Talking to Kids About Death

We got some sad news before the weekend.

The teacher’s assistant in the Bug’s online kindergarten class died in her sleep early last Thursday morning.

She had been off from school for about a week, the Bug’s teacher having told the class that Mrs. H wasn’t feeling well and was taking some days off.

So we knew she was unwell, but we had no idea how unwell.

Hard News

Chico and I were upset to learn of Mrs. H’s death. Though we didn’t know her well at all, we felt like she was part of the household.

We heard her voice every school day, coming through the speakers on the Bug’s computer. She rounded up the kids and got them ready to focus on the day.

She would chat with each child a bit before lessons began, and often shared little anecdotes of her own in response to the kids’ stories. She was a calm, kind presence in the Bug’s class.

Knowing how much the Bug liked Mrs. H, and worried about how he would take the news, we agreed to wait until the weekend to tell him.

His Reaction

On Saturday, when we were sitting together as a family, we broke him the news.

Without discussing it previously, Chico and I knew to use very clear, unequivocal language. In both Spanish and English, we told him that Mrs. H has died. Her heart has stopped beating, and her body has stopped working. She will not be back in his class.

We told him how sad we felt about her death, and how it made us feel like crying. We told him we would miss hearing her voice through the computer.

We each told a story of something she had said that made us happy to remember. Then we asked him to try and remember something about Mrs. H that made him happy.

He was fiddling with a piece of Lego in his hands, and he seemed distracted. He said, smiling, “If I have to think of something about Mrs. H that makes me happy, I’ll be thinking a long time! She always makes me happy!” Then he didn’t seem interested in engaging any more on the subject.

We told him that if he felt sad about Mrs. H not coming back, he could talk to us or to his teacher. He smiled, nodded, and went back to playing.

I, for one, was a bit surprised at his seeming lack of interest in the subject. But I reminded myself of several important points:

1. Mrs. H was a virtual presence to the Bug.

School for the Bug has been something he participates in through a screen. Mrs. H was only recognizable to him as a face on his computer.

While he enjoys his virtual schooling, I think that puts a bit of distance between him and the teachers and other kids in his class. Almost as if they’re not entirely real.

2. Her death is an abstract idea to him.

The Bug learned about her death on a Saturday, more than a week since the last time he saw her. His life isn’t materially altered by her absence, and he has yet to interact with others who might be sad about her death.

He may feel it more keenly when he “goes” back to school on Monday morning and she isn’t there. I don’t know what his teacher plans to say to the kids, but I wouldn’t be surprised if someone brought it up.

3. Children grieve in fits and starts.

According to an expert interviewed by NPR, kids don’t process grief all at once.

(Neither do adults, as a matter of fact.)

What may barely elicit a shrug one day might be keenly felt the next.

And as a child grows, the grief of losing a relative or someone close to them years before can come back with renewed force as their understanding improves.

There May Be More To Come

While he may have appeared uninterested or unconcerned when he got the news, I would be surprised if the subject didn’t come up again.

The Bug is highly sensitive, and he will surely be influenced by his teacher’s reaction, or the reactions of other children in his class.

I expect we’ll get occasional questions about Mrs. H, and about death in general. He still asks questions about his Nana’s death (though he was only 2.5 when she died, he still remembers some).

The only thing we can do is to respond honestly, clearly (no euphemisms such as “passed away” or–God forbid–“went to sleep”) and kindly.

Where are Nana, Grammy (his great-grandmother) and Mrs. H? Well, we don’t really know for sure, but our Christian faith teaches us to expect Heaven: eternal rest in the company of God.

Kids At Funerals: Yes or No?

We had little choice. We had to take both the Bug and the Bear to their Nana’s funeral. Anyone who could have babysat them was going to be there anyway.

Besides, the Bear was three days old and my milk was about to come in.

For children as young as the Bug and the Bear were, I think it hardly matters to them that they were at the funeral.

I’ve read that experts advise giving older children the choice of whether or not to attend funerals. However, in the case of family members, I would expect our children to be there.

My mother firmly believed that children should participate in big family events, whether weddings, parties, reunions or funerals. I share that belief.

Mourning, especially for a family member, is done as a family. It is a communal activity. I would expect our kids to attend family funerals, but would not require them to go to other funerals.

Others may feel differently, but I have personal experience of missing a family funeral, and I still regret it.

Though I was visiting when he died, I had to go back to boarding school before I could attend my cousin’s funeral 18 years ago. I have always regretted that I wasn’t there to share that part of the grieving process with my extended family.

