When I first started homeschooling, Magne was a little fellow. I wrote about our first day then (and you’ll find that below). This year began with Dawn and Pearl navigating the adventure of dual enrollment. Online dual enrollment requires a serious learning curve. We spent the first day in a panic attack, a meltdown, and a crying binge. Just this past week we were finally beginning to feel the satisfaction of getting into a comfortable rhythm when a call came from my son that he was experiencing hot and cold flashes and had a bad headache. Knowing beyond a shadow of a doubt that he was not going through menopause, I advised him to get a COVID19 test… which came back positive.
As per the protocol of his school, he came home to isolate himself until the virus runs its course. Realm and Magne must have great minds because, without talking to each other, they both drew the same lines of demarcation and have not crossed them. None of the family is to be exposed! Magne sequestered himself in his room like a hermit, or a leper in this case. His room is out in the garage with its own air and ventilation system, so we’re not even sharing the same air.
Oddly, this makes me sad. Except for video calls, I’ve seen his face only once through the window in the backdoor as he carried his dinner in from the TV tray outside his room. At least I know it’s really my son in the room. I was beginning to wonder.
He seems to be doing fine. He’s keeping up with his studies online and feeling well enough to game with friends late into the night. He’s designated one door his through which he goes out to exercise and get sunshine. (This I insist on.) We don’t use that door, so we don’t even cross paths. So, this Labor Day weekend of our last school year we are spending together in the same house. That’s something.
The First Day of School (c. 2007)
I know I was fretful about how our first day of homeschooling would go this year, but never fear; it was worse. The morning did not begin as other mornings, so we’ll have to forgo that opening. My parent’s A/C had quit working, and they were spending the night, along with my sister and their charge, a girl of four. We will call her Goldilocks. This leaves my three as the bears. But on this particular day only the twin toddlers were being bears. The eldest was my rock who greatly held his mother together—poor child, taking care of his mother at the grand ol’ age of five.
Goldilocks was loath to be parted from the bears on Wednesday morning, the first of August, and I was of the impression that to have her stay might tame the wild, unruly creatures. So, I put Goldilocks into the playroom with Bear One and Bear Two and turned on a Dora movie so I could work with my son on his schoolwork in the dining room. We were in the midst of a sentence-building activity when heightened screaming commenced. Bear One was in a desperate situation, even my son knew this. He said, “I think that’s bad.”
I rushed into the room, expecting a tussle had resulted in a minor injury. Bear One was on the floor before me in her birthday suit sitting in something white. Behind her were Bear Two and Goldilocks, equally lacking garb, with their hands in the white substance which was spread upon the floor in large quantities. I searched the room for some clue as to what the substance might be and espied an empty box of my laundry detergent.
Yes, Goldilocks and the two bears were covered in laundry detergent, and Bear One had discovered Gain was a cause of irritation to her little, “powdered” bottom. Into the tub went the bears (Goldilocks’ turn was next), and my knight in shining armor came to the rescue by saying, “Don’t worry, Momma, I’ll make sure the girls stay in the tub while you go clean up.” He proceeded to set up two camp chairs, where he and Goldilocks presided at the door of the bathroom like fans at a tailgating party.
I vacuumed and vacuumed and scrubbed and vacuumed. For anyone who has not tried playing beach with laundry detergent, you might not know the sticky tendencies of this cleaning agent. It also makes a bathtub and its inhabitants extremely slimy.
My mother and sister returned and tried to help me put the house back into some semblance of order. I fear the carpet in the playroom will always feel sticky; and I admit, I think I will never have a pleasant thought for the merits of powdered laundry detergent again.
Some of you may be wondering, “How did they get to the detergent in the first place?” This is how the tale goes:
Bear Two saw the box sitting on the dryer (the laundry closet is in the playroom). Bear Two pulled open the dryer door, stepped up on the lip of the dryer opening, grabbed the box, and the rest is evident. Hence, I could blame myself for having kept the laundry detergent on top of the dryer, where I have kept it for the year and a half we have lived here, but I prefer to blame Bear Two. She knew better.
I asked Goldilocks, who is older, why she had participated in the free-for-all instead of coming to tell me. She replied, “I wanted to play in it, too.”
And that was the first day of school.