Posted in audience participation, connections, mental health, parenting, socializing, thoughtfulness, tips, vulnerability

School. Virus. Sadness. Self-care. Hope.

Here in Arizona, the governor recently announced that public school buildings are closed for the rest of this school year. (Schools aren’t closed; the buildings are closed.)
Teachers and principals are still working.
I’m sad for all of the kids and teachers and parents who had something in the fourth quarter to look forward to. This is many seniors (remember: not everyone likes high school, so for some, this is a relief) and others moving up a level. Performances, dances, ceremonies, awards. “My last ____” just disappeared.
I’m sad for all the kids who go to school to get structure, to get love, to get consistency who are now looking at five or more months at home (spring break plus fourth quarter plus summer).
I’m sad for all the kids who are now working manual labor to try to help their families make ends meet. (Yes, that includes elementary-aged kids.)
I’m sad for the parents who are stressed out about trying to make their kids do their schoolwork (when really, love and connection and emotional safety are way more important — now and always…though those are different than “do whatever you want; another post for another day).
I’m sad for all of the lost birthday parties and quinceañeras and bar mitzvahs and  playdates and baby showers and weddings.
I’m sad for all of the people whose anxiety has shot up.
I’m sad for all of the people who have lost someone (virus-related or not) and can’t seek comfort in community.
I’m sad for all of the people who are separated from loved ones who are hospitalized (whether because of the virus or not).
I’m sad for all of the people who continue to mingle with others because they are so unwilling to accept their own vulnerability.
Stay in touch with people.
Do things at home that make you feel good.
If cleaning the house is a “should” and creating art is a “want,” create art. There’s enough to do that needs to be done (work for some, dishes, cooking, dishes, keeping other people and animals alive, dishes, laundry, dishes … so many dishes). When you have time outside of the needs, spend time on the wants. The shoulds can get done later.
Truly.
(If cleaning the house feels good, then do it! I know sometimes cleaning is a drag, and every now and then, a cleaning bender is mysteriously inspired. Wait for inspiration. And if you’re never inspired … it’s OK.)
Play.
Create.
Soak up beautiful things.
Take advantage of so many arts being available online (performances, galleries, etc.).
Turn on some music and dance and sing in the living room. (And make a house rule that no one makes fun of anyone else for how they look or sound doing it—emotional safety is important and “harmless teasing” erodes emotional safety.)
Get outside. Not socially, but sun is good for you in a myriad of ways.
Read. (Books, magazines, whatever. We were pounded with what “counts” as reading when we were in school, and it was bullshit. Read whatever interests you.)
Exercise. Go for a walk or a bike ride or do yoga or weightlifting or aerobics in your living room or your yard or on your patio.
Support the people around you and let them support you. We’re in our own little cells now, but we can still reach out and stay connected. Talk on the phone. Talk via video chat. Text. Email. Write letters.
So when it all passes and the fear settles and the anxiety reduces and we can gather again, we have changed the world for the better in the mean time.
In the mean time … stay home.
Posted in Sunday photos

My photography journey 29Mar20

Taking photos is a good way to spend some time in normal times, and it’s been good in these weird times as well.

I’m pleased to say that I’m fully in manual mode now and am getting many shots that look good. (And the ones that aren’t good are less often setting and more often just vision. “Just.”)

 

The Kid and The Climbing Daddy are making a table.

dsc_0946dsc_0949

 

I’ve taken several walks around the neighborhood. Spring! Flowers!

dsc_0984dsc_0144dsc_0116dsc_0027

 

I don’t ever want to have a bougainvillea —they’re heinous to maintain—but I appreciate that other people have them because they’re so pretty!

dsc_0999dsc_0150

 

And what’s a set of photos without a dead plant? I thought this was very cool to look at, though.

dsc_0125

 

And also

dsc_0136dsc_0103

 

Part of a palm tree:

dsc_0020

 

I liked the strings:

dsc_0099

 

I always love seeing these bud new leaves:

dsc_0034

 

I don’t remember ever seeing one of these like this!

dsc_0991

 

And someone’s RV gate, clearly not often used:

dsc_0018

 

A tree with a prosthetic trunk?

dsc_0047

 

In the yard:

dsc_0053

 

In someone else’s yard:

dsc_0985dsc_0052

 

The Kid, his LEGO, and the back yard:

dsc_0080dsc_0067

Posted in connections, ebb & flow, mental health, mindset, parenting

The kid way to process life

Kids work through stress and unfamiliar situations through play. (This is why play therapy is very effective with littles.)

