How is everyone?
I’ve been swinging gently between being calm and relaxed and wondering if this is the beginning of a whole new way of living.
Even when I write that I think it’s only a question of time. They find the right medication, they give the vaccine the all go, and then things go back to normal.
I want to think that the world will have some sort of revelation and we will all collectively become better people. I think I am a bit too cynical for that. But I would really like for me to come out better on the other side.
We started self quarantining Saturday night. It’s Thursday today. Virtual schooling has been excellent because it keeps the kids on a schedule and busy until about 1pm. I have cancelled the tutors. Our nanny is doing English and math with Khaled, and I am doing Arabic and Islamic with Khaled and Abdullah.
Abdullah has video conferencing classes from 8 am to 12.30 pm. Saud Has to check into every class from 8.30 am, and Juji has any time between 9 and 2 to check her classes and submit her work. It’s actually all working really well. Whether they’re learning anything is another subject, but at this point, I can’t tell, so I will say yes inshallah they are.
To my sister Seeta, who witnessed me tutoring Saud when he was in first grade, I am better. I no longer throw things across the room, and I don’t yell. I “speak forcefully” and then reign myself in. And in 5 days no one has ended up in tears! So yay me.
I think this will be my great مهذب. There’s no better word in English. This experience will make me practice daily, continuously and repeatedly all that I have been preaching the last few years. There are no breaks, there is no time to forget or ignore the issue. When something irritates me, there’s not much space or time for me to walk away from it.
If I can’t walk away, I have 2 choices; get angry or get to the bottom of it. Considering my children are my only source of entertainment and conversation, being angry is not an option. Oh, and of course I don’t want to scar them for life. Instagram told me I have a choice about what they will remember this time being like when they look back. And Instagram was right and very profound.
I want them to look back on this and think we were comfortable, we were safe, and we had fun. I want it to be the time the rules were relaxed and sometimes broken. When we were growing up, we had the gulf war. And I know we are not nearly as scared or stressed as the adults must have been then, but it was a time of sunshine. Swimming. Family gatherings and laughter. Splattered with memories of sirens and gas masks, but it was not scary for me as a child or stressful. And neither should this be.
I hope you were not reading this for a “how to quarantine” post. No one knows how to do this, and the way we do this fits my family. It may not fit yours. But I have enjoyed people sharing their ideas of activities to do and games to play so here are some things we did the last 5 days:
We have a pool, so that’s been helpful. Someone said to limit their time in it so they don’t get bored, but I have spent whole summers jumping in a pool daily and never got bored.
Download on apple TV the Jackbox party games. Better for older kids because some content isn’t totally appropriate. They have hilarious games to play.
Just dance. Always a hit. Either download the app or youtube it.
Youtube dance tutorials and make everyone join in. I think I burned as many calories laughing as I did dancing
Movie night, every night.
Start a new series to watch with the older kids. We’re watching X files, and I’m so excited that Juji likes it. I am trying to not show my excitement because I have found that the level of her excitement decreases as my visible level of excitement increases. So I am internally excited.
Bake off competitions. One recipe, two teams. We have, as of yet, to properly cook anything at all. So while this is a fun activity, we suck at it as a family.
Things to remember:
- We are not responsible for filling every second of every day for them. At some point, they need to figure out what to do themselves.
- Older kids were made to help out with the younger kids. They can and should take some of the burdens off.
- Want to potty train? Do it now. Want to teach table manners? Do it now. Want to work on bad habits? (yours or theirs) Perfect timings.
No one knows how long this will last so I don’t have too many grand expectations of what I or any of my kids will achieve. My goal is to get through this with a huge amount of humour and kindness. And not to get too caught up in how I think it should be or what I think it should look like. At the best of times, I am unable to achieve that, and this is not the best of times.
My 10 and 7-year-olds are in their PJ’s at 4 pm. Apparently, they did this so that they can stay up later tonight since they’re already ready for bed.
One more note, I think we should recognise the people who are helping during these times. My social media is flooded with messages from people volunteering their apartment buildings for free if they were needed for quarantine. I have restaurants offering to send hospital workers food for free. We have all the hospital workers who are the front line of this. We should have these conversations with our children so they can understand how Saudi and Saudi’s rally around each other at times of need. Let’s also think of what we can do to show our appreciation
It’s a tough time for businesses and especially small ones. Make a conscious effort to order from the small local restaurants around you. Tip the drivers well and try a new restaurant every time. I imagine many businesses are feeling the strain already and some won’t survive the summer. Let us try and do what we can to support them.
What have you been up to? I’m asking and sharing ideas on instagram and would love to hear from you here and there!