Not Easy, But Important

It’s never easy to talk about death, especially to kids.

But in the end, it is worth it. Death is a part of life and cannot be ignored.

If we hide that reality from our kids and isolate them from participating in the communal grieving process with the rest of their families (or friends), we deprive them of understanding how life and death are intertwined.

I don’t know how things will be for the Bug. He may not grieve much at all for Mrs. H. Or he may be slowly internalizing what’s happened–processing it in his own time.

And that’s really all we can do. Give it time.

All Too Fast

Last week, the Bear made two decisions.

At the ripe old age of nearly three-and-a-half, he decided:

  1. He’s “all done” with naps.
  2. He no longer sucks his thumb.

These are both Good Things and Important Developments in the life of our child, and we are Very Proud of him for making these big-boy decisions all on his own.

And yet…

It’s Too SOOOOOOOOON!!!

I know, I know. This is a very normal age for both of these things to happen.

And yet, I saw them both go with a pang of regret.

(Honestly, I miss his having a nap because it used to give me a nice break in the middle of the day!)

Seeing these last two holdovers from his babyhood and toddlerhood go, I did have a moment of sadness realizing that our baby is a baby no longer.

Impressed

Mostly, I have to admit, I am impressed by his willpower. He told me he wouldn’t suck his thumb anymore, and he hasn’t.

Done. Finito. Se acabó.

For the Bear to suddenly “switch off” a habit that has been so reflexive for so long is seriously impressive.

(This is the child we saw sucking his thumb in the womb on an ultrasound.)

Maybe he’s just grown out of it and doesn’t need it anymore. Maybe he’ll pick it up again. Who knows?

I’m Not Ready

The long and the short of it is that I’M NOT READY!

He’s growing so quickly! Both our boys are practically giants, but because the Bear is the younger of the two I guess I feel it more keenly.

I can see why people decide to have a third, or even a fourth child. It’s a bittersweet moment for a parent when you realize they’re growing out of their childhood habits.

Luckily, there is so much joy to look forward to that the sad pang doesn’t last long.

Getting out of the House

It’s amazing what getting out of the house can do–even for a brief period.

Yesterday morning, I volunteered on the COVID-19 information hotline at the Loudoun County Health department.

It was my first volunteering stint in a while, and just the fact of being out of the house and doing something other than childcare from 8:30am to 1pm was amazingly restorative.

A Mad Rush

Luckily I woke up to pee at about 3:30am, because that’s when I realized that I had entirely neglected to set my alarm for the morning. Bad habit I’ve slipped into the last few months…

I set the alarm, and went back to sleep, only to have weird dreams about odd deadlines.

I woke in a cold sweat at 6:00am, and my first thought was: I have to make the boys’ lunch before I leave!

Before I knew it, I was dressed, had put on some make-up (it HAD been a while!), dressed a child, and was in the kitchen with three pots on the stove. Between feeding the boys and getting their pasta salad lunch ready (why couldn’t I just give them PB&J? What’s WRONG with me??), I nearly forgot to feed myself.

Thankfully, I remembered to eat AND have a much-needed cup of tea before stuffing a hunk of cheese in my bag and rushing out the door.

On Duty

Once I arrived at the call center (this was my first shift there), it was all business.

The stress of the morning melted away, and my focus shifted entirely. I read through the FAQ materials, made a note of some important information I was likely to need, and met my fellow volunteers.

By the time the phone lines opened, I was ready.

For the next four hours, I was in the zone. My focus was entirely on the callers, on answering their questions, figuring out where they could find the information they needed.

By the time the shift ended, I felt like I’d been productive and helpful, like my energies had been expended usefully.

Return Home

I came home with a spring in my step, renewed energy and recharged batteries. When I opened the door and heard, “Mama!!” and was walloped in the abdomen with a hug from an enthusiastic 5.5-year-old, I smiled down into his face and felt excited to spend the afternoon together.

For the rest of the day, when the Bear woke up from his nap, I was game. I felt like I could take anything they threw at me.

Instead of feeling like I needed to get some alone time ASAP, I felt like I had more of myself to give. We played, we laughed, and it felt really good.

Unlike the Previous Day…

The contrast with the previous day was too marked to pass unnoticed.

On a typical, socially-isolated, distance-learning day, by the time 4pm comes along, I keep glancing at the clock. I’m exhausted, spent and ready for a break.

At 5pm I start to make dinner, and that’s when the boys are allowed to watch TV. I always feel a stab of guilt about it, especially because the Bug spends so much time on the computer for school. But it doesn’t stop me from letting them.

