Sunflower Parent: Fernanda Pineda Wolfson
Fernanda is at home with her husband Gary, 3-year-old Ezra, who is a current Seedling, ad baby Max.
Q. What does your day look like?
A. We try to keep our days as simple and peaceful as possible, but also active and productive. We map out our day the night before and then try to stick to a toddler-friendly, flexible schedule. Ezra (pictured, at Sunflower, to the right), Max and I are up by 7 am and Gary joins us a bit later. He likes to stay up late and work at night when the house is quiet.
Gary and I try to take turns during the day being “on duty” with the kids, usually in 3 hour chunks so we can get some work done. Gary revamped a used, two-seater “family bike” – adding a platform for the baby car seat and a toddler seat with shade, cup holders and string lights. We get looks and honks when we ride it but we take it as a compliment.
We are allowing a little more screen time, and have been doing Zoom with other Seedlings. We also spend a lot of time in the back yard. Ezra has invented a myriad of games out there and the day often flies by. On one occasion, Ezra set up a pile of cardboard boxes and tumbled them down with his body swinging from a trapeze probably 50 times.
At dinner we do a gratitude check in which is a family ritual. After dinner, Gary cleans up the kitchen (phew), everyone showers and then we reconvene in our bed to read some books.
Q. Do you have any silver linings?
A. The Corona Pirates (we heard this nickname for Covid-19 and have been using it at home) have brought fear, anger, frustration, and other heavy situations to many families. It has been definitely a challenging time, but we stay – to the best of our abilities – teachable, optimistic, grateful and loving. I am grateful that during this confinement, I have had the chance to work a bit on some of my idiosyncrasies with perspective and humor.
The first week of this isolation I felt like the poor fish from the Cat in the Hat… everywhere I looked there was a big mess. After a few days, I was able to move my eyes away from the mess and see my son’s play with more care: he was building forts, creating obstacle courses, setting up a restaurant, “reading” books all around the house. He was playing non-stop everyday, and the best part was that, sometimes, he invited me to join in.
One of the most amazing times was when he was drawing a map for me to find him, took paper and crayons and started to draw the map. I asked him: “how am I going to know where you are?” and he said: “here, I will put my name here” and he wrote, for the first time (that I know), the letter “E”. I said “thanks, that is very useful to find you.” My voice was normal, but my heart was jumping of joy and excitement.
Q. What challenges have you been experiencing?
A. Not every day is smooth. Not every day goes as planned. Sometimes I can’t wait for the day to be over. There is frustration, bickering, anger, and some kicking (this latter one only by Ezra!). Ezra is really close to my mother who lives two blocks away. They used to hang out every other day and have sleep overs. My mother gave us so much support, and it was really hard when we made the decision to not see her anymore to protect her because she is particularly vulnerable. The first two weeks were immensely difficult. Ezra cried every morning asking to go visit his grandma, saying “I don’t have the virus! I will wash my hands!”
Q. Is there anything you want to share with other parents?
A. These unprecedented times have definitely humbled us and taught us important lessons: practice more patience and flexibility and believe in the power of solidarity. Take it easy on you and yours and make space as a family to talk about feelings, whatever they may be. Also, staying connected to other families has been uplifting. The optimistic nature of the sunflower makes it stand tall and look for the sun, and when planted together, they purify the soil. We are all like sunflowers, strong as individuals and impactful as a community.