Parenting in the Time of Pandemic

Means yelling at your kids at the breakfast table that they’re going to be late for school. Which is in the parlor.

Means waking up your spouse early for IT support on the laptops to make sure the in-house security doesn’t block the 400 different learning platforms required for each child. Making them late for work. Which is in the basement.

Means the dog is pissed off that his walk is delayed because attendance is during his normal walk time. Hiding shoes so he doesn’t chew them to show his displeasure.

Wondering why the schools bothered to send home the Chromebooks for everyone if they didn’t bother to also send the headphones, sending you scrambling for the gaming headsets and hope they fit smaller noggins.

Being told by every school employee that attendance is mandatory by 8 in the posted zoom link. But the zoom link is never posted.

Listening to one of your children bitch they’re at the small table with an uncomfortable chair, but its the only place/arrangement where you can see their screen after finding out too late in 2020 they spent most of the school year in chat rooms playing clicky games.

Also listening to that same child perform for the camera and finding over-sold laughter a trigger for murderous inclinations.

Living with the fact that your kid refuses to brush their hair for the camera, but letting it go because they’re at least wearing their uniform shirt. Pandemic Hair(tm) on a small is weirdly adorable.

Realizing that your back-to-the-gym schedule has been shelved. Again. Wondering if you got your money’s worth in 2021 since you won’t be in 2022.

Coming to terms that you are now chained to the dinning room table as a distance learning room monitor for the duration of this shut down.

Considering catching Omicron just for a week in quarantine.

Not liking the way you lumber across your child’s live feed like a dumpy hausfrau sasquatch, knowing that parent sightings are a way of life now. The teacher is just glad you’re trying to take an active part in the proceedings.

Hating Pandemic Homeschool Zoom Gym Class with a passion. Trust me. They run around this house enough to qualify as passing a Presidential Fitness Test.

Wondering if your high schoolers are actually having class or if they’re so short on staff, most of it is just study hall for not having anyone to teach.

Realizing it took five days into the new year to totally trash your vague “Do Something With My Life” New Year’s resolution.

Wondering if reheating the same cup of coffee a dozen times makes it bitter. Or if its just you.

Day In the Life of the Pandemic

(scene opens, Carrot at lap top)

(camera close up on email from Scout Master saying post-meeting positive case)

(back to Carrot, thinking and frowning and drinking coffee)

(camera close up on second email from school detailing positive case with close contact)

(back to Carrot, puts down coffee, grabs keys leaves)

(ridiculously long driving montage and multiple store visits)

(cut scene to Carrot, in CVS pharmacy)

Stock Lady: Here, I found these in the back. (hands over a stack of tests)

Carrot: (relief) Oh thank god. You’ve saved Christmas.

(cut scene to mini van, Carrot driving past hospital with large protest outside with signs and American flags)

Protester #1: (yelling, waving sign saying “Murder! Jesus Judges!”)

Protester #2: (chanting, bobbing sign saying “Crime to withhold proven treatment!”)

Protester #3: (holding up sign saying “Let them take ivermectin!”)

Carrot: (tearfully) Sweet Zombie Jebuz, we’re never fucking getting out of this.

Abdication

(scene opens in almost clean kitchen)

Gama: (grandly) I am the new queen of the house!

Me: (thinks about it) Who was the old queen?

Gamma: You.

Me: (decides coffee is more important than civil war) Why was I deposed?

Gamma: You’re always busy and always have work to do and you never have time to play. I am always ready to play and can do all the fun things.

Me: You are not wrong. Hail Gamma, first of her name.

Code Names

(scene opens in dim kitchen)

Alpha: Who keeps tangling up the leash? (struggles with chain)

Me: I don’t know. (takes mug out of microwave, looks at clock) I guess I’d better go get small boy out of bed. (pauses, shocked look, starts laughing)

Alpha: What are you laughing at?