I pop something on PBS Kids, Amazon Prime or Disney+ and retreat to the kitchen, quietly closing the door at the top of the basement stairs behind me.

There in the kitchen, I can listen to my audiobook or some podcasts, or even sneak over to practice on the piano a bit before I get dinner going. It’s a little time to do something for me.

More Days Like Yesterday

I want more days like yesterday. Whether it’s volunteering or working, I want to have something that takes me out of the home context for at least part of the day.

Using my brainpower, energy and focus for something else gives me more of all of those for my kids.

It makes coming home to my little princes so much sweeter.

Monday! You Nearly Won!

MONDAAAAAAY! CURSE YOU, MONDAY!!

You started off strong. A bad night’s sleep and an early wake-up. Not a good sign.

Then I gained the upper hand with a good workout, a delicious breakfast and (crucially!) a cup of tea.

Despite rearing your ugly head from time to time throughout the day, I managed to keep you mostly at bay. We got some books from the library (though you tried to throw out my back with the weight of them!). We took a walk and threw random stuff off a bridge into a creek. We had an outdoor get-together with some friends this afternoon!

It really seemed like I had taken the field and Monday wasn’t going to be a thing this week.

Then Came Monday Evening

When you have a picky eater, mealtimes are always fraught. Rather than enjoying your own meal, you’re having to negotiate each bite into a 3-year-old’s mouth.

We have a “one bite of everything” rule, and you’d think that would be doable, right?

Noooooooo… There’s a lot of whining involved.

Then, said 3-year-old decides he needs to use the toilet. He complains about needing help (he doesn’t need help). He goes into the bathroom and closes the door.

Soon, a little squeaky voice says, “Oh Mama! There’s peepee on the floor!”

Turns out, because it’s Monday, he decided to pee standing up. With the toilet seat down. And his toilet seat insert on.

Of course there’s peepee on the floor! The hole is now so small, not even the most experienced peer could pee into that without at least sprinkling!

So now there’s pee on the toilet. On his clothes. On his slippers. On the floor. On the rug.

Bathtime.

As we’re negotiating getting the (naked) boys upstairs, we hear a mysterious crash from the laundry room. “It’s probably the mop that’s fallen–I just stuck it back in there quickly after mopping up the bathroom.” No further thought given.

Bath. Bed. Stories. Only one brief meltdown.

Back downstairs. Open the laundry room…

HUSBAND NEARLY KILLS HIMSELF SLIPPING IN VISCOUS GOO!

The vibrations from the laundry machine sent the new, full, ENORMOUS vat of laundry detergent crashing to the floor. First it ricocheted off the top of the washer, knocking the cap off and cracking it.

So while we were putting the boys to bed, its contents were slowly leaking out onto the laundry room floor.

(Pro tip: use a dustpan to scoop up the bulk of the goo and then wipe the rest up with towels before mopping the floor.)

Surrender

That’s it. I was about to surrender. Monday, it seemed, had won.

But then I remembered!

I remembered the West Cork Irish Whiskey in the fake liquor cabinet! I remembered the lemon in the crisper drawer! I found the honey pot! And I made…

HOT TODDIES!!!

Take THAT, Monday! You thought you could beat me?! Not when I have the ingredients for hot toddies!

(And one of those nice microwavable warming cushions to drape around my neck.)

Sláinte!

I Thought of Taking the Night Off

From the computer that is.

This career development program I wrote about last time has taken up a lot of my evenings.

It’s strange sitting in front of the computer for long stretches again. I haven’t done that in… Years!

But then I figured I owed the blog an article. (As if you were all DYING to read something from me!)

Cooped Up

What with all the computer-sitting-at, and the staying-at-home, and the onset of darker, gloomier weather, I decided that the boys and I needed to be able to go outside whenever.

And I really mean WHENEVER.

In German, there’s a saying that a girlfriend reminded me of today.

Es gibt kein schlechtes Wetter, es gibt nur falsche Kleidung.

That roughly translates to: “There is no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong clothes.”

When it poured rain on Monday, I realized that the boys had either destroyed or outgrown all their rain pants. So I hopped on to zappos.com and ordered them each a pair of these Columbia kids’ rain pants.

They’re not fancy, they’re not cute, but they do the trick!

Their rain jackets are a hand-me-down (the yellow one on the Bear) and from Target (on the Bug). They’ve been soaked through a couple of times, so I need to re-waterproof them. I usually do this with the same kind of spray I use for shoes and boots, though I’m sure there’s a better product I should be using.

