Hard: 4/5 year-old’s therapies were all online. Which means I have to assist and that did not go well. Especially related to communication. She requires a paraeducator. That became me. No ability for anyone but my mom and partner to help.

Her disability makes the world often inaccessible, so everything with ADA considerations shutting down or being too dangerous for her made it very hard to keep her spirits up and her world any bigger than our living room.

Whereas doctor appointments for kiddos used to mean one parent took time off work, we both had to, since siblings can’t come along. Also my husband was somewhat cut off from her healthcare as, even with big important appointments, only one parent could join.

Toddler was 7 months when this started. she now has no concept of engaging with other people and is terrified when we try to.

Because they aren’t able to keep masks on and the oldest is vulnerable to Covid, we didn’t take them anywhere inside. So, we had to arrange childcare for every little thing. Need to go to the pharmacy to pick up a prescription — got to have childcare. Forgot something on your instacart list and want to pop in to get it: need to arrange childcare. And again, childcare is either my partner or my mom, no one else.

When we’re outside at parks, too many non-maskers have no respect for space. So I’ve driven my kids’ stroller into bushes to get space. One couple seemed to have an anti-mask agenda and came right up to my kid, in her face. So my kids had to watch me get into an argument with them over just being near (way too near her).

Working in front of them. I just hate how often they see me staring at a screen and not them. And, I love my job, but every job gets stressful sometimes, so when I get an upsetting email or text, it’s all in front of them. Sometimes I remember this and muster my best. Sometimes they see mom look down at her phone then lose her cool out of nowhere. Getting an aggravating email right before your child dumps her breakfast on the floor … is not the best recipe for gentle parenting …

And seeing how others do — or more often don’t — value my children’s lives. especially the one who is vulnerable to Covid … the things people have felt free to say about the sacrifices she should make for their normalcy has been spiritually crushing.

Good: I’m struggling with this one. I guess it forced us to troubleshoot the outdoors with disability? All the ADA places are overrun with folks not respecting distance, so we needed to figure out how to get away away. And we did. And it has been really cool seeing them engage with the actual outdoors. That’s not nothing. Would have loved arriving there by a different path.

Oh, and I don’t know if this would have happened anyway or not, but the two kids are super close. With three years’ difference, I don’t know if they would have been best friends in a normal year.

I’m tempted to say all the time with them was surprisingly good. But prior to Covid, I’d already realized that quantity time and quality time are not only different, but often opposing. Taking care of myself and making sure they have loving, encouraging, explorative spaces while I work meant the times we were together after work were deeper, intentional, more present. I look forward to getting that back … and I worry how the dynamics of Covid times will impact that long term.

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