Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Distant Memorial Day Weekend

While we are still taking Covid-19 seriously, we did finally step away from our home and into some backyards this Memorial Day weekend. It felt nice and “normal” while still keeping our distance and outdoors where the risk is lower.

Saturday afternoon we spent a little time in my in-law’s back yard. The girls played and swung while we all sat/stood around for about an hour or so. It was the first place our girls have been since school closed on March 16th. 

On Sunday we made a reservation at the Cincinnati Nature Center - it’s open to members only at this time and it was really great - very few people and since the Playscape and center are closed, we finally walked on a trail ๐Ÿ˜†

We had a little kiddie pool time in the yard, then cleaned up for Tim’s nephew’s graduation “party.” My SIL was very creative and among the few people invited, we signed up for time slots to avoid a crowd - which I know I appreciated. The gathering stayed outdoors. Nora probably talked nonstop since, again, she’s seen no one for so long, she was so excited. 

Afterwards, we picked up some Dewey’s curbside carryout, then had a group friend Zoom chat that evening. 

Monday we had more kiddie pool time and took it easy. 

It was a good weekend that felt partially social but in a safe manner. 

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Quarantine Week 8/9 + Mother's Day

Nothing major of note for week 8 of quarantine. 

We had Hannah’s IEP/Kinder transition meeting via Zoom on back in the first week of May. It was fairly straightforward and I’m just a mix of emotions about it. I was already nervous because Hannah is leaving our beloved preschool, but we didn’t make the lottery for full day at our “home” elementary and were offered a full day place at another district elementary, which we took. 

The new specialists, principal, and teacher were incredibly nice. I just wonder if Hannah will even step foot in a school for her Kinder year. There’s no way kids are going back to full time school in the fall with nearly all scientists watching for a 2nd wave of C-19 to come. 

So if Hannah doesn’t even walk into the elementary for the 20-21 school year, it’s almost as if we could have attended our own “home” elementary... if that makes any sense. 

Also - I better not pay for full day Kinder with this coronavirus around! Ha! 

Mother’s Day weekend was lovely. I got to plant flowers and spread mulch. 

Sunday, May 3, 2020

Quarantine Weeks 6 & 7

Week 6 and 7 were much better than Week 5. No emergency vet trips, coworkers are a bit more understanding of parents’ situations, so we were in a better place. 

Nora still hates doing her schoolwork at home. It’s a struggle to get her to do one hour - which is all it takes. And she’s smart - she can do it all, she just doesn’t want to. 

The weather has been mostly good which is helpful - lots of sun-filled walks and runs. I’m grateful for a grassy, wooded lot for exploration. We found four new trees growing in our yard! 

This past Saturday was amazing - high of nearly 80. I was able to call in a flower order at our local greenhouse, pay over the phone and pick up. Spent all day outside. We had deliveries from two local breweries ๐Ÿ˜„Saturday we picked up food from a 3rd brewery. 

Unfortunately all Saturday while driving to our food, people just don’t seem to care about public health. Lack of distancing, nearly zero masks anywhere. The general attitude is selfish and “personal freedom” trumps public health teamwork. It just makes me sad and scared. I truly think there will be a rise in infections by mid-May. I understand it’s hard, especially when the weather becomes nicer, but Ohio’s shelter-in-place is still in effect. 

For God’s sake, people.

That’s not 6' apart.

My office is slowly getting people back in this week (voluntary)... of twenty employees only about five have said they’ll go back. Our desks have to move further apart. We can’t even have meetings anymore, nor sit in the kitchen space. It’s nearly pointless. 

Our school-offered summer camp has been cancelled. One of the college girls who worked there has babysat for our girls and I jumped weeks ago to see if she’d be available to help us this summer and she is. She has been in quarantine this entire time and we trust her. It’s not ideal, but it will be a massive help to Tim and I with our workloads. We can only afford to have her about 6hrs a day, so Tim and I will have to stagger our schedules a bit. Our employers are fairly understanding that parents have a lot of hard logistics during this pandemic. 

Trying to keep my eyes ahead; we have two great jobs, our health, food on the table and a roof over our head. We are doing well, and trying to keep balanced. 

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Mother’s Day from Hallmark

Well there’s no possible way to stop my tears watching this. Thank you Hallmark for including Down syndrome in your narrative.

Dear Mom

Monday, April 20, 2020

Ohio Quarantine Week 5

Last week was rough.

Monday I had a dip into depression. It wasn’t full blown, but enough to throw me off. It sucked. I heard from a lot of other friends that they were in a deep funk Monday too. I wonder if since Easter was so isolated and not as social, it threw everyone off? 

Tuesday Ailo was zooming around the yard and we think he strained something. He yelped in the driveway and Wed was whimpering and limping a bit. Tim took him to the vet which made us anxious. But the vet team was covered in protective gear and Tim wore a mask. No one was in the store (Banfield is inside PetSmart) while they examined Ailo. They found nothing and sent him home with anti-inflammatory meds for two weeks. 