(I find that having them wear lovingly hand knit sweaters under their rain jackets improves the waterproofness. It’s true. Wool is a wonder fiber.)

Their boots are snow boots (on the Bug–didn’t hold up to serious puddle jumping) and an Amazon purchase of Thomas the Tank Engine rain boots for the Bear.

Like I said, nothing fancy. But we all had the gear we needed to spend an hour outside today. (I was decked out in my mom’s old LLBean rain pants, Costco rain boots I picked up the last time I was there, and my Helly Hansen rain jacket I’ve had for years–also needs to be re-waterproofed…)

Next Up…

I’ll need to make sure we have all the necessary gear for really cold weather outdooring!

Not that it really gets that cold here in Virginia, but on the days it does snow, we want to be ready!

Gotta be ready for more exploring in the rain!

We’re Doing Just Fine

You can’t make me believe in “terrible twos.” Nope. Impossible.

To us, terrible two doesn’t exist.

Our boys were absolute DOLLS at the age of two. They were sweet, loving, caring, fun and funny. We can’t remember any huge behavioral issues at age two, and even tantrums (few and far between) weren’t a big thing.

They both potty trained at two or shortly after. They had big changes in their third years (a baby brother for the big guy, and moving to another country for the little guy). They exploded with language and really started speaking in both English and Spanish at or before age two.

It was wonderful. A dream!

That was two.

Fast Forward to Three

I once heard someone use the term threenager.

That’s a mash-up of “three” and “teenager.” It means emotions are BIG. They’re OVERWHELMING. They’re OVER THE TOP.

Attitudes are big, too. Eyes roll, tempers flare. Transitions become nearly impossible.

For example, when it’s time to leave the playground: Meltdown.

When it’s time to stop playing and come set the table: Meltdown.

When it’s time to get ready for bed: EPIC MELTDOWN.

We try to mitigate the meltdown by giving ten-minute warnings for transitions. “Ten minutes until we have to leave, boys! Ten minutes!” Five minutes later, we’ll give the five-minute warning. Then, if things look like they’ll be rough, a two-minute warning.

The warning system has helped to get our kids used to the idea that a transition is coming. It doesn’t always cut off the tantrum, but it often helps.

It’s Relentless

Because of this threenager behavior, we need to keep a couple steps ahead of the game in an effort to help manage these enormous feelings.

But we don’t always do it right. Sometimes, we’re tired. Sometimes, we don’t have the time to think about how an upcoming event (even if it literally happens at the SAME TIME EVERY DAY) is going to break upon the beach of our three-year-old’s mind.

Doing this dance all day, every day, is very tiring. Despite having adopted better eating and exercise habits, cutting out sugar and other unhealthy foods…

I am still exhausted.

It Has Its Moments

It’s also unpredictable. Sometimes, it’s a battle. Other times, he hops-to and does whatever we ask him. He keeps us on our toes! It’s always a guessing game!

At times like these, we try to praise enthusiastically and effusively. It may sound corny, but it works.

And truly, despite the exhaustion, despite the relentlessness and the overwhelming emotions of our three-year-old, he is still our sunshine.

He’s sweet. He is so over-the-top in a very funny way, and he often has us in stitches.

Every morning, he rises and truly shines along with his brother. Each day when that happens, it’s like someone has hit the reset button, and I feel nothing but delight and joy.

Some days that lasts longer than others.

We’re going to be fine.

Home Together Again

It’s official.

We have withdrawn the Bear from daycare and we’re now all home together.

Everything Was Fine

Over the summer, both boys went to daycare. The Bug was in pre-K and the Bear in daycare. Once fall rolled around, the Bug started kindergarten in the public school (distance learning), and the Bear moved up to preschool.

It wasn’t always easy to get the Bear out of the house in the morning. He’s no fool! He knew his big brother was staying home!

Also, he was wary of the transition from daycare to preschool, and he missed his old classmates from the twos classroom.

He loved his new teacher, though, and eventually all was going swimmingly, until a child in his class tested positive for Covid.

Until It Wasn’t

As I wrote at the time, this frightened us a bit. To me, it felt like a reality check that YES THE CORONAVIRUS IS STILL AROUND, and YES WE CAN GET IT!

The school reported the case to the health department, which I was very glad about. I got a call from a contact tracer, and answered all the necessary questions about symptoms, contacts, activities, etc.

Since then, we’ve received daily texts asking us to report on the Bear’s symptoms. It’s easy to do, and so far we’ve had nothing to report.

