Things never turn out the way you expect them to; who would have suspected that 2020 would have included school closures, an invisible virus, and the inability to get a decent haircut?
I am constantly amazed at a child’s ability to surprise adults, and Bryan is no exception. He forgives me when I am less than perfect, and I see his creativity developing in so many different ways. From a boy who hated using his imagination when he first arrived, I see his mind creating new and interesting ways of entertaining himself and us, and he’s started playing with new toys. Considering he refused to play a few months ago because all toys were boring, this is a positive sign.
I was particularly impressed by – of all things – the Marvel themes. Earlier this year, I was telling him about Thor and Captain America and Hulk, and all the others who appear in and out of the overlapping films – and we ended up watching some of the sections which were suitable for a nine year old boy!
Since then, we have the ability to connect with a love that both of us now share – science-fiction, which I’m so glad I’ve introduced him to. We spent three wonderful hours in Broadstairs this Saturday just gone playing with Iron Man and Captain America outfits and toys – what bliss, but also how exhausting.
I’ve also been thinking about Bryan’s home learning for the next few weeks; we enjoy doing topics each week on different subjects, and I’m running out of ideas, so we’re looking at languages, arts, and creativity next week, and I fully intend to wing it and then wing the week after as well. I realise now that “winging it” is an essential part of any parent’s lifestyle.
I admire people who have weeks structured perfectly around timetables, individual lesson plans, and time set aside for lunch and structured play. I don’t have the capacity, sadly, as Bryan isn’t receptive to that kind of learning at home – it stresses him out and stresses me out as well, frankly. I withdrew from that style of learning pretty quickly, as it wasn’t worth the arguments or the emotionally-draining intensity. We’ve adopted a more flexible approach, and I’m focusing on a blend of learning and life skills – getting him to help out round the house, at the supermarkets, and making meals. I just hope he looks back and remembers that rather than the bickering …
The last few weeks have been an intense experience for both of us, and I for one am looking forward to doing some of the things we enjoyed before our world got turned upside down. That said, however, I’m also thrilled that I discovered some new things that we could do together; rock hunting, more time on the beach and the park, creating a little nature area in our courtyard to watch things grow. Things that I might never have considered now have planted themselves firmly in our consciousness, and I don’t intend them ever to go away.
And in the next few weeks, once things perhaps feel a little more settled (let’s hope), then I intend for the search to resume for a new place to live. That’s been the least of our worries over the past few months, but it’s something I’m keen to restart – and the excitement of forming a new home with my son that we’ve chosen together. Lots of reasons to be positive about the future, and that’s what I want to focus on right now.