Wednesday I had an all-office lunch Zoom catch-up. Towards the end of the call, I put on my big girl pants and knew I was going to get vulnerable. (Twenty people on a Zoom call) I thanked everyone for giving the parents patience. I said "This has been really really hard." and my voice cracked. Ugh. Then my eyes started welling up and I said "We parents really just need some grace and empathy. We cannot work 8 straight hours a day, we are breaking up our days from 7am to 11pm." Everyone was very kind. One of my friends started tearing up, another had to turn away from her camera b.c she started crying. Every Mom messaged me after that call and thanked me for having the courage to speak up. I'm so glad I did, even if it meant exposing emotions - which is sadly rare in my office. 

I had a 4:15pm call with Hannah’s OT and teacher, Ms. Booth. As soon as Ms Booth gets on these calls, Hannah freaks out and runs away. I do not understand it. Hannah refused to come back to the laptop. I had to talk through her skills with her OT. When I got off the call at 4:30, I thought it was quiet and Nora came over to me to tell me Hannah had fallen asleep on the couch - this never happens. It's literally the 2nd time in Hannah's entire life she's randomly fallen asleep anywhere. 

The rest of the week went better. We had a Zoom “date” with good friends in Denver Friday night. Saturday and Sunday were quiet. Still chilly here and wasn’t terribly sunny. 

I had a pretty successful Kroger pickup Saturday AM - got a lot of produce and maybe 90% of what we asked for. 

Hopefully this week is a little less emotional!

Sunday, April 12, 2020

Ohio Quarantine Week 4

Week 4 of the global pandemic quarantine happens to be our spring break. We had nothing planned for spring break - per usual. The girls were actually going to be at Extended Care Mom-Thu anyway. Tim and I were supposed to be off work Fri and Monday. “Vacation” days - ha! We are now splitting the days  - that way each of us has a full day to focus only on work. 

This week’s wrench: tornadoes! 

Wednesday night I had gone to bed before 10pm - my usual - and by 10:35pm Tim was in the bedroom giving me a warning that there was a huge line up and down our area for a tornado warning. The city sirens were going off. 

We sat downstairs for about 10 minutes watching the local weather when the winds outside picked up and sirens came on again. I immediately rushed upstairs and scooped Hannah out of her slumber, Tim got Nora. We went down to our cold unfinished basement and sat for 15 minutes. 

We came back up around 11pm, Hannah went immediately back to sleep. Nora, not so much. I had a hard time falling back asleep - awake until midnight which is BAD. Thursday I was a grumpy mess. 

Our weekend was good; sunny Saturday with grass mowing, walks, and video catch-ups with friends which is normal now. 

Oh yeah! Nora finally lost a top tooth last Saturday morning!

Our dumb dryer power button broke AGAIN - twice in seven years now. Poor design on GE’s end because you have to replace the entire control panel. I was proud of myself for remembering this from the first time it happened. I ordered the new control panel, swapped out the circuit board and put it all back together. For someone who is admittedly not handy, I’m pretty proud of myself. 

I miraculously got Easter goodies before the pandemic swept in, so I was ready! I think Nora loves Easter more than Christmas! Awake at 5:30am and I slept in her bed with her - she knew to stay in there until 7am. Goofball. 

Quiet lazy Easter here, with some additional bacon and a chicken and mashed potato dinner ๐Ÿ˜†

Monday, April 6, 2020

Ohio Quarantine Week 3

Our moods are getting better - I know the weather helps. Everything around us is blooming and green - thank goodness. 

This past weekend we were actually incredibly busy - with home work. Tim changed some lightbulbs, installed a new light switch in Hannah’s room, then we tackled trimming about 9 honeysuckle bushes along our property that borders the road. Anyone who has honeysuckle on their property knows how aggressive that plant is. We took turns for about 6 hours. It was nearly 80 degrees that day - not typical for March in Ohio. 

Then we grilled out and sat our butts down. 

Sunday I did a 3 mile run, then I took Nora with me to my office – I need my office chair for my back! PLUS our office managers were gracious enough to offer up supplies - TOILET PAPER. With three girls in one house, we go through it quickly ๐Ÿ˜•We had tons at the office so I took 6 rolls, one roll of paper towels and some tissues. Our snot and colds here have not completely subsided, so we are still in need of tissues! 

I’m glad I could leave the house and take Nora with me - I think she needed it. Nora also had expressed wanting a family photo with very specific art direction; she would hold Hannah and Mom & Dad would stand behind them. Tim held the phone out as long as his arm would allow, and wouldn’t you know it – it came out amazing : ) 

We did buy Nora a Lego set to keep her occupied - she finished in about three hours! She has been super unmotivated... I can’t blame her, our girls had such a routine that has been thrown out the window. 

