Aug. 25, 2020

Planning Ahead

School starts a week from tomorrow. I talked to my 10yo about it, and he's decided to at least try the virtual school option which requires daily Zoom meetings from 8am to 10am. He's petrified of doing Zoom. He refused to do them at all in the spring. Just suggesting it caused him to have an anxiety attack. But he now wants to try. Maybe it was me telling him how he'd get to see his friends and the that the teacher would probably give them time each day to just talk to each other for their mental health.

We also discussed the overall schedule which would have him needing to get up much earlier than actual school would (normally, he gets on the bus at 8:45 and school starts at 9:15 so this is a big adjustment) so he can eat breakfast and be ready to log in at 8am. Then he's have three different classes live (2 regular and one "special" class like gym or art) in the morning, a break for lunch then would be expected to work independently on his other classes in the afternoon but he he worked quickly, he could get through it all early and not have to do school work until 3pm like the schedule says (which is just ridiculous).

Since I've been getting up around 6:30am most mornings, I told him I'd probably come downstairs around 7am to get the dishes done and kitchen cleaned up. Then we'd set up his work area so he'd be ready at 8. I'd then set my laptop up at the other end of the table and try to do some actual writing. It sounds great, but I still don't know how it's going to work.

Like today, my husband called off work so he was sleeping when I came down a little after 7am. I ended up waking him when I started emptying the dishwasher. Then right around 8am, the oldest daughter got home from work. Within five minutes she was screaming her head off at my husband over something (I went upstairs with my coffee because I can't deal with the constant arguing and fighting). How is the 10yo supposed to do live meetings with this going on? Then when I went downstairs to get lunch (around noon which is when we talked about the schedule), my husband was screaming at his video games.

I, personally, can't work with all of that noise which is why I stay in my room--it just overloads all of my senses until my brain shuts down. At that point, I have to escape or I just start rocking back and forth with my hands over my ears until I can regain an equilibrium again.

Normally, my husband would be at work until 2pm on Monday through Thursday which would mean a little more quiet in the morning (he won't be there to yell at his games or start fights with the 20yo), but he is home on Fridays and often takes Thursday off as well. On days my oldest doesn't work, she has her son here, and he sometimes gets up that early. His favorite person to play with is the 10yo so he's going to be trying to climb all over him and stuff.

I just don't know what we're going to do. I'm glad he wants to try it, though, because his mental health has really taken a dive. He's normally pretty introverted and would rather play all day on the computer to the point I've had to physically shove him out the door to play with his friends, but after months of only interacting through chats with people on Roblox, he's starting to lose it. He's so lonely and anxious and depressed now. He's only 10. He shouldn't have to deal with this crap, but it's the world we live in now. I think seeing his friends' faces and being able to actually talk to him will help. I know he's super anxious about the Zoom meetings, but I think once he does a few, it'll get easier. And if it doesn't work, we can switch him to the all online option that just has him watching videos, reading and doing assignments without interaction with the teachers.

Part of me is kind of looking forward to this new normal where I get up every day and do stuff. I was all into it earlier today when I still had energy and ideas. But, as with most nights, the fatigue has set in, and I can't imagine doing this. At least not for very long. Every year when school starts, I make an effort to get up early to make sure everyone has their stuff and gets to the bus stop on time. After the first week, I'm usually done. It's too much for me. But I'm usually forcing myself awake at 8am when I normally sleep until 10am. Right now, I get up at 6 or 7am. I'm hoping that makes a difference.

It's hard to think about right now, though, because I am so tired. I can't think straight and don't have the cognitive capacity to focus on anything. I couldn't even knit. My eyes kept crossing and I'd forget what I was supposed to be doing. Writing this journal entry is taking all of my concentration but I still forget what I wanted to say so it's probably a rambling mess. I could reread the whole thing, but my brain won't be able to process it anyway. It won't make any more sense to me the second time around

Despite that, I'm trying to keep this positive attitude in the back of my head. It's bad right now. The bad makes it hard to imagine it being better, but I *know* it was better earlier in the day so it'll probably be better again tomorrow. At least in the morning.

Written by justanotherjen

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Comments
Achaius
Posted On Aug 26, 2020

Would it be possible to ease him into Zoom before the school year starts? e.g. have a Zoom chat with him in different rooms of the house, or set up a Zoom chat with a school friend. Videochatting with friends/family is probably less intimidating than the first day of school (and also lets you troubleshoot ahead of time if there are any issues).

justanotherjen
Posted On Aug 26, 2020

@Achaius That's what I was thinking about. He tried the Zoom meetings in the spring, but the first time he connected, he couldn't hear anything even with the volume turned up. He could see his teacher and she could (presumably) see/hear him. He freaked out and turned it off and never tried again.

I was going to have my 14yo use her iPad to set one up because she knows how to do the meetings (I do not). Once we're sure it's working, I thought we could try different calls with people around the house and maybe his brother who doesn't live here anymore. It would probably good desensitization for me as well as phone calls, and by extension, Zoom calls cause panic attacks--the the point, I risked COVID for an in-person psych appointment instead of just doing the video call. I need to get over this phone anxiety myself so I can't really say much about the kids' issues. I'm hoping to work on it this weekend.

Achaius
Posted On Aug 26, 2020

Yeah, I feel you on that one. I hate making phone calls (and the first time I tried a Zoom meeting, I had technical issues and everyone was telling me what to do at once and ugh).

But, weirdly, I am fine with voice chatting with friends over video games. It doesn't feel like a "real" phone call, it just feels like an extension of text chat which we do all the time. So, everyone's different, but maybe it could work for your son too.

justanotherjen
Posted On Aug 27, 2020

@Achaius He told me last night that he's not really scared to do the zoom meetings anymore and is kind of excited for school to start. I think he'll feel even better once we make sure the zoom meetings are working on his iPad otherwise the school will have to send another one.

justanotherjen
Posted On Aug 27, 2020

@AthyAri I've actually been waking up around 6:30 most mornings since I started my new meds. Before I was happy if I woke up by 10am. As long as my meds keep working, I should be up early enough every day to have a cup of coffee before I even go start cleaning up the kitchen and getting him ready for the day.

I usually find knitting relaxing--it's what I normally do in the morning. And it's something I can carry downstairs if I can't think of anything to write while he's doing his schoolwork.

justanotherjen
Posted On Aug 27, 2020

@AthyAri I've been knitting since about 2005, I think. Self-taught from books. It gets easier the more you practice like anything else. I almost quit the first week I was learning because it was so hard then I figured out I was using the wrong size needles for the yarn I had. I also figured out my personal tension and style of knitting. It's usually pretty relaxing unless it's a fiddly pattern that needs a lot of attention but I'm constantly being interrupted (meaning I lose my place in the pattern). I've thrown my whole project across the room in frustration before. I stick mostly to baby clothes and other small things. I also crochet which is easier and quicker.

I like getting up early. For a long time I slept until 12 or 1pm and hated it. It wastes half the day, especially in winter when it gets dark by 4:30pm. Getting up at 6:30am gives me so much more time to do stuff. Normally, my husband is at work at the time. He leaves for work around 4am and gets home at 2pm. He has Friday/Saturday off so it'll be up to me to do the school stuff. He's normally up by 8am when the 10yo would be starting his work, but will probably be more of a distraction than anything because he'll be watching TV or playing video games. Definitely going to need more wireless headsets in the house (kids broke all of the ones we had so far... ugh).

Achaius
Posted On Aug 27, 2020

Nice! Good luck to both of you this coming year.

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