Going bonkers in COVID19 times
Posted on May 24, 2020
This week was one of the better weeks. I got more sleep and had a few less meetings. I know, a low bar but a GREAT week. To be honest, I was going bonkers for a few weeks spending most of my waking and unawake time (literally) with Collin. Having zoom calls at the park or in the bathroom with occasional and embarrassing interruptions is now the new normal.
Even with all the frustrations, I’m feeling more grounded and grateful.
First, no one seems to have the answers right now on the “best” strategy on anything. From parenting to building power, there is a bit more humility, humanity and human-ness in this new culture. (There is also a bit more chaos, don’t get me wrong.)
Everyone is holding so much but the pain and impact is SO disproportional to poor and working class Black, Latinx, Native and PI communities. AND, the majority of people who have died from COVID in the US are still WHITE! So we ALL have a lot at stake here. As Trump intentionally drives us closer into a Cold War with China, there are deep and long term consequences to actual global cooperation to end this pandemic.
Then there are all the folks on the frontlines. Some invisible are now lifted up as “essential” workers but are really sacrificial. Many have become unemployed and are now disposable. Organizers, paid and non-paid, on the frontlines for mutual aid, services and crucial defense work are facing burnout and exhaustion. I don’t know what the future will hold but we need to remember that ALL workers (visible or not) are essential workers.
Parenting as frontline labor (and learning)
For me and many parents who have paid full time work, we’re on another frontline of labor and learning, which I’ll talk about later. Like I mentioned, I was going bonkers spending close to 24/7 with Collin, which is no longer the case. There is a little more stability and consistent routines. He is able to sleep on this own again (okay, it has been 4 days but I’ll take it) and have been able to have some afternoons away from the house.
Much of this reproductive and invisible labor (ie parenting) has been on the shoulders woman and even though my partner is on the frontlines, we are so fortunate to live with Mychi’s mom. There are many single parents on the frontlines who don’t have any support. We have much to be grateful for.
The other silver-lining for me is that I (and we) are learning a lot from each other. Collin and I are in each other’s world, like intensely for 24/7. Collin is in or around my zoom calls on political strategy and/or fighting xenophobia while I’m in and around his virtual circle time (and ABC Mouse time). We’re learning more about each other than ever.
Here are some memories I wanted to share.
- He learned to ride a bike and enjoys kicking around the soccer ball. Score!
- He is sleeping on his own (again). Yah!
- He is not really “shy” anymore. He had a record long 1 hour and 15 mins play date call (he did 80% of the talking, lol).
- One time he said, “Baba, I’m getting dizzy.” I said, “Why!?” and looked at the time and realized I forgot he was on the ipad for 5 hours because I was on back to back calls. My bad!
Deep 5 year old questions
We don’t watch Democracy Now! in the mornings anymore but watch old episodes of Linda Ellerbee’s Nick News (Mychi’s idea). There are a lot of great episodes on stranger danger, saving the earth, addiction, animal rights, racism and slavery, and life in rural and indigenous communities.
- After watching the episode on the Underground Railroad he asked me, “Are there any good white people? And are there any good governments?” Deep.
- After a Democracy Now segment on pay equity and unfair treatment of women, he asked me, “Can an Asian man be mean to a white woman?” Interesting…
- This morning he blurted out, “Why is It taking forever to get rid of Donald Trump and corona virus???”
I’m learning a lot from these questions and I’m learning how to be gentle on myself when I don’t have simple answers for a 5 year old.
Then, there are funny moments where Collin will use words from my meetings like, “This is my vision” and “this is not a democracy“. The other day he overheard me say, “hate” on a call. In a very familiar and admonishing voice, he says, “Baba, remember hate is a strong word!!” Lol this is all too much.
Challenges and new practices
There are plenty of tantrums and shutting down, especially when making a mistake and doing something wrong like in reading, math, and circle time. He’s very self conscious. This has been the most difficult.
So the other day we tried to normalize making mistakes by asking, “How many mistakes did you make today??” We are now trying to make at least 10 mistakes day not 100. Zero mistakes a day mean your not learning, 10 mistakes mean you are learning and growing and 100 mistakes mean you’re pushing yourself too hard. We’ll see how this goes!
As I’m writing this, Collin is jumping on me and asking me when the next zoom call is today and how he misses them. What is this?? What is being done to this generation?!
I know were all probably going bonkers right now but I’m sending love to all the parents and caretakers this long weekend.
Video of Collin practicing a new trick on this bike in the sandy surface.