• Special Needs Kid Drawing, A Mom's Covid-19 Diary: Keeping My Special Needs Kid Occupied, Karen Hugg, https://karenhugg.com/2020/03/18/special-needs-kid #Covid-19, #coronavirus #momlife #diary #mom #specialneeds #kid #drawing #Seattle #quarantine

    Keeping a Special Needs Kid Busy During Covid-19

    Monday, Day 5

    By Monday, our family settled into this new life of sequestration. My husband hunkered down in his mountain of work, my son started taking walks, my daughter practiced her saxophone, and my youngest, well, she is a special needs kid so it’s more difficult to keep her occupied.

    Sad Beginnings Become Better Over Time

    Thirteen years ago, my youngest was starved and ignored as a newborn. Little food, no care, no comfort. I could make you cry with the story. She basically lay in a crib the first five months of her life in an attic. That attic had no electricity. She contracted pneumonia. She and her brother and sister lived in squalor until rescued by Poland’s equivalent of Child Protective Services. Thank God. Then, two well-meaning clueless Americans (me and my husband) adopted them from an orphanage for a happy-ever-after story, more or less.

    This, and perhaps poor prenatal care, gave my daughter mild brain damage. Born physically healthy, she scores low on intelligence tests and was diagnosed years ago with mild cerebral palsy. But, as many special needs parents know, my child is really smart. She reads facial expressions well, overflows with empathy for others, loves to laugh and crack jokes. She does okay in school and tries incredibly hard but can’t grasp concepts. Has poor memory. And so, occupying her attention for long bouts of time is difficult.

    How Do We Occupy Special Needs Kids While Sheltering at Home?

    Right now, I’m grasping at straws. School assignments have been spotty. My daughter has some math homework, which we’ve done, but she’s not clear where to look for it. She gets bored, asks about what we all can do every day as a family; asks when do we get a new president. She understands we have to stay home because of the virus but wishes she were in school. It particularly got me when she asked if there would ever be a shot to cure people like we always get in September. Smart girl.

    An Imperfect List of Activities

    I haven’t solved occupying her but thought I’d list some of the things we’re doing. Most of these don’t involve me. And yes, that can make for sloppiness. She has spilled bottles of stuff many times before. I just let that part go. And I’m sorry, I’d love to be super mom and be super involved with her home education every single day but I have work to do. We always look over her homework. And, (and I think other special needs parents will agree) sometimes I need a break from kids! So this is what we’ve allowed her to do when I’m busy.

    • Get dressed every day and fix her hair (about 30 minutes)
    • Find all dirty laundry and bring basket downstairs (20 minutes)
    • Make her own breakfast of cereal or toast (15-30 minutes)
    • Check for homework and do what she can independently (30 minutes)
    • Watch TV (1-2 hours, sorry, I’m weak)
    • Read at least 3 chapters of a book (1 hour)
    • Color in her adult coloring book (can be up to 2 hours)
    • Clean her desk and dresser (30 minutes)
    • Do Free Rice or IXL or other online educational games (1 hour)
    • Paint her nails (which she loves to do and I dislike immensely, 1 hour)
    • Write in her journal about this strange time (1 hour)
    • Lay out a blanket outside and listen to music (1 hour)
    • Make own “weird lunch,” likes peanut butter and honey (30 minutes)
    Afternoon and Evening
    • Practice counting backwards by 5s (30 minutes)
    • Play some games on her iPad (limited to 1 hour)
    • Bake with her older sister (up to 2 hours)
    • Do Duolingo for Spanish (30 minutes)
    • Practice handwriting / Copy paragraph from book on paper (1 hour)
    • Sing karaoke on ipad (limited to 1 hour)
    • Take a walk with her older sister (30 minutes)
    • Take photos of her dog or cats with her iphone (1 hour)
    • Pick a book off MY shelf and read some of it (30 minutes)
    • Call either grandma on the phone and talk (15-30 minutes)
    • Text her aunties and friends on phone (30 minutes)
    • Weed with me in the yard (she actually likes this, 30 minutes)
    • Help with dinner, set the table, etc. (30 minutes)
    • Empty the dishwasher and try to sort silverware (15 minutes)
    • Draw a picture to hang on her wall (1 hour when she’s inspired)
    • Take a bubble bath (which she loves, esp with music, 1 hour)
    • Sing while her dad plays piano (30 minutes)
    • Fold clothes as best she can and put in proper drawers (15 minutes)
    • Watch two episodes of Carpool Karaoke in bed (20 minutes)

    I realize that every special needs kid is different with different capabilities. And I realize that some parents may feel these don’t apply or are too high-functioning. So let me know what ideas or activities you use to keep your special needs kid occupied in the comments below! This is a difficult time, especially for families with a special needs kid.

