It seems like I haven’t written anything here in a while. Part of me wants to say that’s because not much has been happening, that we’ve been trapped in the house due to the pandemic and life has just sort of…stopped. But that’s not true. Not in any sense, really.
Yes, the pandemic has certainly killed a lot of motivation in and of itself, but it hasn’t stopped things from progressing. It hasn’t stopped the world from turning. A few months ago, back in April, sure, we were stuck in the house. We had food delivered and I only went out about once a week to pick up essentials and when I did, I wore mask and gloves, avoided other people, and got back as quickly as possible. Meanwhile, there were long stretches were Rasa and Monki didn’t step outside the apartment at all.
At the same time, though, Monki and I created “Strollercoasters,” where she would sit, buckled, in her old stroller (in which she barely fits and would be no good for outdoor use) and we would watch first person amusement park videos. I would move the stroller through all the coaster’s movements, mimicking the onscreen actions. And wasn’t just the thrill rides. I can’t tell you how many times we went through “It’s a Small World” (Paris and Anaheim editions).
Monki and I also both celebrated our birthdays in a perfectly socially distant manor – pretty much just us with a friend or two dropping by at separate times – a far cry from last year’s shindig.
Once things calmed down a little bit, we were able to explore a bit of the country. Rasa, who loves driving, discovered all sorts of hikes and trails and lakesides for us to explore. They were almost all day trips, so we were able to go out and sleep in our own beds, avoid other people, and still enjoy fresh air and sunlight and summertime activities.
I also had the time and temerity to finally finish the publication work on my novel, Poppe Culture (available in paperback and kindle through whichever Amazon store you use). I had commissioned the gorgeous cover two years ago and yet, I let the actual publication process languish. Why? Don’t know. Fear, maybe. Actually putting the thing out into the world meant I could let it go and move forward with something else. Not that I wasn’t writing, I tried a little experiment of writing a short story a week, and some of those came out pretty well. There are a few submission calls I’m eyeing for the near future as well.
Monki even made it back to kindergarten for a couple of months. She started off liking it, but as things progressed, we realized that she was the oldest one there, so any socialization benefits she might have gotten were diminished. In some cases, she was even regressing. Behaviors she never exhibited at home, like putting things in her mouth, she started doing. The activities they did were all arts and crafts, with no structured education. Again, not a bad thing for the younger set, but she already knows her alphabet and numbers (in two languages) She also started using interesting vocabulary and telling us stories about the boys being mean to her. Since there was only one or two other girls, “boys” being the perpetrators made sense, but in the end, we decided that she was better off learning at home and so that particular experiment has ended. Now, she’s very excitedly awaiting “bell” school (where the bell rings and you go to classes).
She’s even starting to get into more “big kid” things. The other day I got her to listen to “Yellow Submarine” and that’s quickly become one of her favorites!
The real kicker though, is that through all of this, Monki continues to grow and learn and reflect what she hears and sees around her. Sure that makes sense, a bit of a “duh” moment, really, but since we’re kind of home bound, and Rasa and I aren’t getting out much, it seems like Monki’s inputs have become a bit limited to just us. Which is what led to the wonderful moment a few days ago when I was transferring sugar from the bag into the jar. I do this over the sink, in case I spill. Which I did. And when I did, I let our an expletive.
“Shit!” I yelled as sugar went everywhere. Now, I didn’t think this was too much of a problem. I finished the pour, got the dust-buster and cleaned up. A little while later, however, Monki was doing clearing the dishes (that’s her job – Mommy makes the food, I wash up and Monki clears the table) and scraping food into the garbage. She missed and made a bit of a mess on the floor.
At which point, she looked over at us, and with a big grin on her face, she said “Sit! – I’m like daddy!”
So I guess it’s time to really start watching language and actions. We had a good run, 4 years and a couple of months, but it’s over now. Self-censoring has begun!