We survived the first week of remote learning during the pandemic

The first day of my twins’ kindergarten was kind of a shitshow. This is what remote learning looks like for a special needs child and another in a dual language program.

Oh, Cookie Monster. Always going around saving the day during the pandemic.
My mom, Viv, is hosting remote dual-language kindergarten at her house during the pandemic. She says Lydia is bored after the second hour of class.

Virtual learning = seeing strangers’ lives up close and personal

I’ve seen Lydia’s classmates’ very real lives this week. I saw parents hovering over their kids’ tablets trying to figure out how to mute and unmute. I saw a kid laying face-down on his couch. I saw another picking her nose. I saw parents cleaning their kitchens and toddlers running about. One kid said, “I need to poop.”

Remote kindergarten for special needs kids during the pandemic

Meanwhile, our daughter Isabel is in remote kindergarten for children with special needs, at a different school than Lydia. Isabel can’t walk or talk and is developmentally delayed, so she needs a lot of assistance. In a non-COVID world in an actual classroom, Isabel would have a paraprofessional, who would make sure she doesn’t fall out of her chair, wheel her to therapy sessions, change her diaper, and feed her at lunchtime.

6:30 am on day 3 of remote school: We found Isabel surrounded in a pile of puke in her bed

Isabel has cyclical vomiting syndrome, and her usual monthly episode came four days earlier than usual this month. Quick pivot: Martin canceled plans to work onsite at the hospital (he’s a social worker) and instead worked from home. Martin and I took turns caring for Isabel in between work meetings.

My daughter Lydia with Marianne, our daycare provider, a Black Lives Matter activist. Her neighborhood association told her that they don’t allow yard signs. Uh-huh.

How do I work full time for a fast-moving tech startup and run Jumble & Flow while my girls do remote learning?

  1. Our saint of a daycare provider and my parents.
    Miss Marianne follows all the safety regulations, and my parents live 10 minutes away. If I didn’t have them, I Could. Not. Do. All. Of. This.
  2. My husband and I are equals.
    It’s taken years to get to the point where we’re co-breadwinners, but it’s been worth the wait. Also, he cooks and I clean.
  3. Remote work makes the dream work.
    I’ve been working remotely in tech for close to six years. I’m like an old pro. But for the first of those six years, I worked remotely for Minted (they’re based in San Francisco and I’m in the Chicago burbs), a company that was decidedly anti-remote. I was a black sheep at Minted, and wasn’t allowed to be promoted because of my remote status. I endured the black sheep status so that I could make my personal life work.

We’re gonna get through kindergarten one way or another

And Lydia will learn Spanish. How? One day at a time. This week has been stressful and tear-inducing. In addition to school and childcare woes, we’ve dealt with childcare pick-up and drop-off woes, mid-presentation Internet outages at work, and for Martin, the challenges that come with social work in Chicago.

Head of Content, Jumble & Flow + Community Manager for Fable. Bylines in Abstract, Etsy, Minted, Pitchfork. Get my newsletter: jumbleandflow.com/newsletter

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