on a daily basis.

Thank heavens for Magna-tiles - the only toy my kids never seem to tire of.

Garin giving Miles some private tutoring under an umbrella. If only all homeschooling could be this idyllic.

Garin teaching Miles to write my name.

Good job, Miles!

Catherine helped with all the baking today.

Four loaves of our favorite zucchini bread.

Graham then stepped in and helped with dinner.

Grilled Rib-Eye done on the BBQ.

Roasted Cauliflower

Our Rainbow Salad.

Working on The New York Times crossword puzzle at dinner. So much fun!

Catherine and I baked this cake together. Italian Yogurt Cake with Blueberry Compote.

A perfect light Spring dessert.

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