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Well, it looks like I ran out of steam for weekly blogging about the pandemic! In the beginning I think I was in denial about the scope of this and at this point blogging weekly until the pandemic is “over” doesn’t really make sense. I don’t know when it’ll be “over” and I think embracing a sort of “new normal” for now makes more sense for me. It felt strange to leave my last pandemic post up with no update–too scary! So I thought I’d write a quick check-in post!

The kids’ school is out now, and we’re doing 2 days of “homeschooling” and the rest of their time will be spent playing together. Right now they are planning a party for their stuffies and have been spent the last few days making “presents” and building furniture out of cardboard, cloth, and glue. I don’t know if I’ll be allowed to take photos, but if I am, I’ll post them to my instagram. (Which reminds me that I told someone I’d post my photos of the butterflies we raised to instagram but didn’t end up doing that! At some point I’ll do it!)

Meanwhile, I’m focusing more on my various writing projects. I’ve been blogging for a very long time now, and inspired by Malinda Lo’s newsletter, I thought that perhaps it was time to try moving to writing actual essays rather than just journaling online. I’m also taking a personal essay class through Grub Street, which is almost done (phew!). I wrote 3 essays for the class (whoo!!) but they need a lot of revising, so we’ll see how that turns out! I don’t know yet if I’ll try submitting these to publications or just stick them on my blog. We’ll see in the next few months!

#pandemicposts #writingclass

Four weeks (more like 4 and a half, but close enough). Last week whizzed by. The kids had their first videochats with their teachers and they had a lot of assigned school work, designed to keep them occupied for 3 hours per day. The 10 year old, for the most part, can work independently. She has a chromebook and loves working on it. The 7 year old needs more help and direction, but also seems pretty content to work on her school work.

They both need help managing their time though (homework, recess, lunch, snack, chores) as well as their numerous requests for video chats with friends. Even still, I actually did find time to write last week, but it wasn’t all in a row, like I’m used to. I feel like I have to train my brain to work frequently but for not as long. I’ve talked to my family about my frustrations around this, and am trying to block in 3 hour stretches in the afternoon where they play and work independently. Today is the first day we’re trying it.

Another list of things I wanted to remember:

  1. gifts of handmade masks from my mother and my neighbor friend

  2. the “business plan” 10 year old wrote and emailed me for fun (not a school assignment)

  3. watching long videochats between the kids and their friends that consist of long silences as they try to figure out what to talk about (I think they’re so used to playing and talking at the same time that they don’t really know how to just sit and talk.)

  4. Easter morning, my 10 year old woke up before anyone else and made waffles for the family with no help

  5. playing videogames with the kids

  6. cuddling on the couch and reading books with the 7 year old during the day

  7. After my 7 year old wrote a very sad journal entry about her “hopes” (see below) my husband took the 7 year old to the bike store for a new bike. She came home very proud of her new big kid bike with gears! (Note: the store is only open for appointments and doesn’t let customers inside.) So far she has only biked up and down our street which has largely been empty.


View this post on Instagram

Journal entry by my 7 year old (assigned by school). (Edited to add: this is shared with her permission)

A post shared by Amitha (@amithaknight) on Apr 7, 2020 at 10:56am PDT

#pandemicposts

I realized after hitting send on my blog post last week that I had forgotten so many small things that had happened that I wanted to remember. So last Wednesday, I made a bit of a list of things I wanted to remember doing during the pandemic:

  1. dropped off groceries to family in self-quarantine

  2. participated in a video chat birthday party for a niece

  3. monthly book group switched to a weekly video chat

  4. video “morning meeting” from the school principal, where he suggested making anagrams from the word “gratitude”, which the kids really found exciting and spent several hours working on using scrabble letters (voluntarily)

  5. getting home cooked food South Indian food delivered from my mom

Last night, the school emailed us a more concrete plan for homeschool, and the plan is a bit less relaxed than ours, (we had been taking Wednesdays off from school!) so we’ll see how that goes! The kids have been doing piano lessons over video chat, which has been going surprisingly well, and this week their bharatnatayam class is going to try video chat. I’m curious to see how that will work.

This Saturday, I attended Kweli Journal’s Color of Children’s Literature Conference. This was originally supposed to take place in NYC, but they switched to a virtual conference. I was a bit skeptical about how it would work, but they did an excellent job making the switch. The conference was incredibly inspiring, and am eager to get writing! I’m hoping now that the kids have assigned school work I’ll get to some more writing time in.

#pandemicposts

© 2020 by Amitha Jagannath Knight