Me: (points to Alpha) Tall Boy. (points straight above) Chonk Boy. (points to dinning room) Not Boy. (points above the stairs) Small Boy. (points to dog at the door) Fur Boy. (dissolves into hysterical laughter)

Alpha: (with concern) Are you okay, mom?

Me: (wipes tears) No. No I’m not.

Fluent in Sarcasm

(scene opens in dining room, conversation in progress)

Husband: So, what you’re saying is that he’s a Tony Stark – he’s going to save the world, but it’s going to take him a little while to get here.

Me: (affecting a Look of No Surprise) Huh. (slurps coffee theatrically) Maybe?

Delta: (starts laughing) Mommy made a joke! Mommy is being funny! You’re funny mommy!

Me: (side eye) …..uh

Husband: I told you that you had to watch what you say around him.

Me: HE’S FOUR! HE’S NOT SUPPOSED TO UNDERSTAND THAT LEVEL OF DISCOURSE YET! WE ARE IN SO MUCH TROUBLE!

Responsibilities

(scene opens in early morning dinning room, windows still dark)

Me: (still in bathrobe, coffee in hand, obviously up before go time)
Gamma: (bright, bubbly, dressed for school, playing on kid Kindle) Momma? How come you get to travel all the time and not me?
Me: (glances at 5:30 am clock time, to early to talk) Dunno.
Gamma: Is it because you’re the adult?
Me: (sighs) Maybe. (clutches coffee, closes eyes)
Gamma: Is it because you’re famous?
Me: (opens eyes) Not exactly. I’m Nerd Famous. Its a little different.
Gamma: (crosses arms) Well, I’m famous too. I’m the Princess of Dreamland and I should get to travel!
Me: (presses coffee cup to forehead) Well, if you’re the Princess of the Dreamlands, then maybe you need to spend more time there. Your people need you.
Gamma: (turns up nose, pokes at Kindle)

Distilled

(scene opens in busy Starbucks, camera follows tea carrying individual through crowd to fireplace seating area)

Me: (looks up from phone, sees Childhood Bestie) Hey.
CB: Nice seats. (settles in)
Me: Right? Very comfy. (picks up cooling coffee, takes a sip, flinches and grimaces)
CB: (WTF look)
Me: Christmas blend. (grimace intensified)
CB: And?
Me: (another cautious sip) Tastes like 2018.
CB: (nod of understanding)

Not Helping

(scene opens in cluttered kitchen)

Alpha: (preparing to wash dishes, soap and sponge at the ready)
Me: (enters, notices mug in Alpha’s hands) What are you doing?
Alpha: Getting ready to wash dishes. Its my chore for the day.
Me: Did you just dump out that coffee mug?
Alpha: Yes.
Me: Was it hot?
Alpha: Yes.
Me: (gestures to a counter full of glassware) Every glass we own is dirty and you start with the coffee mug I just put down while in the bathroom?
Alpha: (defensively) It was dirty!
Me: It was seasoned! You never wash a coffee addict’s coffee mug! They might still be drinking it!

Kids. Cats. Same diff.

(scene opens in cluttered kitchen)
Me: (puts away groceries)
Delta: (dumps out Legos)
Me: (puts aways clean dishes)
Delta: (puts Legos back in bin)
Me: (makes coffee)
Delta: (dumps out Legos)
Me: (washes stovetop)
Delta: (puts Legos back in bin)
Me: (goes to bathroom)
Delta: (dumps out Legos)
Me: (brings up clean laundry)
Delta (puts Legos back in bin)
Me: (grabs lukewarm coffee, sits down for a sip and rest)
Delta: (gets up, races over on fat toddler legs, screams to be put in lap, pounds on laptop keys and everything else in reach)
Me: You are making a very strong case for a standing desk.

Lesson learned

(scene opens in same kitchen, different mess)
Me: (pours coffee)
Delta: (points to mug) *shrill bird cry*
Me: We’ve been through this already. No.
Delta: *shrill intensifies*
Me: Awesome, you’re already a fiend. (holds down mug)
Delta: (takes one looks inside and walks away)
Me: Learning curve achieved.