Parenting in times of coronavirus: Activity lists, attention spans, work from home
It’s Day 3 of being home bound and with a 13 year old young boy (calling him V) who has always been more of an outdoors sort of child it’s been one hell of a task. And at this point I can safely say my little fellow (well not so little) doesn’t remotely fall into a rebellious category – or at least not yet. But the last three days I have had many grumpy looks, some stiff glares and some rolling of the eyes. Parenting in times of coronavirus has put us all through a test. And through all this I am marching on still strong on my resolve to set a routine. Early days and not sure if I will crumble but poor fellow knowing me knows that there is only one Tiger or rather Tigress in the house 😀. His father can’t bail him out either though he tries but he is no match. So anyway here’s a quick recap of how this have gone so far.
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Day 1 it’s first day he can’t go play golf either cause the golf course closed for juniors. Till 6 pm I successfully kept him at home trying to divide his time. We went down to play some basketball together as a family- every form of workout is welcome at this time and be quite literally demolished us both. He insisted on doing some chin ups or pull ups( whatever they are) much to my disdain of touching those monkey bar rails. I then got him to colour in one of those doodle books – that’s a hell of an accomplishment for me that I managed that but once he got started he got quite engrossed doing it for about an hour or so. With his AirPods jammed in his ears all the time he conveniently blocked me out through this. Till 6 pm we both managed to stay in the house but I needed some air so I suggested we go for a walk downstairs in our building park. I thought I negotiated well that he wouldn’t ask me even if his friends were downstairs if he could play with them. Clearly my negotiation skills need help. One round later he looked at me and said “Ma seriously I feel like an uncle going round and round with you “. I responded with a stiff “hmmm” and for the next half round his ears kept getting redder and I on the other hand kept thinking “since when did walking become an “aunty-uncle thing”.
Like hello whatever generation you guys are I know many people who have lost tons of weight walking and besides 30 minutes of walking is very good for your heart so please get with it 🙄.
We walk a little further and I can see his friends looking at both of us and one or two of them come up saying “dude come on let’s play”(in their defence these kids have been playing together for years, well before this virus took over our lives). V figures these angry young man type looks aren’t working so with his doleful soulful pleading best tactics he is like “Ma please please let me play”. And yes I finally gave in . So day 1 was a fail for me.
Day 2: I wake up with a more set resolve to absolutely not give in and am ready for him. I let him sleep in to start with atleast that’s one less battle for the day. We go down and play more basketball- my performance is marginally better than the day before but am still pretty demolished and it’s hot too cause I really want to make sure today no one else is stupid enough as us to be down when the sun is blazing. And am right we have the entire place to ourselves. BB, that’s my husband (5 days of having him around- that’s another story) decides to take him for a “GEDI” a car ride in Punjabi. They fill some fuel and BB buys some alcohol(we are going to need a lot of it in the next few weeks so it’s better to stock up). I do succumb to letting him download a game on his phone- yes we are one of those rare homes that don’t have a PS4 or Xbox. I have always been dead against gadgets and if I had my way he would have never had a phone either but his Nani is his saviour and I am no match to her 😀. So we have had 30 minutes of game time and still more doodling but as the clock strikes 5 he is back hovering around me pleading for the famous Park time. But no baby this isn’t happening – I ain’t giving in today. I have to keep him away from other kids –social distancing is becoming a necessity and reality. But I can’t have it all so I give into tv time . I go down for my usual solo walking and his friends come running towards me saying where is he- and I am like he isn’t allowed park time any longer and I swear the looks I got from them were pretty much “she is really crazy”. Well so be it but day 2 seems like I won.
Day 3– oh god I want to get the hell out of the house too. And shoot this is just the beginning. I literally am on the brink of exiting WhatsApp- the panic messages and 100’s of videos on COVID 19 are just insane. Cup of coffee later I am ready to go get some air and walk when my young man wakes up and yay rather cheerfully. Maybe he has realised that being grumpy is not going to make this situation easier. Today is also the last day that we will have any domestic help in the house and yes again we are one of those households that don’t have full time in house help. Ooh boy I can’t imagine what things will be like by 31st March.
Anyway back to V – he was to meet me downstairs to play badminton in 45 minutes and it’s been 60 minutes and counting and no sign of him. I know he is stuck to that blessed phone and as much as I want to call and calmly remind him to get down quickly I (and he) can hear that almost shrill annoyance in my tone🙈 when I call to remind him that I waiting downstairs. Ten minutes into playing badminton we have had two fights as his rules seem to be out of his own rule book. But we play on and I do realise I need him to expend his energy. I also hope to get him to read some today but dang in times like these I should learn to let him pick the book he desires. But clearly today I am being an unnecessary adamant mom. Well you live and learn. So I have been very keen for him to read “City of Joy”. I read it when I was his age. Normally an avid and quick reader he hasn’t been very forthcoming with this book. In my quest to lead by example I get off my phone and pick up my kindle too but low and behold after every one second he is asking me meanings of words- I swear some of those he definitely knows but is just trying to annoy me. 10 minutes and I am done with this constant interruption but still adamant or maybe plain stupid I don’t ask him to change the book but get a dictionary instead. He is stumped or so I believe. 10 more minutes later he has fallen fast asleep so I guess I lose this one. V-2; Me-1. Today there isn’t going to be that pleading to go to the park since all parents in the condo have decided to keep their kids home. So thank god for one less battle.
Tomorrow on are going to be interesting times for 10 days. Our joint added activity will now be to clean the house and cook so am hoping to keep both my boys very busy and test my housekeeping training skills on them. Here’s hoping to peace and calm to all of us. Signing off – TIGER MUM and I think from tomorrow TIGER WIFE too. If it gets interesting I might have stories to tell.
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Views expressed are the author’s own.