So really, not that scary.

And yet, today, with two days left to go in our quarantine period and nary a sign of a symptom, we decided to withdraw the Bear from school.

Family Priorities

Talking it over together, the Chico and I agreed that with the onset of the cold weather, these instances of either infection or scares are likely to increase.

Whether anyone gets Covid or not, the kids will all be getting seasonal colds, coughs and sniffles. And each time that happens, we will either have to quarantine until the symptoms pass, or we will have to get tested for Covid.

We decided that though it’s not ideal for either of the boys to be out of school, under the circumstances, we’d rather keep them home.

As the weather gets colder and the days get shorter, we want to be able to spend time indoors with our friends and family. With the Bear in daycare, we wouldn’t feel as comfortable doing that.

However, if we know that our exposure has been limited, then we won’t be so worried about potentially infecting others.

Really it’s a question of controlling our environment as best we can.

Send Help (and/or Wine)

This is not going to be easy. It’s going to take a lot of willpower to keep from resorting to chocolate or wine on particularly relentless days.

The advantage we have now over lockdown in the spring is that the Bug has a schedule. Even though he’s at home, his days are structured, and that helps to set the rhythm for the rest of us.

Morning time is reading/school time (coloring, educational play, stories), we all have a lunch and break together, then afternoon nap for the Bear while the Bug has his afternoon classes.

The afternoons are all about exercise and playing. The boys “help” me with my Pilates (hilarity ensues–laughing burns calories, right?), and they do their Cosmic Kids yoga sessions.

If we can stick to a rhythm, I think we’ll make it through this.

But still, feel free to send wine. It won’t go to waste.

Never Trampolining Again

Earlier this week, I wrote about a beautiful moment my son and I shared on our trampoline.

It was a very sweet moment. It was a fun moment! We were doing something active together, and laughing like crazy.

However…

NEVER EVER, EVER AGAIN.

That was Tuesday. On Wednesday, I couldn’t walk.

First off, bouncing on a trampoline after you’ve had two children is NOT a comfortable experience.

(I won’t go into the details, but let’s just say that I am no slouch with doing my Kegel exercises, and they didn’t help.)

Secondly, if you’ve ever had back problems, issues with your sciatic nerve, or anything of that sort, trampoline bouncing is a BAD IDEA.

Trust me.

Stiff as a Board, NOT Light as a Feather

I woke up Wednesday morning with pain shooting down my left buttock (*giggle*) and into my leg.

As a result, my whole lower back seized up as if to protect the discs and nerves, but of course that only made it worse. I was stiff as could be, and walked around standing bolt upright in a rather unnatural fashion.

Wednesday was therefore a day of ibuprofen, hot and cold packs, and a lovely massage from my Chico in the evening.

We’ll Have Other Moments

Bouncing on the trampoline with the Bug is a memory I will always cherish.

But I’m sure there are other ways to create cherished memories without causing myself grievous bodily harm.

No. More. Trampoline.

Trying to Go With the Flow

We’re into week 3 of distance learning, and I think we’ve hit a good rhythm.

The Bug is very independent, and gets himself connected on his own in the morning. He only really needs supervision towards the end of class period and for keeping an eye on the time.

Disjointed Feeling

Though he’s independent, as everyone knows who’s navigating distance learning at home, it requires at least part of your attention at all times.

This makes it very hard to sit down and focus on something.

(I’ve had three interruptions just since starting this article.)

Fighting It

At first, I resented this. I worried that I wouldn’t be able to get anything done.

In October, I’m sitting the Praxis exam to qualify to teach English as a second language in public schools. So far, I have been able to do very little studying.

(You may well ask why I’m taking the time to write instead of studying, and that’s a fair point! It’s just that it’s easier for me to leave off and get interrupted from writing than from studying. Whereas I can write in short bursts, to study, I really need to focus.)

I resented feeling tethered to the room next door to my kindergartener, and feeling limited to only being able to get things done in the short stretches he’s doing face-to-face schooling.

(I can’t even imagine what it’s like for those who are doing this AND working from home. AND being single parents. You’re heroes.)

Pros Starting to Outweigh the Cons

Sure, I may fail my Praxis exam. But there’s always another chance to sit it, and even if I fail the exam, it’s good practice.

But over the last couple of weeks, I’ve gradually come to appreciate some advantages this situation offers.

He’s the priority

First off, because I’m having to dedicate my time to my son’s learning, this has become the priority. That means that I am giving myself permission to set aside other things that I thought were priorities.

