Google Classroom is the Worst!

Two weeks of schooling is done. (And a new one is starting, because I apparently can’t write and publish a post in a timely fashion.) And by two weeks, that comes out to three in-person days and two online days for the girl and nine online days for the boy.

BG enjoyed her in-person day last week (no school on Labor Day) and liked the way her lessons for online were set up. She’s a very happy camper right now.

The boy is still less than enthusiastic. Everything annoys him. The other kids and their questions and constant messages annoy him. Two of the teachers annoy him because “they’re idiots.” The constant emails about assignments annoys him. Google Classroom annoys him. The list is endless. He said if it weren’t for having to get up earlier and change clothes that he’d rather be in the classroom for the two days.

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Replace “She” with “Google classroom.”

If he changes in January, we’ll see how he likes not being able to play Fortnite or watch TV during his lunch break. 😉 And those two teachers he doesn’t care for? Well, he’ll have the pleasure of being with them in-person.

I had my skin cancer spot removed last week and more was removed than I thought would be. It ended up being stage 2 and had spread a bit under the skin, so the area cut away was larger than expected. The original spot was about the size of an M&M, but after removing it all, the wound ended up being 2 inches wide. Luckily it’s almost at the top of my scalp, and the way I wear my hair covers the wound/scar. I “learned” this lesson in the past, but apparently it didn’t stick — if something doesn’t feel right, follow up with another doctor (or two). That could’ve been handled three years ago had my previous provider listened.

When the girl brought home her school stuff on Tuesday, she had a little book in it about being safe around each other. (Pandemic stuff.) While I very much appreciate that they’re really enforcing masks and distancing with the kids, I about peed my pants laughing at this book.

How can we greet our friends?

Other options included elbow bumping, foot bumping, and air hugging. I think I’ll go with saluting. I would foot bump, except I’d probably fall.

LM tried to get me to learn how to do this dance with him. It didn’t not go well.

Here’s to another good week!

Back To School

Yesterday was the first day back to school. Back to school in-person for the girl and virtual for the boy. The anxiety level was running high on BG’s behalf. Will they really enforce their mask and distancing rules? Is it possible for her to even enjoy being there or get anything out of it with so much change? Most people seem to think no for the younger ages.

Baby Girl went from the worst meltdown yet and threatening to “cancel school” on Sunday night to “I had the best day ever and didn’t want to come home!” on Monday afternoon. She also complained last night about not being at school.

Thank the lord. But she’s not going to be too please with the five-day break.

I noticed that every child going into and coming out of the school had on a well-fitted mask. BG said that they kept their masks on at all times except lunch and recess. And at recess they weren’t able to use the playground equipment and couldn’t stand close. They talked and played shadow tag and that was plenty. The letter home from the school also said it would be a very strict rule for everyone to wear masks properly and that if anyone had a medical exception, a face shield was required. So I feel a lot of relief on the safety end. (Compared to LM’s teacher, who included their mask policy and said they only needed to wear it in halls or when doing group work or otherwise sitting close. We made the right call with him.)

You’d think that first graders who aren’t with their whole class, can’t use playground equipment or class toys, have to wear masks, have to eat in their classrooms, can’t leave the classroom except recess, etc. would probably not be too overjoyed with being there. BG has gone so long without interaction with other kids and people (exception being seeing my husband’s mom, my parents twice, and her cousin once) that she was just overjoyed to be able to go to school and be around the kids. I’m guessing a lot of kids who have distanced from almost everyone for the better part of the last six months will feel the same.

It made me tear up to hear the excitement in BG’s voice over just  being in school. It really hit how hard this has been on her. She said her #2 best friend was in her class, too, which she was super excited about. Based on the amount of talking those two did in their kindergarten class, they may soon come to regret that lol.

Little Man wasn’t very impressed with virtual school. Being on a computer for the better part of seven hours wasn’t his idea of a good time. He did say that he preferred it to going and being away so long, though. It helped that he got to watch part of the Avengers Endgame movie during lunch. And he only has to be online for two full days plus a half day on Wednesdays, so at least it won’t be all week.

