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Our boys have grown up during COVID19, it’s been mind-blowing

A couple of years ago, I wrote a blog – Kids don’t grow up fast, they grow up suddenly. Well the growing up bit has been off the charts during this pandemic. Total skyrocket growth and it’s been wonderful to witness it! I’m expecting to be shocked when I see their class mates, as I expect other parent’s to be shocked when they see our boys.

Because tomorrow, they are back at school. HALLELUJAH!!!!

                                                                                Jax!!

They haven’t been on campus since Feb/Mar 2020. An amazing period of time for kids this age, and it’s definitely a relief to get them back to school, something they really want as well. They miss the structure of school days… Let’s see how long that lasts, huh?

It’s also nice to know they’re returning to school at a time when there has been no COVID infections in the community for nearly three months. Relief!!

If there’s one lesson I’ve learnt as a parent on this lockdown journey, it is this: go easy on your parenting skills and qualities during this time. Yes the boys have spent more time on devices, and more time being idle, but you know, as the months rolled on, we lost our energy to keep on top of it every day. None of us parents can do it all. None.

Not to forget we are also trying to manage ourselves – our thoughts, emotions, scattered brains, fears for the future… Definitely not an easy time to be a parent.

But the boys didn’t exactly enjoy being stationary either. Especially Lex. He’s got ants in his pants that one.

Thankfully, we had the amazing opportunity to travel in the North of Thailand, then Phi Phi Island in the last few weeks. That helped get us out of lockdown stupor – a change of scene was brilliant after so many months immobile.

                                                        Lex is now nicknamed Shaggy

Change, change, change

Getting back to their growth. Both boys have gone through significant physical changes in quarantine. Muscles are growing, strength too, which means flexing biceps in the mirror is a common sight 😊 😊.

Lex’s voice is now officially broken and you can definitely expect a very low baritone next time you speak to him. Jax won’t be too far behind on that front either.

Lex is also significantly taller than me now and catching up to Steve, and it won’t be long until Jax towers over me too. Soon I will be the family midget, although thankfully, Vick is still with us to take on that title.

And their hands and feet – my word! Men are on the horizon. We took them to play tennis a month ago, and their brand new shoes (which they hadn’t put on since quarantine began) were too small!!

Other things changed too. Screen time is a huge issue for families who can afford technology, but it’s not all bad. What we’ve noticed is, they are going on independent educational journeys into all sorts of topics, digging deeper and learning new facts.

Lex has found his own news channel Inside Edition – a boy after my heart – and it’s been really lovely having the opportunity to talk about the information and news he’s interested in. Cold case murders are definitely something that fascinate him. Pop culture too. Today he wanted to talk about the Ellen DeGeneres news.

Another hot topic for Lex right now is drugs – not the drugs themselves – but the entire story around drugs, including the cartels, violence and more. His questions are outstanding.

Jax is more focused on mastering digital communication. He is working out how to connect with the world, and I’m pretty impressed with how he tells stories, as well as the quality of imagery he captures.

He’s got some talent there and I loved doing my first Instagram Live with him a while back. Actually, before we did the video, I was teaching him how to use hashtags. Let me just say, it’s so nice having a combined passion for social media and storytelling with one of my boys – can you imagine? Not to mention, he is OK learning from his mum about these things too. Well so far…

Jax also really embraced cooking and seems to love it, while Lex is still more interested in mastering the staples – that boy knows how to cook an egg. Either way, I’m stoked, because being able to cook is so important!!!

They also released a song Money (Heist of the Century) – by Lexy Dope and Jazzy Boy. Huge appreciation to the team at Phuket Academy of Performing Arts. The boys are absolutely stoked and LOVED that camp – the words you want to hear, let me tell you.  

It was a relief that music lessons could continue throughout lock down, and with singing, drama and dance at VK Theater Works too, the boys continue to get a well-rounded arts education. 

                                                            Jax’s new travel look

Qualities in quarantine

One of my surprises during quarantine is both boys have been super affectionate – especially with me. I was getting cuddles and they were telling me they loved me every day. I suppose that was their way of getting reassurance during an uncertain time in the world? Regardless, it was lovely.

Steve didn’t get this as much, especially with so much testosterone in the air, which meant there’s been a fair bit of fronting up going on. This is to be expected and was definitely more of a frustrating issue in the early quarantine months. I just wanted to run away!! Ugh.

However, even that started to lessen as time went on. Which meant the boys had real opportunities to bond and Steve created incredible moments with the boys. Sunday afternoons became movie time between them – code name “Bro-time” – where they watched a lot of old movies Steve grew up with (many he watched with his dad) or real life stories that fascinate the boys.

A sample: Where Eagles Dare. American Sniper. Thirteen Hours. Patriots Day. The Longest Day. A Bridge Too Far. The Matrix.

Friday night movies was another bonding time for all of us (non-bro’s welcome) and as the boys humor and potty-mouth development has escalated significantly in quarantine (not us, I promise), we thought alright, you get to watch the stupid movies we love.

Zoolander. Meet the Parents. Meet the Fockers. Tropic Thunder. The Castle. Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. Muriel’s Wedding (they hated that). Highlander. Kenny.  

                                                    The cutest kitten on Phi Phi

Work and school

Right from the word go, Steve and I struggled with homeschooling supervision and working ourselves. However, we were extremely lucky that the boys’ school work was run beautifully, which made it easy for them to just get on with it. Their teachers – Kru’s Jess, LJ and Joel – were rock stars!!

However, for any parent homeschooling their kids, the getting on with it isn’t always easy.

Before the holidays, our daily life was: go to the toilet before the start of your lesson; put your phone down; stop day dreaming and get to work; no you can’t go to the fridge mid-lesson; get up and move; run around the villa complex and take the dog; go and swim 40 laps; get started; work faster; work slower and focus on quality; stop talking; stop fighting; stop stop stop.

And the moaning… so much moaning…

I hated it and struggled getting my head in my work. So Steve took on most of the burden, but then I felt guilty, so I couldn’t work properly, and often interfered with what Steve was doing, which annoyed the hell out of him… and well, let’s just say it wasn’t conducive to a nice, loving, happy, home environment that we are determined to provide for our boys – in quarantine and out of it.

Solution! They got desks set up in a separate room and were required to manage themselves, and guess what? It worked! It wasn’t perfect and they still stuffed around, attempted some rather creative cheating (and were always sprung), but if we have to go back into quarantine, we know we can do it easily. We are ready.

                                Embracing the culture. He is a boy that appreciates bling.

Personal growth

If there is one thing we’ve seen that has blown us away, it’s their personal maturity. They’ve become more comfortable in their own skin, more confident in who they are, and they love having interesting conversations with us about all sorts of topics.

For families around the world, none of us have ever had to spend this sort of time together, and we know many have not coped. It’s been an intense time, right? Everyone is in their own head, facing their own demons, mourning their own losses when in isolation.

Thankfully for us, as a family, we feel we’ve built a deeper connection and that the boys memories of this time will be positive – which was always our goal. So we do feel lucky. Very lucky.

This time has given us the unique privilege to watch our boys grow into maturity, and maybe at this stage of their life, it was a perfect time for this situation? It was more private, less on-show? Who knows. They just seemed to thrive and take it all in their stride. And while it certainly wasn’t harmonious in their “office” every day, they didn’t kill each other either. Phew.

Obviously, having each other helped them too – though they wouldn’t admit it. They are tight as hell as brothers, and I know my pals with solo kids struggled with the isolation. As I said, fortunate.

                                                        Reckon I’m going to frame this one

Phuket has been amazing

I’ve been speaking with many people in our community about their isolation experiences and amongst our friends, we are all in agreement, that we have been truly fortunate to be based in Phuket during this crisis.

The lockdown in Thailand went hard and early, and it also went for a long time. But we all did it and honored the need for it, and here we are nearly 70 days COVID free, and the government seems committed to making sure it doesn’t take off again.

Another huge benefit of being locked down in Phuket is lifestyle. Our community, which is made up of the school community, all feel very fortunate. The homes we get to live in and the temperature we enjoy all year round, means we can be outside, swim in our pools, get fresh air, and if we need to go to the shops, it’s not overflowing with people, so the risk is diminished. Just not feeling trapped indoors made a massive difference.

Yes, we reckon we’re in the top 1-5% of fortunate people in the world – being here, enduring this pandemic from Phuket, and having this amazing opportunity to watch our boys grow into young men.

I know I’m extremely lucky I get to say that and while I’m stoked they’ll be going back to school tomorrow, I think I’m going to miss them a little bit too.

So for now, this stage is over for us. Let’s hope it doesn’t return. How’s your experience been?

Yours, without the bollocks

Andrea

Thank you for reading my ramblings. My brain and heart are a work in progress, always. I’d love a comment if it stirred any thoughts or feelings and of course, please feel free to share it with anyone you know who might be interested or entertained. I sure do appreciate it when you do. If you want to connect, I’m on Twitter here, Instagram here, YouTube here, and Facebook too. I share loads of stuff, not just my own xxxxx

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