COVID-19 Forced My Baby to Grow Up

I initially held back on writing this post because I know how social media works. You share something personal, and people will start judging you. Even the most well-meaning post in social media can still attract hate and negativity. But after I posted some of my struggles in my Instagram stories, I started getting tons of messages from other mommy friends who validated my feelings. All of them said that they have been struggling with the same thing as well. And just like when I shared my stories on infertility and anxiety, I am now using this platform to reach a wider audience. Kahit 10 lang naman ang readers ko. :p

I have nothing against parents who send their kids to school at an early age. Your child, your rules. I consciously delayed Zayne’s schooling because I wanted her to be fully prepared for it. She was potty trained at two years old. (As in she would refuse to wear diapers even when we’re going out of the house!) Her pediatrician always says that she’s advanced for her age. I’m not saying this because I’m her mom, but my husband and I (and even my parents) invested so much time teaching Zayne not only ABCs and 123s but also important life skills. Instead of sending her to school, we decided to enroll her to an enrichment program for Math and English. She only attends a one-hour class every Saturday, and the teacher gives us worksheets to finish at home.

Last March, we decided to send her to a trial class for Pre-Kinder. She was so excited that she got so sad after I told her that she would not go back to school after one week. It was just a trial class after all. Zayne then started talking non-stop about going to school this academic year. Her teachers said that Zayne is so ready for school. They complimented her independence because she knows how to go to the comfort room and pack away her lunch box on her own. They also talked about how Zayne’s grip in writing is very good for her age. We were supposed to schedule her for a formal assessment in school when ECQ was announced. We felt like we were back to zero.

Confident that Zayne already learned almost everything she needs at her age, I was seriously contemplating on delaying sending her to school for another year. She already knows addition, and she can even read both in English and in Filipino. But I realized that COVID-19 is probably here to stay for a very long time, and I cannot simply delay her schooling in case that happens. Good thing that Zayne’s Ninang Aubrey told me about an online trial class at Ate Kakay’s school. She told me that it would be nice for us to see how an online learning setup will look like. Zayne was so excited going to the “real” school because she already gained friends even if she only spent one week with them. I had to explain to her that all kids now are not allowed to go to school. I told her that if she still wants to go to school, then we have to do it online. I told her that she would just see her teachers and classmates on her laptop.

She was really excited days leading to her first day of trial class, that’s why I was so surprised when I saw how inattentive she was during class. She froze when her teacher asked her to introduce herself to her classmates. I didn’t push her. I gave her an encouraging look instead. She finally replied with a big smile on her face. She even raised her hand to answer the teacher’s question, but her mood changed once again in the middle of class. She refused to answer her teachers, and she would only do as soon as I prompt her to do so. My husband and I even got into an argument when I told her how Zayne reacted during her class. He said it was fine because it was just her first day. I let it go even if I knew that my daughter is not that kind of child. She loves to learn. She is always hungry for knowledge. But I decided to follow my husband’s advice to let it go. Things went from bad to worse on her second day of trial class.

It was 30 minutes for Reading and 30 minutes for Math. Her teachers were the same when she attended the trial class last March. She always tells us how she adores both of them, that’s why I could not understand why she was acting that way. Her first lesson for that day was reciting the alphabet, something she already knew by heart as soon as she turned one. Again, Zayne can now read both English and Filipino. (She always surprises us when she reads words with three or four syllables!) What happened next took me by surprise. SHE CRIED IN THE MIDDLE OF HER CLASS. I immediately disconnected from the call. A lot of things started running through my head. Didn’t she always forget to kiss us goodbye when she was going to school last March because she was always so excited? So, what’s happening now? Lost and frustrated, I did what I do best. I shouted. 

I shouted at my daughter. I know, I know. Judge me all you want. I know it wasn’t my best moment as a mom.

I shouted, and shouted, and shouted. I yelled so hard that I was so convinced my voice could be heard in Batanes! “Zayne, it’s just the alphabet! You already know how to read! Why are you crying?!” To make things even worse, my husband started yelling, too. My husband doesn’t shout because I took that role in the house a long time ago. So when he shouts, it only means that he lost the last strand of patience in his body. Zayne got so scared that she ran to me and hugged me tight. I came to my senses, and I finally asked Zayne what I should have asked her in the first place. “What’s wrong?” She replied, “Nanay, I’m so nervous because this is my first time to attend a school in a laptop. Nanay, this is not a real school. I want to go to my old school with Ate Kakay and my friends.” I felt really bad. I failed as a mom. I realized that although she did really well last March, this is completely new to her. She’s right. This is her first time going to school, and it’s not supposed to be in front of a laptop. She should be excited with the bento boxes I make for snack. She should be playing with her classmates. She should not be worrying that her teacher’s internet connection is acting up. She is supposed to be out there!

My heart was torn into a million pieces. Zayne never attempted to go out of the house because she has always known the dangers of COVID-19. I thought I explained everything to her well enough, but I guess I expected too much from my four-year-old. I felt really horrible because I expected my child to act like an adult when even grown-ups are having a difficult time dealing with the drastic changes brought by this pandemic. I failed as a mom. I failed my daughter, the same little human being who believes that I have superpowers.

“Zayne, I know that you really want to go to school. I also want you to go to school, so you can play with your friends again. But there is still coronavirus. All kids are not allowed to go to school because it’s dangerous. All kids are using the laptop now to talk to their teachers and classmates.” Zayne was still sobbing. I tried to be as calm as possible because I promised myself that I would never be a tiger mom. We never forced Zayne to study. We’re very lucky that she loves learning new things. I continued by saying, “Okay, here’s the deal. If you don’t want to go to school, it’s fine. Nanay and Tatay will not be angry. Nanay will just teach you at home. I’ll tell Teacher Y that you’re not yet ready to go to school. Okay? Now, look at me. I won’t be mad. We’ll stop school if you don’t like it.”

