Family Self Isolation

Unexpected Toddler Thoughts


With the second month of social distancing firmly enacted, the month of May is already proving to be a difficult one, and it has only been a couple of days. Though we are inundated with information concerning the novel coronavirus all day, every day, my husband and I tend to bring our focus more to home.

As a mom to three boys – where the oldest is almost five and the youngest turned one during this time of quarantine – and a full time employee, it leaves me little time to focus on everything else. Preschool is somehow now a virtual process and I have to admit I was not prepared to homeschool in any capacity. I am only thankful I don’t have to do math!

It’s no secret that many parents have found themselves in the same situation, with article after article and post after post describing how parents are unable to manage all aspects of work and home life. Some have gone as far as throwing in the towel on homeschooling. 

Being a perfectionist most of my life doesn’t work in my favor here because as much as I would like to call it a day, I can’t. I simply cannot bring myself to stop attempting to homeschool as much as possible with the help of the virtual classroom our sons wonderful teacher set up, no matter how much I might want to.

Let me tell you why. I’ve had to think about this for a while now, as it would clearly be easier to allow our son to catch up when he enters kindergarten in the fall. But our son loves his teacher and his classmates. Though he is still young, he understands that something has changed, that something is not completely right with the world right now. We have tried to explain over and over again the situation in a way he’d understand, but he is firmly sticking to one thing and one thing only: “everything is cancelled.”

This little mantra that he’s been repeating every time he thinks of what we could have been doing, the class he would have been in, the friends he would have saw, he keeps saying that “everything is cancelled.” And it makes me sad to hear him say it, even if that is the way that he rationalized what is happening. 

Keeping him in school, virtual or not, is keeping any sort of tether he still has to his normalcy, because at home it is anything but. Normally a pretty independent child, one that went to school without so much as a look back when we dropped him off for the first time, he seems to have forgotten how to do things for himself, how to even play alone.

“Play with me” is on repeat at our house and it is driving everyone slowly insane. Or “come to the bathroom with me”, “help me with this”, “help me with that”, and it’s all for tasks he’s been doing very much by himself until now.

Finally, after a scream-fest worthy of an Oscar, I sat him down and asked him if he can explain why he is acting the way he is. Why is he unable to do things on his own, or even be alone in his own room. The answer hit my heart and it was simple: he’s worried we’ll disappear too.

I know many have also written about the changes that have taken place at home and in the schedules that their little ones had in place. But I have not heard of a child so worried that his family would disappear and I understood it’s more than just a schedule change to him. 

He no longer sees his friends, and a best friend of his has a tough time on FaceTime. He doesn’t get to see any family members whom he was used to seeing at least once a week. Teachers, friends, even his professor for Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is suddenly gone from his life. 

It broke my heart a little that this is how he sees the world now. That he is worried not about the things that he can no longer go buy, the toilet paper people are hoarding, or the places he doesn’t get to go to. He’s worried that his family will leave him too. 

I write this in the hopes of bringing a different perspective to our current situation. People worry about many different things at a time like this, but I was never prepared to think about it the way my almost five year old. So, if your kid is out there acting out, and you think they might be regressing in the hopes of getting attention, there might just be another reason why.

The boys spending time in the sandbox.

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