He said some of the teachers had a hard time streaming, so it’ll probably take a couple of weeks to get adjusted. Those seventh graders were savage with the comments they were leaving on class stream while they waited. 😮 They are letting them be on video too like on Zoom, so it’s neat they will be able to see their classmates. LM showed me that some kids were doing TikTok dances while waiting and DURING the class.

Most Viral TikTok Dances

This is going to be interesting.

Here’s to a great and safe school year.

School Is Coming

Yes, that title is a Game of Thrones reference, because I’m obsessed.

This is it — the week before school starts back.

Little Man’s reaction to this realization:

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I’m not even exaggerating. He is not happy about this back-to-school nonsense and will not stop going on about it. I pointed out that he won’t have almost a two-hour round-trip commute time this year. (Last year it was a 20ish minute drive to the bus, where he’d usually wait another 10-15 minutes, and then 25 minutes to school. Slightly shorter return trip though.) So that means sleeping in until 8:30 instead of getting up at 6:00. He will have two virtual days online (and that day will end earlier than a normal day) and the other days he’ll work on assignments that have been uploaded. Plus no uniforms! Plus he’s been able to fuck off for the better part of the past 5.5 months.

“Whyyyyyyyyyy? I can’t believe this! I’m not ready for school! This is the worst!”

After much bitching, I threatened to call his school and have him go in-person for two days. They wouldn’t have let me change it if I called, but the grumbling stopped for a little while at least. Mean old mom.

The plan for the girl is to do the two in-person days at this point. We’ve talked to the principal, reviewed their safety procedures, discussed class size, selected her teacher (I’m glad they let us pick, because as sweet as the older teacher is, I’m not sure she would’ve been the best fit for the girl), and we’ve gotten her therapies in order. She’ll leave before lunch on one of the days, so 1.5 days in person and two virtual. And if cases go up or they aren’t as gung-ho on the measures they’ve said they’re taking, then we’ll pull out.

She’s not really looking forward to school. BG doesn’t really care about the masks or the changes I told her about, but she said she doesn’t want to be away from me. I hope it will help that she is already familiar with her teacher, and hopefully someone she likes will be in her class. I know her best friend is doing all virtual, though.

I’ve been ordering the back-to-school stuff online, and I got her shoes in the mail today — a pair of pink Nikes. Pink because it was the only color had in her favorite style of shoes (BG would rather wear rainboots or Crocs every day, but they used to have PE days where they needed sneakers.) That style has been discontinued but I lucked out and found them on eBay. Her response to the shoes:

“Maybe it’s good that they’re pink so the other girls will like me.”

Gahhhhh. 😦

We got her kid’s messenger on my phone recently, so she’s been chatting with her best friend a little. They do video chat and some texting, and their messages are so stinking cute and formal.

BG: Good afternoon, [friend].

Friend: Good afternoon, [BG].

That sort of thing.

So, today the boy asked about 69. The naughty number.

It came up innocently. He was trying to create a Roblox account and stuck 69 on the end of his username, but Roblox wouldn’t let him because it was inappropriate.

“Why is this inappropriate? It’s a number! Thor used it as part of his username on Endgame!”

My husband’s response was “It just is,” (sigh) which led to LM googling what 69 meant.

“Oh my god! I know what 69 means now. What is wrong with the freaking world?!”

Lord help.

Also, everything.

Where’d The Week Go?

Me: I’m gonna post, post, post even if it’s just using a random prompt.

Also me: A week between posts.

I didn’t realize I hadn’t posted all week until I logged on and saw the date of the last post. It was one of those weeks that went by very quickly. We didn’t go anywhere, but we’ve stayed busy inside and outside taking care of stuff. (Plus binge watched a show after the kids went to bed.) I did a little baking and worked with the kids on some school stuff. The last part was more time consuming than I planned.

