After 6 weeks of total lockdown and successful homeschooling, our kids were able to leave our property for the first time on Sunday. We spent an hour walking around the neighborhood and some local scrubland. The kids had a great time picking wildflowers, running on empty roads and looking for Iberian Lynx.
I was mildly amused at their Lynx spotting game. Until they told me that they saw on a BBC documentary (screen time but with an education) that these Lynx live in Southern Spain. Where we live. I assume they don’t mess with humans. But should my assumption be wrong, there were at least 4 slower humans with me on the walk.
Getting out of our property was something that our kids have been looking forward to for weeks. On the whole they have coped remarkably well with lock down. Though there have been times when they have felt low or frustrated. Particularly about not being able to do the simple things that used to be part of our day-to-day lives.
The magical wish jar
Mrs Chaos is great at validating their feelings and set up a wish jar to capture the things they wanted to do but couldn’t. Once lockdown eases, we’ll “randomly” pick wishes from the wish jar to do as a family.
It has been a great way of diffusing some situations. There have been so many requests from our kids that we have wanted to say ‘yes’ to but can’t as a result of current restrictions. That’s particularly difficult for our 4-year-old twins to understand. Although Chewy is now well trained enough to tell Solo, ‘No we can’t go to x, it’s got coronavirus.’ Pronounced ‘Tarona-Birus’.
So rather than saying ‘no’, it has really helped (most of the time) to say ‘yes, but not yet’. And then write down their wish with them and put it in the jar.
The jar was intended to capture things that used to be normal activities that have not been possible over the last few weeks. Like going to the mall for ice cream, walking in the forest, or having a picnic in the park. And not forgetting, returning to school – which is becoming a higher and higher priority the longer they have their day-drinkingparents for teachers.
However, some of the wishes may not entirely conform with our guidelines about these being day-to-day activities we were doing prior to lockdown. Our eldest, for example, has told us that one of the wishes that she has written down is to go on holiday to Zambia and South Africa. That was definitely not part of our day-to-day activities prior to lockdown.
The other issue is that our eldest is the only one of our kids that can currently write. And I’m fairly certain that she is censoring her brothers’ wishes when they ask her to write something that she doesn’t want to do. Or amending their wishes to things that she does want to do.
So the wish fairy may have to go through the wish list to get rid of any problematic wishes before we start opening them. As long as the fairy doesn’t throw out my ballot stuffing of ‘going out for an awesome burger’ or ‘sending daddy away on a holiday by himself’ from the list.
Its funny how much our wishes can change in a matter of weeks. Back in January the wishes of our kids were very different from they are today. Back then, it was mostly about more Lego sets (this one may have been on my wish list…). Now the wishes seem to revolve around getting out of the house and seeing their friends.
We hope that when we are fulfilling these simple wishes post lock down, that it will give the kids a real appreciation for their freedom. And a better sense of perspective – for appreciating friends and experiences above stuff. That the simple things in life can bring so much joy.
Life is lived in the moments of simplicity!
This all got me thinking about what my wish lists would have looked like pre and post lock down. Inspired in part by this awesome graph from Dave who writes most excellently at AccidentalFIRE.com.
Our pre-lockdown wish jar was pretty standard. And to be fair, I think our wish jar from lockdown won’t have too many surprises!
There’s no point having wishes if you don’t at least try to do them
What wishes are in your lockdown wish jar?
P.S. If you know of anyone looking to work as a live-in teacher, I may know of a vacancy…