Welcome, Mamma Crew! Today is Kiddos Tuesdays when I discuss issues related to the kids.
So like many of you in this pandemic, we experience our ups and downs. And like many of you, we don’t want to admit to them because we feel, in our heart of hearts, that we should be grateful, that we have not been directly impacted by this horrible disease.
So we are healthy, we are safe, and we’re in a community where the kids can at least bike or skateboard, right? But the kids are not happy. And some days, like today, it feels like I’m attempting to put lipstick on a pig that already has too much lipstick on, you know what I’m talking about? I’m trying to deal with the kids’ issues but today, I don’t know how.
What do I mean by that? Well, Bug, my four-year-old son, is losing his sanity. He’s tired, and I get it. He’s tired of being locked up, cooped up, in a 1,400 square-foot condo. He wants to go outside in the grass and play. Except that there’s no playground in this complex because this is primarily a summer vacation-type of complex, where people go to Disney and Universal and Sea World. They don’t stay in. It’s not that type of property. So there’s no place for him to go. And even if there was a playground, he couldn’t go into it — most of the playgrounds in Florida are taped with yellow… tape that says, “Please Do Not Play Here.” So we’re dealing with that and he is a bundle of energy.
I do take him out every day in the morning to walk around the complex or to use his scooter. But frankly, you could only go around the complex so many times. He gets some energy out but not enough. And even if I were to exhaust him by walking around the complex over and over, it’s not the way he needs to get his energy out. He misses his friends; he misses his activities; he pines about karate. I know that’s the class he misses the most. That’s the activity he misses the most. He doesn’t get to go to playgroups. It’s hard! It’s hard on him! It feels like trying to contain an explosion inside a small condominium.
Emmy is also struggling. It’s like the light is going out of her. She’s pining for her dance classes; she’s pining for the homeschool co-op; she’s pining for her friends; she’s pining for the ability to drive the golf cart in the community where we typically live year-round.
She goes out bicycling almost every day with at least one of her sisters but it’s not the same — frankly, they’re starting to drive each
other crazy. They see each other all the time. There’s no real outlet beyond the three of them. And they’re also changing. The kind of things that used to make them happy, like arts and crafts — they’re not into them anymore. And they’re really not into videogames. I got them a PS4 or a PS3 (or whatever that is) and they’re really not all that interested.
It’s all about socializing right now and, of course, they can’t do it. And out of my three thirteen-year-old daughters, the most social is Emmy. So she is really, really, chaffing.
Honestly, I can’t even tell you what week of lockdown we’re on. The weeks blend into each other; the days blend into one another. I really don’t know anymore. I think it’s about eight weeks because we started two weeks before it was mandated.
So she has begun to ask me, “When will this be over?” and the answer is, “I don’t know. I don’t know. I really don’t know..” And what’s more, I don’t know what to tell her anymore. I don’t know how to give her hope. I don’t know how to let her know that we, as humanity, have been through plagues before, pandemics before, whatever you want to call them — we have survived; we have thrived, and we have moved forward. And we will this time, too. But even if I say those words, I’m saying them as a college professor who knows way too much about history. I really don’t know what to say as a mom anymore. Not after eight weeks.
Andy is different. You can say that she’s flourishing because, well, she’s the most introverted of the three girls. And she loves socializing — but she loves socializing online. And right now, I am allowing that more than I typically would because they can’t do it in person. On the other hand, the problem there continues to be that I have to fight with her — constantly — not to overdo it. And of course, she’s my one difficult teenager. It feels right now like, we’ve been through that we’re-gonna-fight-all-the-time teenage period. Which is compounded by the fact that we’re in a lockdown — stuck with one another with limited ability to do things.
So of course, I often question: should we have done the lockdown in our other home? But of course, if one of us were to acquire this very difficult disease, we really need to be in Florida where there is excellent healthcare. However, it’s getting to the point where we’re a little bit on the side of miserable.
Dora seems to be doing the best of the kids because this is giving her the opportunity to really bond with Emmy and Andy. they have been spending more sisterly time together. And that’s wonderful. Absolutely wonderful. But she, too, keeps asking, “When can we go to Fun Spot?” “When can we go to the parks?” And again, I find myself saying, “I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t know.”
We took them for a drive — a long drive — but they were not really interested! They went from being stuck in a 1,400 square-foot condo to being stuck in a… I don’t know how big is a Golf Atlas. But the bottom line is it’s a smaller space. And they still were not able to interact with other kids. So the bottom line is they didn’t feel a lot of freedom there.
So how to give them that? How to give them some more socialization, given this situation? And right now, I don’t know! That’s my answer: I don’t know! I have no idea! Of course, I have searched the Internet, then I hear the experts and yes, I do all of those things. But a virtual tour of the museum doesn’t make up for the fact that you can’t go to the museum and you can’t be outside, meeting with your friends; that you can’t travel; that this year, your very special thirteenth birthday when you were going to become a teenager, is sort of not going to happen. It’s canceled. Postponed. Rescheduled. We don’t even know what to call it anymore. So the answer continues to be “I don’t know.” I just don’t know.
But I do know one thing — it’s okay, as a mom, not to have all the answers every single day of our children’s lives. It’s okay to feel overwhelmed that we can’t solve their problems. And it’s okay to get frustrated even as we understand that this, too, shall pass. We’re only human. We can’t ask more of ourselves than we would ask someone else and we need to be sympathetic to our plight, just like we would be to someone else’s in that position. We need to be kind to our children and kind to ourselves while we get through this… I-don’t-know period. Until we make it to the other side. It doesn’t make us bad parents. It makes us human beings. And we are teaching our children a positive lesson: that we don’t always have the answers, we don’t always seem to have the answers and that sometimes, the only thing we can be is patient. But yes — I don’t like it! I really don’t like it!
But then that’s something else that I have to forgive myself for. And yes, I will continue putting lipstick on that pig. Because that’s what I have to do. That, I do know.