Week two of a locked down Dad!
After the first few weeks in lockdown I thought it might be good to write to you about how it has been going. Not only to keep lines of communication open but to see if we are all pretty much, and most likely, experiencing the same!
Pacing like a caged animal, right?
No, nothing that dramatic…although I have been feeling mildly resentful that my wife is able to escape the house - she is a teacher and in school caring for key workers kids. To make up for it I have filled the kitchen with gym equipment which is slightly backfiring now it is the Easter holidays and she is not going in… it has all started to feel a bit crowded.
My children, daughter mainly, is quite intrigued with the kitchen gym and the new weight training regime imposed upon her. Fingers crossed it lasts! My son just sees it as a wonderful opportunity to get ‘hench’ (google it!) in between X-Box sessions.
Time management skills
For my Year 9 son, the lockdown started when I presented him with a timetable of activities which included 4 hours of schoolwork, two exercise sessions, additional reading, a vocab express session and (I was really pushing his comfort zone here) helping with the cooking. Despite many years in teaching it still took my best negotiating skills, in the face of his flat-out refusals, to get to a point where we re-wrote the schedule, removing the cooking, shortening the vocab and reading time and adding a period of ‘free time’… on the X-Box.
Trying to do some planning of my own (or making time to read all the funny vids that keep coming through on WhatsApp) whilst helping him understand and summarise the pros and cons of the Heathrow expansion plan for Geography took me to a new level of multitasking which is not easy given my gender. And especially since we live under the flightpath and cannot hold a conversation without being drowned out when a plane comes over, it was tricky to get him to understand the pros! And wow what a difference in the last 10 days - hearing birds instead of planes.
Now I know many people are looking to this time at home as a chance to catch up on reading. My son does not read. Even for school it is a battle to get him to focus. His current school book is Animal Farm. Nevertheless, since some animals are created more equal than others, and I am Napoléon I gave him the choice of reading Animal Farm or listening to me read Naseem Taleb’s, ‘Skin in the game’*, which I am wrestling with for the second time. One page of that broke him – or maybe it was my dulcet tones??
*Has it helped me to make sense of the world? Let me get passed chapter one and I’ll get back to you.
Supporting my Year 11 daughter at this time is another new parenting challenge.
This morning I have had to console her. She is a really up-beat, happy-go-lucky person. She handled the email she received from her school on the evening of Thursday 19th March, telling her that she’d had her last day and that Year 11 were not coming back into school again, much better than many. This morning, however, when I made her log in to her school’s online learning platform and complete a Chemistry GCSE paper, she lost the plot.
She feels cheated that she doesn’t get to sit the exams that she’s worked hard for and is worried that she’ll be awarded grades that aren’t as high as she would have got if she’d actually taken them. Although she is quickly getting over that, surprise, surprise
She feels cheated that she didn’t get to see her friends and have, ‘a last day’, before they all go off to different places for Post 16 education.
She feels cheated that prom is cancelled.
She feels cheated that all of the Year 11 events that are a 16-year old’s rite of passage have been deleted for her and she can’t even get together with her friends to commiserate.
She feels angry that she still has to complete a Chemistry paper when she’s not going to sit the exam or ever study Chemistry again.
I feel desperately sad for her and for all the children in this situation. The best we could do (wife actually) for her was say...
You will see your friends again when the lock down is over.
You will get to celebrate the end of Year 11, it will just be at a later date.
You don’t have to take your exams so that is one stress out of the way.
You also have a guaranteed place at the Brit School.
Take the positives that come out of this situation and try to accept the negatives….being stuck with your Dad and his daily fitness routine for weeks and weeks – we are yet to agree if this is a pro or con!?!?
Let them win
I can’t be sure that these words had a positive impact, but we made it through the day. We also played board games. And here’s this week’s tip if you have teens…. Play Frustration! We have played 16 games over the last week and I only won my first game last night. I would like to say I was letting them win but no they really did beat me and they loved it. Good moods all round we cooked dinner together and generally had some good banter!
Anyway, enough of me. We would love to hear from you. Whether it is queries about training, ideas you’d like us to include in the online workouts (footie drill coming soon) or just to let us know how the days are unfolding. You can email us on firstname.lastname@example.org
Stay well and stay positive