Baby Girl was on her new medicine this week. We did a half dose instead of a full dose every day except Friday. It’s an ADHD medication, so obviously its main use is to help with focus, but we tried it with the girl because the doctor thought it would help with her meltdowns. There are some studies that show stimulant meds can help with “emotional lability” in kids with autism and help keep drastic behaviors in check, so it was worth trying.

Maybe it was the med or maybe it was just a coincidence, but BG had a fantastic week — only had a few rough moments. And even then, we were able to help her pull back very quickly. A meltdown that would’ve lasted for half an hour was reduced to her losing her cool for about 30 seconds and then settling down. And the losing her cool didn’t involve screaming at the top of her lungs or hitting anyone, either. Holy shit. If next week is anywhere close to that, then yay meds and damn me for not being open to it when the doctor brought it up last year.

LM’s tween mouthiness aside, it was a very peaceful and productive week.

Now for the focus aspect of the medication —

You just couldn't handle my undivided attention ! | Office humor ...

I laughed at this scene, but omg, it’s true. BG’s level of focus was intense. My husband called it kinda scary. This contributed to some of our activities taking much longer than I had planned.

Happy Baby Girl, happy family (but extra busy mom and dad lol).

We had some good family news this week — one of our relatives had a baby and two others announced that they were pregnant! ❤ There has been so much death and other difficulties with family and friends this year that getting those three pieces of news in the span of 24 hours was just wonderful and uplifting.

The kids will start school two weeks from tomorrow. We still have BG enrolled in the 2-days in-person option, but it’s looking like virtual for BG’s age could be a possibility through her school. (It would have been either 2 days in-person and packets from home, as the district was only doing the true virtual option for kids in grades two through twelve, but her small school has a bit more leeway than others.) Hopefully this will happen! We would switch for sure.

My husband and I are watching Game of Thrones. Finally. My brother has been after me to watch it for years. “You love Lord of the Rings, so I know you’ll love this. Just watch it!” I watched 20 minutes of the first episode a year or two ago and thought it was boring, but I decided to try it again. I don’t know why I was so bored before, but I absolutely loved it this time. I was going to watch it on my own since I like to stay up a little while after my husband goes to bed and have some time to myself. But after I told him about the first two episodes, he wanted to watch it, too.

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My husband after I told him everything that happened in the first two episodes.

We are going to the library again tomorrow, and I am hoping they’ll have the books.

How was your week?

Dammit, Meredith

We didn’t end up having our visitor. Gotta say, I’m relieved. I want to help where I can, but I’m glad we didn’t have the exposure. I’m also glad we didn’t mention it to the kids, as they would’ve been crushed.

I’ve been busy today. I sewed 20 masks for my daughter’s school. Since masks are required, our district has been asking people to help out. I donated a bunch to the district office to distribute already, but since the girl may be going in-person, I wanted to make sure her class/school has plenty. I’ve also been getting a bottle of hand sanitizer here and there, so we can donate that to her class, too. The good stuff is finally in stock again. I never thought I’d be so happy to see Germ-X or Purell on the shelves. That watery garbage sanitizer practically took my breath away.

NSFry Hand Sanitizer - Meme on Imgur

The girl had an appointment with her neurologist yesterday. Last year she was diagnosed with neurofibromatosis, and she has to do yearly visits. She was supposed to go a few months ago, but ya know. She had to have a full body exam to look for cafe au lait spots and tumors, and my husband quickly discovered that BG chose to ditch her underwear before going.

DAMN IT MEREDITH WHERE ARE YOUR PANTIES? It's Casual Day | the ...

(The compression underwear is a new strategy to keep her from putting her hands in her pants all the time. They’re like bicycle shorts and tougher to get into. Sigh.)

My husband said her body was clear of any tumors and some of her spots had faded away. He said the doctor seems skeptical now of whether she has NF. My husband was diagnosed as a kid, so that factored into BG’s diagnosis. She had many of the classic clinical symptoms — large head, small stature, clumsy, freckling in odd spots, and a bunch of cafe au lait spots. Between that and my husband’s diagnosis, that was enough for a clinical diagnosis for her. I told my husband he should get genetic testing done, and if he’s clear, then she would be, too. That would be awesome, as that disease can be pretty awful. (Google if you want, I’m not going to post the pics of the severe cases here.)

