3.22.2020

Week One


Parts of this week were exhausting. I remembered the first week of the summer schedule last year, when I wondered if this was really going to work (and I remembered the promise I'd gotten the summer before that--that it would be the last hard summer... because the very first week of the summer schedule definitely wasn't looking or feeling easier).


This week was not as hard as the one last year, and I already knew that it takes time to deal to adjust to a new thing--deal with everyone's panic when they've forgotten passwords, other kids upset because they actually didn't want to do cooking (or some other thing). Also, as much as I wish all my kids could adjust to something different at the drop of a hat, some of them just naturally take more time.

Anyway, the end of the week was already much better. Woo and I believe this whole isolation thing is a great opportunity for us to overcome contention and rudeness as a family and to become one, and I continue to believe that.


There were many instances where a new awesomeness unveiled itself. Ruby and Herbie spent one evening giggling together and being best friends. That hasn't happened in a long time.

There were many times where all the kids played or worked together wonderfully on a shared game or project. Archie always seems to love, love, when everyone is home and he has so many big brothers and sisters to play with.


Portugal moved into a state of emergency with many movement restrictions last night. Woo paid the rent this week (in case it got more difficult later--it has to be done at the bank), and he and I went grocery shopping yesterday. It looked like they already had the restrictions in place, except they let us in during the time that will be reserved for people 65+.

There was a line outside (all of us standing 2 meters apart), and all the carts were removed. You could only enter the store with a cart, when someone else came out with one and passed it on to you. We all wore gloves; there were new plastic guards in front of the cashiers; they frequently sprayed stuff in their area down; and other than that it seemed largely the same. The store was fully stocked.

Woo and I always fill up two carts when we go shopping, but we checked out separately and generally tried to not look like we were together to avoid scaring everyone else into thinking we were hoarding and emptying out the store.


Monday we learned that all parks and beaches had been closed, but we were still able to get outside for track club and play at other times by going to parking lots or deserted jogging trails. Group athletic activity was restricted to 5 people to a group, then down to 2, so Woo and Herbie are still okay to surf together. They just make sure no one is there first, and there usually isn't. The entire town largely feels deserted.


Also, we are lucky to live on the edge of town, and can easily walk to a large expanse of dunes that the kids call "the wilderness." Every time we went, I thought of Maria packing up and taking the Van Trapp children on an outing in the mountains, and I felt like her (even though there were no other similarities). Many years ago when we watched the Sound of Music, Linus said, "I wish that girl was my mother!" This may be the closest you're ever going to get, Linus!


And when it's raining, we have a completely empty garage to run around in.


Penelope has a very cute and surprisingly accurate British accent that she learned from her English teacher. (She was very excited to start English this year, and I guess she did learn something after all). She and Ruby linked arms one walk back from the wilderness and tried to talk like they were from "1987" (Penelope's year). When they got home they sat in Ruby's room and read Emma out loud to each other in their British accents.

Another fun moment was when Herbie, Moses and Archie all tried to speak German with each other, and then later, when Ruby, Herbie and Linus spoke French.


Penelope and Linus take their language study very seriously, frequently pausing their app to take notes. Penelope even gets her notes out to study Japanese on off days from the summer schedule.


One day at lunch, I took a break in bed while the kids were in the living/dining room. I surprised them by playing some of the youth music through that speaker. That music (or any music) has a powerful and instant effect on Moses. He started from that moment on to be a infallible peacemaker and motivator of his brother's and sister's to do what they're supposed to be doing. He gobbled down his food, started and finished his chore, and spread the news that anyone who finished eating and doing their chore could play with him and his Pokeman cards, the sooner the better---singing out loud all the while.


Archie didn't get to read Frog and Toad or learn German one of the earlier days because he hadn't finished his morning chore in the allotted time. He was very upset, and even more upset when he learned that he got to do his homework from his teacher instead. (This kind of thing makes the first few days exhausting.) However he did much better the days after that.


Oh, and Linus tripped and hit his eye on the stair. He has a nice swollen black eye.


And that's all I have. I hope you're all doing well!