On July 7th, the Governor of Washington (Inslee) mandated that all businesses must require masks in order to provide entrance. If someone can not wear a mask due to a medical condition, the business should offer adequate accomadations (such as curb-side pick up, online delivery, etc). It's been a hot topic up here. Personally, I don't mind. I know they aren't 100% effective. Nothing is 100% effective against a virus that has killed 810 people since yesterday (134,000 Americans so far). While, yes, most people recover, it's entirely possible that the systemic effects of the virus are far reaching.
So at some point, this blog may no longer be called 'When the World Paused', but maybe 'LCW' - Living in Covid World. Documenting the circumstances of the world while this little window is written feels important.
One of the hottest topics in the masking world has been "How do we safely get kids back to school?" Playing with my own thoughts on this (we feel completely safe for The Impossible Girl to have one more year of Forest Preschool, especially under the current world circumstances), I've been doing what I can to make the masking world 'normal' for my kiddo.
I hear the disappointment in her voice when she asks if we can go to a playground and I want to say 'YES! Let's GO! CLIMB! SLIDE! PLAY!' but I bite my tongue and say, "Not yet. I'm sorry love."
She used to say, "Because of germs?" But that was weeks ago. Now, it's "Because of germs."
Yes, honey. Because of germs.
We still venture out a few times a week on trails and in parks that aren't busy. She is great about keeping her mask readily available to pull over her face when we come across people, but I wondered if there was a better way.
Masking for us has come with it's own share of pit falls.
I discovered recently that The Impossible Girl thinks she can't talk when she's wearing a mask. Already fairly soft spoken and battling a bit with her speech, it is an added (albeit psychological) barrier to intelligable communication. She sees and hears people talking with masks on almost daily, but struggles with it herself. For now anyway.
One of her teachers came up with a game of covering your nose and mouth (she used a mask, we used our hands) and trying to 'guess the emotion' from just being able to see the eyes up on someone. We played it for the first time today. She was 50/50 at picking out emotions. She's usually pretty empathetic, so we'll see how that changes as masking becomes a more normal way of life.
(It certainly seems that masking will stick around for the long haul here...)
So I decided to see how face shields would work on a walk at the park one day.
The feedback was very positive. She liked it much better than a mask (even though the 'anti-fog' fogged up a little bit after she was running around in it for laps). For me, the major downside is that these things dent pretty darn easily. She didn't play rough with it or anything, and within about 30 minutes of play, it was dented a bit. She did like it though. She was able to flip it up and catch her breath for a moment if she needed a break. It's tougher for her to keep a mask up or loop it over her ears after taking it off (and her motor skills are pretty solid).
Unfortunately, they aren't considered 'masks' so they won't likely pass on their own, which is kind of sad. It was far more effortless for play and life than a cloth mask is on a small head or tiny ear, as noted below. (While these masks with vinyl faces on them are super cute, they also head up quickly and hold moisture - so YMMV (your milage may vary)). We have a couple of pleated tie on masks that work well and have a pocket for an additional filter. Though she can't tie them on herself (or adjust them) she will happily hold it in place if requested. But I'll get to that....
But we do mask when we go out. This weekend we went to MilkVue
to get mochi donuts as a special treat. It's a long drive from our home to the donut destination, and she didn't feel like standing in line when we got there. So she was in her mask, in her carrier, on my back. What would have been a full donut shop had shifted to allow for more physical distancing. They allowed 2 parties in the shop at once, and everyone else did wait patiently outside, several feet away from each other. I chatted (through my mask, with the fellow waiting behind me, and we decided to eat outside. We took our masks off in an empty area of the shopping center to eat.
Mochi Donuts are definately worth the drive. (This is her favorite - Watermelon Mochi donut.) You can tell they are a hit.
I've been trying to be the 'fun mom' lately. And I believe it's paying off. When I went back to seeing clients face to face (and she went to a babysitter), she was having accidents every single night. But in making sure I unplug and have more attentive time with her, well - the accidents have stopped (for the moment). It's a big reminder to me that I don't have to be all thing. I don't have to be the coach, the athlete (let's face it - she's on the back burner currently), the author, the military wife, the parent... I just have to be present.
So on the 4th of July, we ate dinner on the balcony and roasted marshmellows over candles.
I gave her a few extra minutes to play - because while I'm balancing working/cleaning and parenting, she can express her creativity and make forts to climb through...
She asked me if she could have purple hair one day (after watching a Brad Mondo hair coloring video
- I've never done any sort of unnatural hair color - actually I've never really strayed from blond highlights that are fairly naturally occuring). I wasn't going to brave a store to get the stuff for it. Instead, I had some blue left over from Halloween about 3 years ago. She was in heaven for the 24 hours the spray stayed in.
I've managed to get rid of the 2 free-to-us couches that had outlived their usefulness and gotten a whole new set up going on in the loft (special thanks to the hard working guys at Trash Transporters
). I uninstalled the old dishwasher and installed the new dishwasher - yes, myself.
|Dishwasher 5 hrs, but DONE! |
And I've dealt with dogs doing more than their fair share of mess making.
But I've also been fitting in shirts I wasn't able to wear in April...
And decided to breath new life into our overgrown yard.
It took me a while of focusing on being present to kind of settle my mind on the value of the moment.
I'm done with the exhausting work of worrying about things like, "Am I doing the right thing? Letting The Impossible Girl go to babysitting so I can work - when many in similar situations are making more money doing the unemployment dace?" When I see the clients in my email or in the yard, I know I'm making a difference. Sure, I could be making more hounding the unemployment office - many are. And I don't fault them. Perhaps they are more business savvy than I am. But for now, we're finding that balance of living in the moment.