My husband and the girl’s conversation yesterday:

BG: Why am I going to the doctor?

Husband: To get a check up for neurofibromatosis. [Details on what it is and the symptoms, including clumsiness.]

BG: Clumsiness? So Mommy has it, too?

Oof.

On other medical stuff, at the girl’s well visit last week, her doctor and I discussed medication to help with the extreme tantrums. They’ve been bad and tend to be more violent lately. (I’ve had my share of bruises over the past few months, and my husband and son have had a bunch of bites.) Her doctor is going to try her on an ADHD medicine and see if that helps. I hate, hate, hate the idea of this, but I’m willing to give it a trial to see if it helps there. It has been a year since we first talked about it, and we opted to wait to see if therapies and another year of development would help (and was also hopeful that the tonsillectomy would since she’d sleep better), but it hasn’t overall. Fingers crossed on that.

Three days of posts in a row. B-)

Decisions

The school district released their plans. The first option is all virtual for the semester, with two days of teacher instruction online for grades 2-12. And the other three days would be working on assignments. The other option is two in-person days per week, with the other days working on stuff that’s online. (Half of the non-virtual kids would go two days and the other half would go the other two days.) The kindergartners and first graders would get packets and do no virtual work.

Our district has put student safety as their top priority from day one, and this plan definitely reflects that. And I know it has to be tough as hell to try to find something that will work for most people. From what I’ve heard, the students can’t do Zoom or other virtual meetings without a parent present on camera at all times, so I don’t know how likely any social interaction time is.

We’ve already signed up the boy for virtual, so he’s tied to that through January. (People aren’t allowed to change after submitting.)

I’m torn on whether to let the girl do the two-day option. Aside from chatting with a kid for a few minutes at a drive-through birthday parade, she hasn’t interacted with another child her age since mid-March. That just sucks. That would suck for any kid, but she has ASD, and getting some social time is important. Add to that doing all the learning by packets again, and well, that’s just rough. The girl is smart as a whip, but it’s like pulling teeth to get her to do anything.

The schools are going to enforce mask-wearing, distancing (which her school will be able to do especially well with since the classes sizes were small to begin with), and disallow any activities that could increase spread. They’re also doing temp checks and some other stuff that I can’t remember right now. There will be just a handful of kids in her class, and they would stay in their classroom all day, except for recess. (But no shared equipment even then.)

My husband is leaning towards letting her go for the two days. I just don’t know. The things I listed are important, but are they important enough to take the risk? We have until Monday morning to decide.

Enjoy Your Plague-Cation

We went from thinking, “Maybe we should try to snag a spring break cruise for the family” a couple weeks ago to “We ain’t going nowhere…and it’s a plauge-cation, not a stay-cation” super fast.

The coronavirus has hit my county, and we have several cases right now. We were told on Friday that the schools would be closed for two weeks, and then today the governor announced that all schools across the state would close for two weeks. Most of our schools aren’t able to do e-learning properly yet, but the teachers are supposed to be putting together packets for the kids to work on at home. So I guess we’ll finally get a taste of homeschooling, which I’d thought about doing with the kids in the past. My husband’s boss had his group working from home full-time again starting a couple weeks ago, so we’ll have plenty of togetherness.

I found out that one of the coronavirus patients in my county is a relative, and that she had visited my in-laws a few days before we did. They aren’t showing any symptoms yet, thankfully. My FIL has had such a rough time with his health that I’m not sure how he’d fare with that. He’s in his upper 70s, as well. The kids and I, on the other hand, all started running fevers yesterday. The boy hasn’t been coughing, just a fever, and the girl and I have been hacking our heads off. I’m hoping it’s just a cold, because our house is certainly not a stranger to getting the crud! We decided on Friday afternoon after we found out about my relative having the virus that we wouldn’t go anywhere just in case. We had already bought groceries (including a pack of toilet paper that we actually needed, which I’m sad to report that I learned today is single-play garbage, RIP my butt), so we didn’t have to worry about that.