Watching him learn

Also, it’s such a pleasure and a privilege to see how much he loves to learn. Being this involved is very special–I would never know this much about his activities and his days if he were at school.

I have had the opportunity to see how he learns, what he enjoys most and what he doesn’t like so much. It’s a joy to see his curiosity and his desire to learn grow.

Quality time together

Another benefit is that I get to spend more time with him. And the time we spend alone together during the day is centered around his learning.

It’s something that the two of us are sharing, and since I do not have the stress of having to prepare the materials or teach them myself, I can participate in the fun of discovery and practice. In fact, I’m getting to enjoy story time almost as much as the Bug does!

Shameless indulgence

When I’m not able to study, I am giving myself permission to simply do something that I enjoy while I listen in on the Bug’s classes.

I’ll pick up my book, which I can easily set aside when I need to be paying attention. I’ll write these articles, or do some knitting. And I won’t feel guilty about it because what else am I gonna do??

Go With the Flow

This is how I’m feeling right now. It might change tomorrow. I could feel differently next week.

But for now, I’m trying to enjoy this magical time and just go with the flow.

It helps that the weather is changing, there’s an autumnal nip in the air, and the Bug and I have shared some pretty charmed moments in these last few days.

A Precious Moment

Earlier today, after taking a bounce break on our trampoline, we lay on our backs, looking up at the sky. Our heads were next to each other, and I could feel his hair tickling my cheek. He was telling me about hammerhead sharks (he really likes sharks) and how octopuses are the most intelligent animals without a skeleton.

Though there are many things I feel like I should be doing (studying, job hunting, figuring out what to do with my life), I didn’t want to be anywhere else in that moment.

This is such a short time, and it will pass. Perhaps too quickly, after all.

Teachers Are People, Too

I don’t participate in a lot of groups on Facebook.

I think I may still be a member of a couple of Facebook parenting groups, but those are holdovers from when the Bug was younger.

So I’ve missed a lot of the crazy s**t that’s apparently been going down on some of these groups.

Attacking Schools

Earlier in the summer, when our county was offering the choice between hybrid and 100% distance learning options, some parents were unhappy.

There were angry outbursts from all quarters. Those who thought all kids should go back to school.

Those who thought sending children back to school was tantamount to reckless endangerment.

Attacking Teachers

But the ugliest comments that surfaced were directed at teachers themselves.

In the midst of a pandemic, a lot of teachers were (understandably) concerned for their personal safety, and the safety of their students, and by extension their families.

Some teachers wanted to get back into the classroom, while others with preexisting conditions or family members with underlying health issues wanted to stay home.

Cue the outrage.

A Sense of Entitlement

Apparently, some of these parents felt entitled to have their children in school because they pay their taxes.

Others attacked teachers, calling them lazy and saying their unions were too strong and that they were just out to protect themselves.

(Well, yeah, because no one else is, apparently.)

The vitriol these people spewed was ugly and hurtful, and a lot of it just plain wrong.

How Do Teachers Feel?

I can’t speak to my son’s teacher, but I know how my neighbor feels.

One of our neighbors is a teaching assistant for special needs children in the public schools. The challenges she and her colleagues face are enormous.

Yesterday, she expressed to me just how hurtful and saddening many of the comments she saw hurled at her and her colleagues were.

She told me that all these teachers who are now teaching remotely are doing so with limited support and resources.

Also, due to budget cuts, they are not getting any pay raise, not even the normal adjustment for inflation and cost of living.

So the people who are responsible for our children’s education are working under circumstances that many of us would deem unacceptable and intolerable.

Give the Teachers In Your Life Some Love

So let’s counteract the hate! Let’s push back against the vitriol!

But instead of engaging in a shouting match over social media with the entitled, angry parents, let’s give things a positive spin.

Write to your kid’s teachers and tell them what you think they’re doing well. Give them a pat on the back, and thank them.

Our son’s teacher is not only teaching kindergarteners online (a huge challenge already), but she also has her own elementary school-aged kids at home!

In my books, this woman is as saintly as they come.

Encourage A Teacher Day!

Since it can’t be “Hug a Teacher” day, let’s have it be “Encourage a Teacher” day.

And not just teachers! School counsellors! Administrators! Your school’s IT person could probably use a virtual pat on the back right now.

Let’s give them some extra love and appreciation! Because as hard as it is for us parents, it’s gotta be just as hard for the teachers (and harder for teachers who also happen to be parents).

God bless them, every one.