Elizabeth picked a Tie Dye kit as her "toy" from Mrs Tiggy Winkles' going out of business sale and today she finally got to do part one as her shirt arrived (and was out of quarantine). She says next time she's going to use more dye, but in general she's pleased with the results.
One thing that's interesting about mostly not going out (aside from how much less bookkeeping I have to do) is how quickly the days all seem to blur together in a kind of "Groundhog day" sort of way.
I certainly am not finding that it's much less busy around here or anything. We've started an initiative to connect the kids to their school friends on a regular basis, with the hope that they can speak french. I'm not sure how successful that's been but Matthew has really really enjoyed speaking with his friend Chloe the past two mornings.
It was raining when it was time for our family walk outdoors but that's just an excuse for using umbrellas, right? There had been thunder earlier but it subsided and we correctly reckoned this meant fewer people outside and thus less zigzagging required. People seem to be a bit more considerate now as well, tending to wait at intersections of the sidewalks or crossing into the street rather than forcing all the kids to dodge around them. Perhaps the news of our first Covid-19 death has made people take the 2m metre distance request more seriously. Perhaps there is hope that we will get some summer after all.
Today was Elizabeth's first live acro and contortion classes over Google Hangouts. Let's just say we prefer Zoom and leave it at that, but I think it went alright.
Sometimes we play a game called Roses and Thorns, where you talk about something good that happened, something bad, and something you are looking forward to.
So for today: My rose is that Elizabeth, Brendan and I played a very successful game of Ticket to Ride over the internet with Lauren, Anna, David and Lindsay. We each set up a board and a bunch of devices so we could see and talk to each other. We split the route cards in half, then we played!
But also the first time that the kids decided to play hairdresser. Apparently Amelia had the idea and Matthew carried out the deed. It could have been much worse. I had terrible forebodings when Elizabeth announced that she had just discovered that Matthew had cut everyone's hair, including the stuffy lion's mane. Daddy put Matthew to bed until lunchtime when he denied all knowledge.
Daddy: "You are COVERED in hair!" Matthew: "...."
After haircuts, Michael has a small bald spot at the top of his head. Matthew's hair is a 1/4" shorter than normal and the front is still a bit weird (but he didn't want me to "bald him" and I figured that it was good enough). Amelia has a rather crooked fringe which is honestly quite cute. I DO like bangs on her and it was never my idea for either of the girls to grow them out. She apparently wants to grow it back though, so we have left it for the moment and we'll see whether we shorten that one side to make it look a bit less lopsided.
Probably what we're actually doing is closer to social isolation than social distancing, but this week is ALL about the setting up of virtual community and connections.
The schedule is now complicated enough that it needed to be written down a little more formally. I guess I'll post a photo when we get something more stable. This week is frustrating because we're still figuring out how best to balance work and homeschooling four kids. I'm really glad we've been "practicing" this, but we can't really afford to just let work slide the way we can when we normally homeschool in short spurts.
I need to keep reminding myself of the lessons from last summer, especially the one where I concluded that I simply cannot expect to get a quality one-on-one intense lesson on every topic in every day for every kid. There's just too many of them, and the age range is too wide to really expect everyone to be engaged in a group lesson. So we need to divide and conquer and be okay with some kids playing or having screen time while we focus on one child at a time.
Our local community center (GNAG) is doing virtual circle times so we logged on today and sang songs with Jason and showed off our favourite stuffies. Elizabeth had a violin lesson (sadly Matthew has no violin, so Elizabeth's going to get two lessons a week instead). We connected with Auntie Janice. There was another live karate lesson and Michael joined in too, briefly. "Yaya Karate? Beth Karate? Mahew karate? Me karate TOO!!!" Elizabeth had a ballet lesson and experimented with the best substitute for a ballet barre.
We went for a walk outside ("Not MORE zigzagging!" said Elizabeth. "I'm tired of zigzagging")
But the highlight of the day was a neighbourhood virtual zoom "dinner". It was super nice to catch up a bit with our neighbours. When this is all over, I think we'll have to have a neighbourhood feast!
We are fully expecting a shelter in place order to be implemented in Ontario soon, so when we saw that the weather was cold and snowy we thought it would be a good day to try visiting the birds again.
This time when we got to the parking lot there was only one other car so we decided it was okay to go for a hike with some bird seed. It was super slippery with the fresh snow on top of ice and Matthew took a hard fall but after that we all were very careful and we had a great time. We did see someone else arrive in the parking lot a few minutes later but once we got on the trail we were completely alone and we didn't see anyone else again.
Elizabeth had great success with birds flocking to her hand but Matthew didn't want to take off his mitt so he only got one or two visitors the whole time. Amelia tried for a few minutes and then got bored and Michael spent the entire time trying to catch the squirrels and chipmunks. We had a really great time, which is good because I'm quite sure that given our experience on Saturday it won't be long before these trails are closed until the virus is under control.
While we were out in the woods I got a call from Spinnewyn to say they had received the last part of our recent order, but were closing for the duration in the next few hours. Then I was glad that I had decided to bring lunch along for the car as we detoured to the optical place. We'd been discussing all week whether getting new glasses was essential or not or if it could wait but my glasses have been repaired twice and sit on a noticeable angle and my prescription has changed. But the clincher was that Matthew accidentally banged his head into my glasses a few days ago and the lens has been loose ever since. I was relieved to discover that I was able to pick them up without coming closer than 2m to anyone else!
Since we were out and about and next to a grocery store, I sent Brendan into the Metro to grab the rest of the things that we had attempted to order online.
The kids have demanded a proper school day tomorrow complete with quiet time. Brendan thinks that there are nefarious reasons behind this sudden interest in quiet time.