    If you’d like more information on the Covid-19 illness, visit the Centers for Disease Control corona virus page here.

    If you’d like stories of inspiration, tips on gardening, book and music ideas, and more, subscribe to my monthly digest, a Vine of Ideas. In it, I send a list of short links to stuff I think is worth checking out. Also, the latest on my new books and offers. Oh and you get a free ebook featuring a special tree!

  • Thermometer, A Mom's Diary During Covid-19: A High Fever and Bedroom Quarantine, Karen Hugg, https://karenhugg.com/2020/03/16/bedroom-quarantine #Covid-19 #coronavirus #quarantine #Seattle #mom #momlife #diary #teen #bedroomquarantine

    A Fever and Bedroom Quarantine During Covid-19

    Saturday, Day 3

    As I wrote in my last post, my daughter came down with a flu late last week. She’d been getting the chills and couldn’t sleep after her band trip to Ireland had been cancelled. While I’d hoped the mild fever she’d had of a 100.5 would go down overnight, it didn’t. She only slept a few hours and so the fever shot up to 103. She felt ragged. Tired. Depressed. She coughed a lot. So I sent her upstairs for a bedroom quarantine, worrying about whether she had Covid-19.

    A Mother Investigating an Illness

    I jumped on the net and searched the Washington State Department of Health website, checking the symptoms. My daughter had some but not others. For instance, she had a solidly high fever, now slightly above the range from 100.5 to 102. But she had a runny nose, which had been reported among symptoms but not regularly. She did not have shortness of breath, a somewhat common symptom, but she had a consistent cough. Very consistent.

    I agonized over what to do. I could call her doctor but her symptoms had only lasted a day. And with masses of people sick in more serious ways, I didn’t want to clog the system. So I waited and I fretted. The one fact reassuring me was young people recovered with little trouble.

    A Bedroom Quarantine Inside a Quarantine

    At dinnertime, I dropped off a plate of tacos and vitamin C water at her bedroom. She spent the evening there. She texted me that she was bored. Wanted to know if her dad, a cancer survivor, was more susceptible to corona virus. I told her I didn’t think so. The truth was I didn’t know. Later, when I went upstairs to see if she wanted a cookie for desert, her light was out. So I let her be.

    The next morning, I decided to look into getting her tested. What if she was contagious and might spread it to my husband, or me? How long would she be contagious? What if she gave it to her brother or sister and they, perhaps without symptoms, gave it unknowingly to an elderly person? The questions spun constantly in my mind.

    Still, with the Trump administration skimping on tests for even the confirmed ill, I knew getting her tested would be difficult. I’d read medical professionals were frustrated by the federal government’s lack of assistance. Tests were few and far between, especially for a low-risk teenager. So I went to the Gates Foundation website. A week earlier, I’d read an announcement that the foundation would be offering corona virus home test kits. But I couldn’t find any more detailed information about how to obtain the tests. Frustrated, I closed my laptop.

    Time Passed, Worry Grew

    I kept checking the time. Ten o’clock came. I texted my daughter. “You awake yet, hon?” No answer. I read more about the virus on the King County website, the CDC, The Guardian, The Seattle Times, and on and on. Eleven o’clock came. Tried to distract myself with actual work. Then eleven-thirty. I texted her again. Finally, an answer came. She was awake. “How do you feel?” I texted.

    “A lot better.”

    It turns out she’d slept 14.5 hours. From nine o’clock the previous night to eleven-thirty the next morning. I was thrilled. She came into the kitchen hungry. She ate a decent breakfast. We took her temperature: 98 degrees. Thank goodness.

    In all of my obsessive reading about the virus, I learned that she needed to be free of the fever for 72 hours. At least that’s what one website said. Others said 24 hours, others said 5 days. So I knew we had to take her temperature every day for a few days, but that night at least, I slept well.

    A New Concern

    Unfortunately, my husband didn’t. He got slammed at work. He’s a software architect for an internet hardware company, the biggest, the one you probably know, the “human network.” But because so many people across the country were working from home, they were using the company’s teleconferencing software and it was creaking under the traffic’s weight. He and a vast network of team members spun into emergency mode.

    I’ll write more about that tense day in my next post.

    If you’d like more information on the Covid-19 illness, visit the Centers for Disease Control corona virus page here.

    If you’d like stories of inspiration, tips on gardening, book and music ideas, and more, subscribe to my monthly digest, a Vine of Ideas. In it, I send a list of short links to stuff I think is worth checking out. Also, the latest on my new books and offers. Oh and you get a free ebook featuring a special tree!