Friday, April 3, 2020

Extra Fear + Hurdles

As a family with a child who has “special” needs, this pandemic holds a lot more hurdles and fears for us. 

First, while Hannah technically does not have an immunocompromised diagnosis, she tends to catch viruses much easier and they last a lot longer. As soon as our schools closed, I put our family on lockdown. We ONLY go out for food and TP - if we can even find it. My daughter has been in the hospital enough over the past (near) six years, I refuse to even give this virus a chance. 

Folded into that point, did you know the ethical and social equality issues that lie in WHO gets life-saving treatment? “The plans struggle to address a range of ethical issues, and also matters of social equality. People with underlying medical problems may get ranked lower, yet low-income people and people of color often have more health problems because they cannot afford top-notch care.”

Washington, Alabama, and Louisiana all have guidelines that may exclude patients with dementia, AIDS, underlying health issues, or people with severe cognitive delays. It’s terrifying that someone with Down syndrome has the potential to be denied life-saving services because they aren’t deemed worth saving. I am thankful Trump has stepped in and said disability should not be a reason to deny virus care. 

Finally, while ALL kids have been thrown in the deep end and parents left to fill in teaching roles, a lot of students on IEPs now lack their weekly interventions; occupational therapy, speech therapy and physical therapy. I am grateful our preschool has scrambled to get teletherapy in order; we now have weekly video chats with Hannah’s therapists. We bought a printer and have supplies and tools to help Hannah keep her tasks up to date. However, we still have to carve out the time because Tim and I both STILL HAVE TO WORK - THANKFULLY. Grateful beyond belief for our jobs. 

So many of us parents feel stretched thin. Especially those with kids who had extra support. Be gentle with us. 

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Ohio Quarantine Week 2

Our first quarantine weekend was good.

We FaceTimed friends Friday night. My office had an online Happy Hour. We blew up the air mattress and Nora got to watch a movie we actually purchased. 

Last Saturday was some laundry and bathroom cleaning. We made cookies. I made a ClickList order for a Tuesday pickup – I had a hunch a lockdown was coming so I made sure to get ahead of the game. I was right. 

Sunday I ran 3 miles after feeling anxiety and sadness creep up. By the end of the day we were all in a good mood. 

We took a drive to nowhere just to feel like we were going anywhere. It was actually nice - we live on the edge of the greater Cincinnati metropolitan area, so we can dip into rural country very easily. Both girls fell asleep and it was actually nice.

Week 2 has been better-ish; our expectations are set (lower)... I’ve seen enough social chit chat telling parents to give themselves grace; at the end of the day, if the kids are happy, their mental health is more important than academics. I keep reminding myself that and I feel less tense. 

The influx of worksheets, emails and links from the schools and therapists are a bit overwhelming; 26 so far since the schools closed on 3/16. All Hannah’s therapists are wanting to schedule video therapy for Hannah which is just adding to my stress of working and keeping the kids progressing.

Emails, emails, emails.

Spring is here, flowers are out, everything is turning green - thank God this weather is now cooperating for our mental health and moods! 

I wish I could pop out and get flowers but I’m staying back for the greater good!

Sunday, March 22, 2020

The World Stands Still : Quarantine Week 1

The 2020 Pandemic has been sweeping from China to Europe and now the US.

As soon as governor Dewine announced Ohio schools would close for at least 3 weeks, my gut said to lock down in our home and limit our exposure out and about. I had an oil change on Saturday and Ailo had a checkup. We got a carryout pizza and that was about all for leaving the house. 

It’s pretty astounding how much my view changed from when Governor Dewine announced Ohio schools closing (Thursday) to Sunday. Kids with DS - again - catch a lot and have a hard time shaking viruses. 

Almost immediately, Moms on Facebook were clamoring for homeschool ideas. So of course I was swept up and felt the need to start getting ideas, too. Additionally, the girls’ teachers had links, files, and ideas too. I tried my best to compile and get ready. 

I told my office on Sunday that I would be working from home for the foreseeable future - at that point I believe Ohio wanted groups of people under 100. 

Monday came and I tried so hard to stick to the “schedule”... the girls weren’t always compliant. Additionally, having a kid with delayed development during this is double hard; I can’t send Hannah off with a worksheet; she needs 1-on-1 guidance for most tasks. Preschoolers learn through play. And you know what two parents who work 40 hours a week can’t do? Play. 

Tim’s 1st week was busier than usual and thank heaven my week was lighter than normal, so I ended up spending a lot of time trying to keep the girls busy. 

Monday night after my schedule fell apart, I cried. We had SUCH a routine and it’s dissolved. Knowing this lockdown will go on for a while, I’m sure we’ll get back to some type of “schedule” - loosely. 

We had a good weekend and Week 2 of quarantine should be a touch better now that we have expectations and know we have to stay loose. Our girls just aren’t going to get super homeschooled and we have to give ourselves grace.