The last play date we had (two weeks ago?), the kids were playing “corona zombies.”

Since play dates have ended, The Kid was playing a robber/spy game by himself where he had to steal and avoid a virus. (I don’t know how to do both simultaneously, but it’s his game. Not my place to “fix” it.)

He jumps on the trampoline A LOT (thank goodness that became part of the family before all this started!). The Climbing Daddy has a spiky ball for rolling underfoot. (Intentionally. Ideally while seated.) The Kid puts it on the trampoline and tries to bounce it off. It’s the virus (because they look similar) and he’s trying to get rid of it.

This is normal. This is healthy. This is how kids process stuff.

This is also informative.

If you’re seeing and hearing stuff like this come up in play, let them play it out. Of course you can have a conversation about it, but please don’t stifle the play.

(Likewise, if you hear them playing out other real-life-ish scenarios that raise red flags, be gentle, but have a conversation.)

As far as life without playdates?

He’s been using Marco Polo* to talk to friends and has had a few virtual playdates via FaceTime. I got tipped off that Battleship and Guess Who can both be played via video chat without adaptation, and they’ve enjoyed playing.

*I didn’t know much about this app until a week or two ago, but it’s been a lot of fun, for me and the kids.

We’ve made drawing and typing and foreign language learning part of our daily routine. He needs some structure and routine, and I don’t want all schoolwork. These are things he’s enjoying (so far) and are good for him and he doesn’t do in school.

Finally, one of my principals shared this with us.

choose connection

 

Deep breath. You can do this.

Posted in Sunday photos

My photography journey 22Mar20

Well … I’ve done a lot of academic learning this week, with just a little photo-taking. But I’ve graduated to all photos being taken on manual mode, which is exciting and yields only marginally more failure than other not-fully-manual-but-not-point-and-shoot-either settings. Getting there!

Here’s what I have to share with you, all from the yard or the garage.

The lead photo is a ladybug who is probably not happy that we’re ripping out her habitat. (The yard has so many really tall weeds. There are many other plants the ladybugs are welcome to hang out on.)

One of the cool things about having fruit trees is seeing the progression of the fruit growing. All of these little flowers will be either oranges or key limes, depending on which tree, of course. I took a few shots of baby fruits, but they didn’t turn out well.

dsc_0933dsc_0927dsc_0926

A chili pepper … and a little critter.

dsc_0937

I love cacti. Eventually, we’ll have more on site. For now, a few will do.

dsc_0942

And finally, The Climbing Daddy is building a table for the back patio! It’s a good project for “we can’t go anywhere anyway.”

dsc_0918

 

Posted in education, parenting

Free online resources for kids at home

Schools across the country are closing in an effort to help contain the pandemic.

This post is intended as a living resource for parents and other caretakers for online learning resources for kids.

They should all be free or temporarily free.

I have not checked every one. If you find any of these to be in error, let me know and I’ll edit.

If you know of others, let me know and I’ll add them.

All links should open in a new tab.

Online learning and classes through sites

Storyline Online

PBS Kids

Go Noodle

ABCya

BrainPopJr

Vooks Storybooks

Prodigy (math)

Ivy League courses online

ABC Mouse (use coupon code SCHOOL7771)

Scholastic

Mystery Science

Switcheroozoo.com

NatGeo for Kids

Into the Book

FunBrain

Starfall

Highlights Kids

The Basic Band Book

SciShow

Crash Course

Khan Academy

Lunch Doodles with Mo Willems

 

Online learning and classes through YouTube

Dr. Selfridge Music

Science Mom

Music lessons

 

Online learning and classes through Facebook

Art lessons through Facebook live

More (different) art through Facebook live

 

Ideas for other things to do at home

These aren’t online interactive things but are lists of ideas.

30 Days of Lego Play

Little animal drawing tutorials (not video; through Facebook)

 

Virtual field trips/performances

Collection of “over 30” virtual field trips with links

Virtual museum tours

Plays and musicals

National Park Tours

Musical Instrument Museum

Center for Puppetry Arts

Metropolitan Opera

 

Art at Home

 

Kidsactivities.com seems to have a giant list, with loads of other stuff as well. If you’re not prone to overwhelm and want lots of options, head over there!