Our Strangest Ever Spring

Well, the days of quarantine roll on, making this the strangest spring we’ve ever experienced.

Stay at home orders began in mid-March and it’s now the end of April, with no end in sight that I can tell.

All schools (including private schools and daycare) have been ordered closed until at least the end of June.

Non-essential businesses are ordered closed until the middle of May, at least.

Chris has been working long hours every day to deal with newly developing work situations and fresh fires to put out each day. He’s up at 4am a lot of days to get a good start on the day.

So that all adds up to the following: Tru and I, me and Tru, all day, every day.

What’s that like?

It’s tiring.

They don’t say, “it takes a village to raise a child,” because it’s a cute, sweet little sentiment.

They say it because it’s true: it requires a community to raise a child.

And what I’ve learned is that it’s impossible to try to be all things for a child: teacher, coach, parent, playmate…

I really appreciated the community we had when we had it. Each person –  school teachers, music teachers, soccer coaches, skating coaches, babysitters, grandparents, neighbors, playmates – had an important role in forming Trevor into the sweet little guy he is. It can’t be good for anyone to be around only me, 24/7, is another way of saying it! I’m missing that community support so much now.

The exhaustion takes an emotional toll on me some days.

I’m definitely mindlessly snacking way too much. I think I must have gained 15 pounds since the winter began!

As for Trevor, he doesn’t know what’s going on.

I told him an extended vacation was happening, and he’s accepted that. I think since he’s lived so short a life, he doesn’t question these things that seem so bizarre and strange to Chris and I. I think he mostly forgets what happened yesterday, so he’s not really questioning if things are different than they used to be.

So how do our days go?

I usually wake to the sound of little feet hitting the floor and dashing into my bedroom, sometime between 6:15 and 6:30am.

Next, it’s time for cuddles, which is one of the highlights of my day. Tru will crawl under the covers next to me (and in between Chris and I when Chris leaves later for work). Sometimes Trevor will sing or bombard me with questions. Sometimes he’ll lie still and ask for a “wub.” Then I’ll give him a little back rub and I’ll melt over the impossible tininess of his sweet, soft little arms and back.

Sometimes he’ll rest his hand on my cheek and look deep into my eyes, not saying anything. Or he’ll say, “I love you Mama,” and I’ll know I’m having a best moment of my life.

I think it must have been when I was a teen that I started to wake up in the morning with an attitude of, “oh nooo, another day…”

But Trevor wakes up happy and full of energy, which I always appreciate so much. I think most of us wake up that way when we’re really young, and slowly we lose that excitement. I find myself wising he could wake up that happy for all of his life…

But anyway, I’ll try to start out positive since Tru deserves that, and I’ll say, “good morning beautiful, how was your night?”

So we get up and get dressed and get going with our day at about 6:30am. I learned when Tru was a newborn: always, as soon as you get out of bed, immediately get dressed, brush your teeth, comb your hair, open your curtains, and make your bed. Otherwise, day and night blend together and you start to feel like a zombie. So that old habit has come in handy for these days of quarantine!

We have about eight hours to fill until Tru’s nap at about 2pm. 

So we do everything we can come up with. Here are some things Trevor loves during these days of isolation:

  • I got him a ‘Rainbow Crystals’ kit which has beakers and trays to mix colors with food coloring and water. Then he adds clear little rocks which absorb the colors. He absolutely loves mixing up the colors.
  • I also purchased some beads with string, so he’ll sometimes make necklaces. He loves to do patterns with the colors and he’s always so careful and precise with the patterns.
  • Tru loves to run races! So we’ll run laps around the house. I never want to run races (!) but I always do because I need all the exercise I can get. And it does become really fun when I see Tru break into giggles. His pure joy always makes me smile.
  • Tru loves climbing the “big wock” in the yard outside. Or else just throw rocks and snack on a little dirt. Sometimes after that, we’ll collect small rocks and bring them back into the house to decorate with highlighters.
  • We’ve planted a few herbs in jars. Tru loves digging in the dirt and planting seeds. Soon we’ll plant our summer garden in the yard!
  • Sometimes we’ll head over to the nearby soccer field to kick a soccer ball around. I feel so sorry he can’t go to soccer practice any more, he loved it so much. But, surprisingly, he hasn’t asked to go back since we told him about the “vacation.” Above, I’ve posted some of the photos I snapped at Tru’s soccer practice in early March. I think this was the last practice before the season was cancelled due to stay-at-home orders.
  • We love to go to the beach! We’re very lucky to be near a beach (and one that’s usually pretty deserted and therefore still open). So Tru and I will do beach walks in the middle of the day when it’s not wintery cold. He loves driving his trucks in the sand and collecting shells. I just love sitting beside him and looking out at the ocean for a minute or two. It feels like the world has turned upside down, but the beach is exactly as wonderful as it has always been. 
  • Trevor has loved puzzles for several months now, and that collection has served us well for this quarantine. Puzzles are one of the few activities that will keep Tru quietly engaged for up to about 20-30 minutes. So I love whenever he’s willing to sit down on the living room floor with a puzzle!
  • Tru likes to do art projects most days: stickers, coloring with crayons, painting with watercolors, doing stamps. Everywhere you look, it seems like there are art projects scattered around: crayons here, coloring books there, tissue paper in this corner, stickers in that corner, etc…..
  • We’ve been doing endless board games like Chutes & Ladders and Candy Land. We’ll play up to 12 rounds of games in a day. I’ve come to dread these games, but they’re also Trevor’s favorite activity. Why do I dread them? Because whenever I happen to turn over a good card, let’s say, or whenever Tru happen to land on a “bad” spot, he’ll scream like it’s the end of the world. He’s so competitive! I can’t get over it!  I don’t know if it’s a 4-year-old phase or if he’s an intensely competitive personality. But the board game meltdowns are awful. I never knew I’d pray so hard to lose a game.
  • We do workbook activities like tracing letters and numbers some days. It helps me feel like Trevor is still getting some kind of education. Tru knows the alphabet and can write most of the letters pretty well now. He can also do very simple addition by counting on his fingers.
  • Trevor’s obsession with outer space is the biggest thing I want to mention. Tru is absolutely in love with outer space! I can’t convey the level of passion he has for this topic. All day, every day, I hear things like, “Mercury is 120 million miles from the sun” (I never know if he’s memorized real numbers or if he just makes them up!) And, “I’m the biggest planet and I have a red spot and I’m a gas giant. Who am I?” (the answer is Jupiter, as I’ve definitely learned!) And “you could fit 1 million uffs inside the sun” (the word “earth” is a tough one when you’re four!) So Chris bought Tru a few outer space books which we read every day before nap time (Tru will sing a little song about each planet as we look at that planet page in the book). And we have a little outer space board game we’ve played about a hundred times (he’s memorized what all the spaces say!). And Tru asks to watch outer space videos for kids on YouTube each day. Some of these videos have songs about the planets in our solar system, and Trevor sings the songs throughout the day each day. I’ll be so curious to see how long this interest lasts! Will this be a lifelong passion? Or will he completely drop the whole outer space thing in a few more weeks?
  • Food! I should mention food because Chris came up with a great idea. He came up with “Trevor’s Yummy Foods” sticker charts, where Trevor earns a sticker each times he eats a fruit or vegetable or tries a new food. When he fills his sticker chart, Tru gets to order something he wants. It’s actually worked! Trevor has eaten chicken fingers and cheese pizza. He’s tasted zucchini and sometimes he’ll eat several bites of banana. So he’s enthusiastically eating foods he used to refuse. I just hope it lasts. I never knew I could be so thrilled just to see my child take a bite of a banana. And what does he order with his sticker charts? Easter egg tablets of course. The only thing Trevor loves more than outer space is dying Easter eggs…

After Trevor’s nap -when it’s not raining – we get outside for a family walk through the neighborhood. These days, Tru is loving his scooter. And we also added the pedals to his Strider balance bike this month. The Strider has been amazing for helping Trevor learn to ride a bike. He’d already mastered balance by lifting up his feet and gliding down small hills. So he learned how to pedal within just 10 minutes. So now Trevor just flies down the sidewalk, and he’s competitive, and he wants to be fast. Walks usually consists of Chris or I running after Tru, yelling “slow down!! Stay on the sidewalk! Stop and let us catch up!!!”

Next, I cook dinner and always get the same reaction out of Tru, “yuck! So yucky! No, I won’t eat your dinnuh (i.e. dinner).” Yes, that’s the response I get to everything I cook.

Chris will take over and play with Trevor after that. They love “rough and tumble,” driving race cars around Tru’s race track, and building with Legos.

Next, Tru takes a shower. This plays out similarly every night too. Tru takes off all his clothes, then races through the hallways and jumps on our bed. He just prances around naked, giggling and talking nonstop, and he reminds me off a little dancing elf. I love his smile and his laugh!

Finally, Tru goes to bed. Usually way too late (sometimes as late as 9pm these days). The problem is that he hates to go to bed. He’ll cling to me when I hug him goodnight and say, “stay wif me!” Chris sometimes lies in bed with Tru to give him a little back rub before bed. Tru will also yell out to us a few times after lights out each night, “I have to go potty!” So the bedtime routine is never-ending.

Our days are full! It’s a funny thing because I’ll feel so drained, so much in need of a break, at any point throughout the day. And then a minute later I’ll think, “let me not waste a minute of time with this little guy. I won’t get it twice….”

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