Day 1:
Virtual homeschooling for our grammar school starts tomorrow; today was an organizational day. Unlike my peers, I did not get organized. If you are not good at organizing under normal circumstances, I’m here to tell you that your organizational skills do not improve under pressure. My mind is scattered. There are legos and leprechaun traps everywhere. Somehow, this feels right.

On the other hand, my 17 year old started her online schoolwork this morning 8 a.m. She finished up by dinner. She told me this is a lot more work than she actually does in school. I’m hoping this is teenage hyperbole, but I have other worries right now. In the meantime, while she was holed up in her room for hours, I got a taste of what life will be like when she’s away at college. Emotional spiral ensued. Turned focus to my youngest.

Did a brief online math exercise with the 7 year old. There were tears. I stand by my belief that you cannot teach your own child to swim or ski — I’m adding math facts to that list.

Spirits lifted by a hippo named Fiona at the Cincinnati Zoo. I’m not kidding. The zoo is offering a daily live stream on Facebook at 3 pm each day. No one — not the 7 year old nor myself — can cry while watching hippos.

The use of technology kept us tethered to the outside world. The young just may save us during social distancing! With my children’s guidance, I used YouTube and FaceTimed. Turns out, we can learn anything on YouTube. With instructional videos, I predict that by summer we will all know how to play the ukulele and deliver baby farm animals.

Also, my double chin and I still hate video conferencing.

Made Irish soda bread. Argued with 7 year old about the recipe, the one I’ve been making for 20 years and eating for 45 years. Quibbled over the appropriate amount of raisins and what it means to “beat” eggs. Home Ec lesson was a failure. Worried this doesn’t bode well for us going forward.

Learned (once again) I am not good under pressure. Based on the simmering stress of crowds in the supermarket, I panicked. We now have a lot of chopped meat and Cheezits in the house. Not much else.

Ran into a friend at the supermarket. Kindness and humor was reinforced. And, I now believe in the vodka fairy.

Waited in a long, snaking line at the supermarket. Spotted boxes of Whitman’s Samplers tucked behind the registers; thought of my grandmother. If she were here, she’d remind me that this isn’t the first time things have felt radically uncertain. Also, self care looks like chocolate. 

15 comments

  • MAUREEN GAITES

    THANKS FOR THIS I HAVE MISSED THESE WRITINGS AS ALWAYS A GOOD READ. LOVE YOU AND GOOD LUCK

    Reply
    • Jennifer Gaites

      Thanks for reading! Hope you guys are hanging in there!

      Reply
  • Julie Landy

    Always love reading your posts! I may have to watch that hippo at 3PM. And Happy St Pat’s Day!!

    Reply
    • Jennifer Gaites

      Thank you! Hope everyone is good by you. Definitely check out the hippos…moment of zen.

      Reply
  • Joanne Wurtz

    Jen, thanks for bringing loaves and laundry back! I would like to recommend using Khan Academy for any concepts that might need clarification. It’s good!

    Stay well! 💗

    Reply
    • Jennifer Gaites

      Good advice! Thanks!

      Reply
  • Lynn Halpern

    A ray of sunshine during uncertain times-we all could use some smiles. Was so happy to see the post.

    Reply
    • Jennifer Gaites

      Thank you! Hope you are well!

      Reply
  • Betsy Boyle

    Always enjoy your humorous insights into the lives of busy Moms. Stay calm and keep on writing. Betsy Boyle😍

    Reply
    • Jennifer Gaites

      Thanks, Betsy! Stay calm is good advice. Hope you’re well!

      Reply
  • Amy

    Ack. I needed this. Also: could use a vodka fairy as well. Don’t fret about the big girl leaving. Alas, I have learned, they always come back. Especially during pandemics. Hopefully this is the last of those for a while. Stay cool and just keep baking (and writing). xo

    Reply
    • Jennifer Gaites

      Good advice, Amy. Thanks!

      Reply
  • Phyllis Provenzano

    Happy Saint Patrick’s Day Jenny. Is this the first entry in a while, or have I been missing them?
    As usual, I enjoyed it immensely.
    Love to all the family
    Phyllis

    Reply
    • Jennifer Gaites

      First in a long time, yes!Thanks for reading (even after a lapse!)! Hope you’re doing well.

      Reply
  • Eileen Toomey

    You can add ice skating to the list.

    Reply

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