We’ve been coming up with ideas for what we’ll do with all of this extra quality time we’re getting. So far, most of it involves movies. The boy wants to watch all of the Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, and Marvel movies. I’m too lazy to do the math, but that may very well get us through this whole thing. After I feel less yucky, I plan to catch up on some projects I’ve been meaning to get to around the house. I already caught up on my laundry, which is nice. The girl’s plan is for me to let her use my phone to play games whenever she wants.

The one single good thing about this virus stuff has been the memes. I know a lot of folks don’t like people joking around about it, but humor has always been my way of dealing with tough crap, so I’m enjoying the memes. Here are a few of my favorites:

Image result for coronavirus memes

Are you social distancing yet?

Hello, Middle School

Today was the first day of middle school for Little Man. It took all I had to keep from crying at drop-off. I made a comment to LM about being on the verge of tears, and he said that if I cried then he’d cry, too, so I held them back for the moment. The boy was in first grade when I started this blog (and his sister was just a few months old), but here he is starting sixth grade.

LM only had a half day today, but he said he liked it. He said his homeroom teacher is awesome and funny, and he’ll have her for language arts and an elective class. He said the math teacher told them she was really strict and would probably make them cry. Yikes. His favorite teacher in elementary school also told them that — and compared herself to Darth Vader — so hopefully the math teacher ends up being cool. (He needs strict, though.) The other teacher he saw is someone he knows from the community playhouse that thinks a lot of him, so that’s good, too. We’ll see about the other ones on Monday.

Yesterday, I asked LM which classes he was looking forward to this year. “None of them. I don’t like learning the stuff the school wants to teach me. I want to learn what I want to learn.”

Lordy.

So I asked which classes specifically he didn’t look forward to. He loves language arts, math, social studies, and science. He loves theater and technology. After thinking about it a little more, he admitted that he did look forward to all of those classes. He also said he kind of looked forward to homework again because it was nice to have a routine. I don’t think he was being sarcastic.

I was worried that the class transitions, lockers, etc. would be overwhelming for him, but he said he already has his locker number and schedule memorized. He’s unsure about when he can use the bathroom outside of class. He insists that there are no restroom breaks and that kids are supposed to go during class, which doesn’t make much sense. Can you imagine having 30 kids and half of them needing you to sign a hall pass to leave during a 45-minute class? I would’ve lost my mind and wouldn’t accomplish a lot while teaching!

Baby Girl had open house last night. We practically had to drag her in since she decided she wasn’t going to kindergarten anymore. That was a sight to see. After she settled down, she met some other kids and seemed to get along well with another girl who was every bit as strange as she is. They had dinosaurs attack the Barbie dollhouse set up in the play area, which got the stink eye from some other girls. Weird kids unite 😉

The girl will have her tonsils removed next month. She has sleep apnea and very large tonsils, so hopefully this will help her get better quality sleep at night. (And maybe even stop the 1AM wake ups, where she also wakes me up and keeps me practically hanging off the bed every night since she has us in the “H” position.)

This mom doesn’t know how good she’s got it:

BG is understandably very anxious about this. We have a month to get her feeling okay over it. I’ve already told her about the rolling bed, wheelchair, fun mask that helps her sleep for the procedure, getting to miss school and eat ice cream for a week. She said all of that sounded good except for getting her tonsils cut out. I wish she didn’t need to have it done. Her apnea is mild enough that it’s not absolutely necessary, but they said she likely wasn’t getting good sleep at all most nights. The doctor also said it can cause ADHD symptoms. I know it’s a relatively safe surgery, but all surgeries have risks. I also hate to make her go through years and years of not being well rested, so hopefully all will be well.

Aside from some cleaning around the house, we have a lazy weekend ahead of us. No plans to go anywhere, plus a list of superhero movies to watch.