This just in: working from home with small children not as glamorous as advertised

Daycare, schools, etc are out. You’ve probably got a firm grasp on that unless you’ve been hiking the Appalachian trail and have not bothered to talk to anyone for a few months.

So, for the most part our kids are entertaining themselves. We try and get in some school work, some play time and the like, but there is not a lot of instruction they’re getting until May remotely.

Our 7yo’s teacher has been sending out SeeSaw assignments, some Epic! reading, and some zoom meetings so there’s still a feeling of some school going on. We’ve got ABCMouse, access to Adventure Academy (although we haven’t done anything with it.) The state has some remote learning TV but it’s thus far been well below where the 7yo is at.

The state’s basically at reinforcing what they already know in k-2. Monday I think starts the city’s remote education plan for grades k-2. Older have a plan in place already but evidently putting together the entire thing remotely took them an extra week for the small fries.

We’re spending a LOT more time with these kids. I start thinking how things were scheduled before and it was wake up, rush to get ready, brushed, fed, get them to school, get to work, pick them up from care, rush to get baths, fed, little family time and bed. I felt like the weekends were when I got to see them.

Now it’s wake up and try and figure out how they’ve reconfigured the house, feed, line them up for some form of education, start answering a slew of emails, calls, video conferences, throw them in the back yard and listen to screaming nonstop for no reason whatsoever, threaten them with evil forces if they disrupt the meeting. The sudden realization that noise cancelling headphones can make conference calls so much better.

Throughout the day there’s watercooler talk with our new coworkers. Who left the floater in the downstairs bathroom, what all the Cyrus (how the 4yo says “virus”,) is doing to the economy, whether Westworld will once again lull so hard as to lose half its fanbase, and that poop is not as funny as she thinks it is.

When our work is done, which is usually earlier now because without having to time face to face stuff just gets done, we start a couple of hours earlier on doing kid things that with can with every playground closed in Nashville, every entertainment option being at the house, no humans we can play with.

My kids seem to understand that we’re stuck and it’s not our fault. That’s at least useful. Can’t imagine what a 2 or 3yo who thinks you’re punishing them with isolation from friends would be like.

What I can’t figure out is how I can say “do you remember the number 7?” and get “yes” and then I ask “what did you just remember” “what?” “what number did I ask you about?” “…. I don’t know”

Or from yesterday “if you go more than 12 inches from the side of the road we will turn around, not get your bikes for the rest of the day” – 11 steps later two of them walk right into the center of the road with a truck coming. Six attempts to walk each of them in a straight line on the side of the road and not veer into the center failed within 15 steps.

Like… what the actual fuck man… I set the bar at “if you can walk safely on the side of the road for TWO houses to the parking lot you get a fun time” and it turns into failing six times in a row and losing bikes for the night.

Hate to be a hardass on this, but I’m not letting them walk in front of a truck, which they did, again.

I seriously am going to start forking money over to teachers of this age kids if the economy recovers enough that society can reemerge.

Nashville schools officially re-open in August I believe. I don’t actually believe this at the moment, but we’ll see. The next four months at least I’ve got loud stinky coworkers who actively work to disrupt calls and can’t remember something past about 12 seconds.

But through it all I’m finding there are fascinating little people I didn’t really know about… I find them for about two seconds and then they fart,

Paul King

Paul King lives in Nashville Tennessee with his wife, two daughters and cats. He writes for Pocketables, theITBaby, and is an IT consultant along with doing tech support for a film production company.