pandemic diary (part 1): surviving lock down

This quote from Dr. Emily King has carried me through the past 10 weeks of quarantine:

“When you have to pick, because at some point you will, choose connection…Pick laughing, and snuggling, and reminding them that they are safe.”~ Dr. Emily W. King

Our daily lives are fraught with uncertainty and fear. Like our dyslexia journey, my goal during this pandemic is to ensure my daughter feels loved and safe.

Some days are better than other. I haven’t felt like writing about this (which is unusual for me), given that most of my energy has gone into adjusting to this new life. Everything that was hard before Covid-19, like working and studying, staying mentally well and caring for fragile loved ones, has become almost impossible now.

In the first week of quarantine, I wasn’t sure how we’d cope.

But thankfully, as the weeks pass, we’ve been able to muddle through like we always do.

Like so many kids around the world, my daughter transitioned to online learning from home.

There is bad and good to this.

The bad:

  • Hard to learn without one-on-one, in person, support; math in particular is proving to be impossible
  • Difficulty processing information, reading and working entirely on a screen
  • Difficulty focusing and paying attention while learning at home
  • Missing out on grade 8 graduation (even though the school is planning an online ceremony–it’s not the same) is a huge let down after working so hard to get here!
  • Increased screen time

The good:

  • It’s just a 1 minute walk from bed to class
  • Our dog is always close by to add comfort and eat pencils
  • Less social pressure (but loneliness)
  • Short school day; more time for outdoors, creativity, play and rest

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I’m not sure how much she’s learning, but I’m grateful for the structure the 2-hours of class time gives to our day and that she has social contact and a distraction from the terrible news in the world.


Every morning, her English teacher reads out loud. I love listening in on this. They just finished reading Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes; a sad and sweet little book about Charlie, a man with intellectual disabilities (short summary: brain surgery is used to increase his intelligence, and it’s not clear whether that is a good thing). This book has sparked lots of interesting conversations around the dinner table. In particular, Charlie’s revelation about a “way of being” or “becoming”:

“I see now that the path I choose through the maze makes me what I am. I am not only a thing, but also a way of being—one of many ways—and knowing the paths I have followed and the ones left to take will help me understand what I am becoming.”

On those days when I’m not very patient, and I give into the fatigue and fear, I try to remember this is a journey. Just like our journey with dyslexia. Some days I take a wrong turn, but I get up every morning looking for a new way to navigate the world as it’s presented to me. Who do I want to be, and who do I want to become?

Sending love to all of you. Stay safe.


Dr. Emily King is a child, adolescent and family psychologist from the UK. She has lots of great stuff on her website!

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