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What Not to Do at the Start of a Lockdown

Miss the Boat

It was Friday the 13th of March, 2020. The last day of on-campus schooling and the last day I had anything remotely approaching patience left. Sure, it had been in the news, I'd heard of the panic-buying, seen photos of ransacked stores with nothing but some squid-ink pasta and jarred artichoke hearts left. But I live in a civilized area. I had 12 rolls of toilet paper and had just done a biggish shop at Trader Joe's. Sorted. But...was I? When we got official word that Friday was the last day of on-site school, I decided to pop to Target to join the herd and stockpile a few things just in case. Well, guess what? As you might have guessed if you've read any of my previous posts, I had missed the boat. And not just missed it, it was sailing merrily over the horizon, toilet paper streaming from the funnel. I dashed about with a few other disheartened shoppers, madly grabbing anything that was left. I got one box of frozen sliders (miniature burgers), one bag (the last one!) of wide egg noodles, two pouches of microwaveable rice with vegetables, a couple of dented cans of Progresso Chicken Noodle Soup and two cans of Chef Boyardee Beefaroni. I also snagged the last mini-grinder of salt, the penultimate pack of Acetaminophen and the last jar of kid's vitamin gummies (Trolls). To date, the only things we have used from this emergency stockpile are the gummies, one can of the Beefaroni and one pouch of the rice. It was disgusting so I threw the other one away. We still had a bag of rice and a box of boil-in-the-bag left though so I wasn't too worried. The Beefaroni was also not a hit so the second can remains in our cupboard. I have no earthly idea what to do with the wide egg noodles as I've never used or eaten them before in my life. Food drive, anyone?

Break your Entire Childcare System

Returning from Target in a sudden panic that things were not as utopian in my neighborhood as I'd thought, I set about disinfecting door handles, my phone etc. Then I decided to give the remote control a thorough once-over with a Clorox wipe. And broke it. 

It would not work! I could not access any of the streaming services we rely on and the channel it was stuck on was one we'd watched a Premier League soccer game on a couple of weeks previously. It was a Spanish channel. None of us speak Spanish. My 5 and 7 year old were going to be at home for the foreseeable future and I'd just broken the tv??? Shiiiiiiiiiiiiiittttt!!!!! Thinking quickly, I plunged the remote into our only remaining bag of rice and prayed to the electronic gods that I'd just done the equivalent of dropping a phone in a toilet. During the wait I looked up replacements but couldn't see any that wouldn't take days to deliver. I considered going to Best Buy to try my luck but couldn't see any in stock on their site. I can't remember how long I waited. Minutes? Half an hour? With a phone you're supposed to wait as long as possible to dry it out - up to 36 hours! I didn't have that kind of time, my daughter was finishing school any minute and what was my husband going to say? We might have to resort to talking to each other that evening! Anxious moments passed, I removed the black control that I realized held my entire family together. Holding my breath, I pressed the button for Netflix. YES! Praise be to rice for you have saved my life. 

Read Other People's Helpful Advice

Our school had rejigged their calendar in response to the COVID-19 outbreak so Spring Break officially started the first Monday everyone was at home. I was full of ideas and enthusiasm for the coming days. Hey, it would be nice to spend some (more) time with my children. We would do Lego, watch movies, craft, do crazy science experiments and generally have a hilarious and positive experience. Well, that lasted about two minutes. Monday was OK. By Tuesday, I was all out of ideas. A post popped up on a local Facebook group I'm in. I won't quote it word for word to protect the poor innocent but it basically went like this:

Day 2 of home school is done! 
9-11 - math and word puzzles
11-12 - quiet reading time
Lunch - watched youtube vid of our Principal reading a story
1pm - walk around the neighborhood with our dog
2pm - quiet time watching The Magic School Bus
3pm - watched Cincinnati Zoo youtube video
3.30pm - worked on a 500 piece puzzle
4.30pm - outdoor fun with dad
How was your day?

My reply: We struggled through an hour of Play Doh and watched Babe.

I mean, seriously. My eyes are rolling now and I've read the damn thing before. Humble brag much? Although when you look closer, it does seem like she's palming off her child to youtube and books, not much interaction needed from her. I'm slagging her off but it is actually quite genius. Make yourself sound like a home-schooling maven with minimal effort needed. My children are like two limpets. If they're not physically attached to me or can't see me, they're shouting to check I'm still in the house. So, anyway, this post made me feel a bit lacking in my capacity to entertain my kids for the next however long without resorting to a LOT of screen time was technically the school holidays! That's my excuse, anyway.


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