A Message from Your Child’s Feline Remote Learning Assistant

Hey there, small human. It’s me, your cat.

So how ‘bout this pandemic, huh? You have to admit, it’s been pretty great. It feels like winter break, only it goes on forever and your mom doesn’t send you off to soccer camp the second week just so she can get some work done. The extra scratches and cuddles have been amazing, and that Chromebook you brought home from school is the warmest sleeping spot ever.

Still, like anything in life, it hasn’t been — quite — purrrfect. As you no doubt know, I’ve recently joined the Union of Feline Remote Learning Assistants, and we have a few small requests for you.

24/7 Keyboard Access

Let’s face it. Thanks to your new Chromebook, I’m just not getting the quality lap time I’m used to. That’s okay; I can adapt, but only if you stop shoving me off the keyboard. I still need someplace to sit that puts me squarely between you and whatever you’re trying to do. I’m the cat, after all.

Union Rate for All Appearances

Your friends love me. Your teacher loves me. Even that kid you hate because her birthday’s the same day as yours but her party was more popular loves me. When I show up in a Google meet, everyone’s so busy oooooohing and awwwwwwwing that they totally forget about capitalizing proper nouns and regrouping to solve addition problems. That sort of skill doesn’t come cheap. Here’s my new rate sheet, broken down by cans of tuna fish per hour. Please also note that from now on, Cat shall be considered a proper noun.

A New Couch

All this work means I need to keep my claws sharp, and your couch has run out of good scratching places.Please replace it with a new couch ASAP.

Me Time

I love being with you. I really do. But like any Cat, I need my space. Specifically, my outdoor space. Please open the back screen door immediately. Telling me I’m an indoor cat is no longer acceptable. This is a pandemic, after all, and everyone says the more we can take our usual activities outside, the better.

Unlimited Catnip

Honestly, I don’t think this requires any explanation.

Commitment

Last week, you were gone for two whole days, and don’t think I didn’t notice just because you snuck a day home in between them. If you want me to be your remote learning feline, I need to know you’re all in. Your mom said something about hybrid learning last night. I don’t know what that is, but I know I don’t like it, so please make it stop. Immediately.

And that’s it. Just a few simple requests that I trust you, my favorite small human, to address in a timely manner.

Oh, one more thing. Can you open your Chromebook for me? Because that kid with the same birthday as you isn’t doing hybrid learning, and I think she wants to invite me to her next party.


Originally published at Frazzled.

Kids are awesome, pandemic edition

Can we take a moment to recognize the strength and resilience of elementary-school-aged kids during this pandemic?

They’re putting on their masks and their backpacks and walking into school on their own every morning, even the littlest ones, whose parents couldn’t follow them on campus for their first day of kindergarten this year. They’re learning how to learn at a distance, no more hugs from their teachers, no more sharing a pencil or a snack or a high five with their classmates. Even so, they’re still finding ways to have fun with their friends. They’re still growing, socially and emotionally as well as physically.

Or else they’re booting up borrowed laptops at home, working their way through packets of worksheets on the couch or the bed or the kitchen table or a quiet corner of the closet. They’re learning surrounded by the noise and chaos of their families, or else in the silence of a home where everyone else is busy working, too, even the grownups. When they’re missing their friends, they bring their cats and their dogs and their stuffies with them into their virtual classrooms. They’re learning how to learn on their own, even as they keep their friendships alive through video chats and outdoor play dates and shared Minecraft worlds

Or else they’re simply hanging in there, day after day, while learning and friends become increasingly distant memories. They’re caring for themselves and their even-younger siblings full time while their parents work, or they’re struggling to survive on their own, in homes where emotional or physical violence are—or have become—the norm, without the option of escaping into a classroom for a few hours a day.

For some kids, the victory is that they’re continuing to learn and grow and connect with their friends. For others, the victory is that they’re surviving at all.

They’re heroes, every last one of them.

As adults, facing so many of our own real challenges right now, it’s easy not to notice this. Let’s stop and notice it now. Remember how, when you were a kid, summer seemed to last forever? For today’s kids, Covid-19 has been three summers long—so far. But they’re still here, still surviving and, on good days, even thriving. They’re handling an impossible situation, if not perfectly, still with more strength and grace than many grownups.

And I think that’s pretty amazing.

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash