Wow, that was a long week. I was sure that after 2 weeks of carefully planned homeschool + work schedules that we’d hit a rhythm that would make it easier. Nope. In many ways, it actually got HARDER because a) you just can’t replicate the dynamics of a classroom without the “class” so they got less and less interested in “school” and b) work got more intense…
As of September of last year, I host LIVE roundtables for senior design leaders in NY, LA and SF (how’s that working out right now?) In fact, earlier this year I launched in Chicago and Seattle, so I now have 10 groups across 5 cities! Honestly, it’s been so fun to learn new skills (I have zero event experience), build a new program that people like (and they do!), and meet design leaders from huge brands, who I find awesome.
However, the current crisis has meant I’ve had to scramble to learn even more new skills and rework our entire program to go online, finding formats, frequency and content to add value to these leaders. I say all that to explain why last week was especially nuts. On top of the “new new normal” I had to find a way to host 4 two-hour live roundtables on video, while still juggling the rest. Live, dedicated chunks of time with clients on video. A new degree of technical difficulty.
You’d think after 2 weeks of co-working the kids would know (care?) when Mommy & Daddy are “on a call”. Nope. And while everyone at work is being so gracious about the new background lives we all have, HOSTING a live “event” that you want people to come BACK to requires a great customer experience. And so, you’ll understand why we now have a sign like this one hanging on the back of the door that separates my client events from my children:
The instructions are “If this door is fully closed, you do not open it unless there is an emergency that Dad can’t handle.” It also happens to keep out the cat, for whom we have a door bumper to make sure that door is never fully closed – except during live events.
On the positive front, all my roundtables went super well! But the stress was triple last week. And back to the cute kids you come here to read about, they had an OK-ish week.
I already mentioned that their interest in schoolwork is waning, though for the first half of the week Zoe was mostly on task. As the week went on, I started spot-checking her work every time she said “I’m done, can I play Minecraft with [fill in the blank]?” Turns out instructions (and the definition of “done”) get fuzzier when you’d prefer to be doing something else…
The other child was off the rails. By Thursday afternoon (are there still days of the week?), I went into her room to check on her, as I do at least once for both girls in between “break” times, and I saw this:
Mind you, EVERY day begins with a clean room, a made bed, clear (and clearly setup) schoolwork on the desk, open shades, and background music to replicate the “kid noise” she’d get in a classroom. Perfect conditions. She had literally closed her own shades, unmade her bed, setup “habitats” for every Beanie Boo stuffie we own, pulled out a huge box of Legos and basically SKIPPED SCHOOL.
You know what I did when I saw this? You may answer that I lost my sh*t, made her clean that room, and got her back on task. You’d be wrong. I closed the door. THAT is how last week went.
Imagine my surprise when I learned that there was no school on Friday. Yep, Cesar Chavez day, which we would have known if we weren’t in The Upside Down. What also threw me off is that Ella’s class had their first Zoom call on Friday, which I knew was happening, but there was NO SCHOOLWORK to engage these kids.
It probably won’t surprise you, but my first inclination was to find and insert actual WORK into this day: workbooks, worksheets, reading, writing, math. However, I also knew that this would be the first day Zoe’s class was “free” – and therefore likely a day filled with “Can I chat/play/video with [fill in the blank]?” As much as we adults need a break, these kids do, too. So we DID make a schedule but it had large chunks of time for activities and more “free time” than usual.
Here’s how that went: The big kid spent nearly all day online. The little kid built Beanie Boo habitats all over the house (including re-destroying her room).
At one point, Ella found my computer when I went to the restroom, and I found her just looking at Snap Camera versions of herself – without permission or training.
Also, if you look carefully at the Zoom screenshot at the top, notice which kindergarten kid actually has a VIRTUAL BACKGROUND on her first Zoom class call… Many of the senior design leaders on my calls haven’t even done that yet.
Anyway, last week wasn’t ALL bad. We managed to keep our “theme dinner nights” going, and on Tuesday we watched LEAP!, an animated film set in France about an orphan who dreams of becoming a ballerina in Paris. Bart made a roasted chicken recipe that was insanely delicious, and I printed food charts with photos and their french names. Plus, Bart and I spoke some terrible French to one another, which impressed the kids. #winning
On Wednesday night we watched COCO (notice a pattern here?), another animated film about Dia de los Muertos in Mexico, which the girls picked just so they could have black bean tostadas, which they love. In case you watch it, just note that you MIGHT cry.
Friday night, after Mommy threw a brief tantrum (that’s content for a totally separate blog), we had pizza and game night! Look who showed up to play:
So the week wasn’t all work or all play, and I’m pretty sure Ella summed up our week perfectly with one of the few projects she actually completed:
She posted that on SeeSaw in response to an actual writing exercise from her teacher. Sure, it tells Mrs. Pak that maybe Ella’s not “reading to her toys” or “getting outside to get exercise” as she has suggested. But hey, at least she’s honest.
And now, we head into SPRING BREAK next week. Please cross your fingers and keep sending those GREAT ideas for how to entertain kids – we’re gonna need it.