Like a warrior, she wiped her tears and yelled, “I CAN DO IT!”

With eyes still a little red, she went back to her class as if nothing happened. She kept on raising her hands to answer. And more importantly, I once again saw the beam in her eyes. Minutes ago, those were filled with fear, but when she went back to class, joy and the hunger to learn new things replaced it. She did even better on her Math class! We were drama-free the next day.

View this post on Instagram

Somebody likes Math 😅

A post shared by Jerellt Andrade | Je's Anatomy (@dahwanderer) on

I shared these on my IG stories, and a lot of mommy friends started sharing their stories. I thought it was just my own struggle because it was Zayne’s first time to attend school. I was wrong. Apparently, even older kids who have gone through traditional school are also struggling. One friend said that she noticed that the classmates of his son are losing focus during class. Some also cried. And her son is already in second grade.

It was my first time to see my daughter’s meltdown. She has always been well-behaved. I totally forgot that this pandemic is hard for me, but it’s even harder for her.

My husband and I work in the IT industry. We are very grateful that we are still able to work from home. But let me just get this out. People can be grateful and exhausted at the same time. I really hate it when people in social media guilt-trip those who are still able to work despite the pandemic. Bawal mapagod? We only have a stay-out nanny to help us out ever since Zayne was born. My parents also come in the afternoon to take over when the nanny leaves. Just to be extra cautious, we decided not to let them go to the house since ECQ began. Boyet and I work on the same shift which also happens to be Zayne’s waking hours. Despite the flexibility given by our companies, which once again we’re both very grateful for, it’s still very difficult for the two of us to do the things that five people used to do. Even though we’re very thankful to be spending more time with Zayne, we still can’t deny the fact that it always leaves us drained and exhausted.

It was definitely a big adjustment for Zayne especially at the beginning. She initially thought that both her parents could be pulled out of their shifts just because she wanted to play. Although she learned shortly after that Nanay and Tatay are working from home because of COVID-19, she is still a child after all. She has been very understanding and forgiving of our shortcomings, but she also has some bad days. Of course we all know what happens during those bad days. She misbehaves, I get mad, she misbehaves even more. I eventually get to my senses and forgive myself for forgetting that I’m dealing with a child, my own child. And my darling Zayne, my most lovable Zayne, will always forgive me with open arms. :'( There are a lot of days when I expect too much from her. I always forget that she is just four years old. 

I cook all our meals for the week every Saturday. It has been my practice even before she was born. I tried in the beginning of ECQ to cook every day, but it’s taking away too much time from my shift. As much as possible, I want to end my shift on time, so I can spend more time with Zayne. My husband does the laundry and clean up after I cook. That leaves us very little time every Saturday. Again, my four-year-old was forced to adjust. She would play or watch YouTube alone. (She’s only allowed to watch YouTube every Saturday.) One time, I was so surprised to hear her say, “Nanay, I didn’t watch the video because it was bad. They were fighting kasi e.” My mommy heart was so proud. 

Zayne is a natural helper. She feels bad when she sees all of us busy, so she always asks what she can do to help us. I no longer ask her to pack away her toys. Then during quarantine, she learned to take a bath by herself, and she started to religiously ask if she could wipe the table every after meal. She even helps me fold the clothes and offers to sweep the floor. Believe it or not, she can now cook corned beef with Tatay! Just over the weekend, she asked us if she could help doing the laundry. We let her hand wash some of her undergarments.

I get sad and guilty because I feel like she is being deprived of the kind of childhood that she deserves. I see my baby being forced to grow up because of this pandemic, but I am also extremely proud of her because I know that she will use the skills she learned during ECQ later on in life.

I usually have calls after lunch. I used to spend my lunch breaks in the office talking to my team, surfing the internet or catching up on KDramas. Now, I spend my lunch breaks washing the dishes. I always have to rush because my meetings are usually in the afternoon. At first, Zayne would ask us to put her to sleep. Before the lockdown, Mama (my mom) would put her to sleep by singing a lullaby. Lambing na niya ‘yun. But the pandemic forced us to teach Zayne to sleep on her own. I was so proud that she knows her routine. She knows that she needs to go to the room and try to go to sleep by 2PM. But my heart breaks every time I see her from the IP camera twisting and turning. There were times when I would hear her sheepishly call, “Nanay, Nanay” as she tries to sleep. You had no idea how much I cried during the one time I heard her singing a lullaby for herself. Again, she’s just a child – a very malambing child whose love language is touch. She desperately wants us to hug her to sleep, but she had to endure sleeping on her own because both her parents are working from home.

There are a lot of days when I feel defeated as a mother. I felt like I have been forcing my four-year-old daughter to grow up in an instant. But just like what I’ve been doing to keep my sanity while mothering in the middle of a pandemic, I brush off all the guilt, forgive myself, and learn from my mistakes. Despite the guilt, I feel extremely proud of how Zayne has been handling everything.

There are a lot of days when I feel like she is actually doing better than me. I might be doing something right after all.


  1. Grabe! Basa yung laptop ko after reading this. Ang swerte natin sa mga anak natin! Ate Kakay saw her pictures and asked "Is Zayne okay na? She's not shy anymore? Tell her to call me if she's scared or shy!".

    Miss na namin kayo! Soon, makakapaglaro na din sila ulit.

    1. Basa din laptop ko habang nag-blog neto. Hihi! Sana naman hindi pa dalaga 'yung dalawa pagkatapos ng COVID-19. :'(

  2. Awwww, akala natin tayo lang affected ng pandemic (physically, psychologically, and financially speaking), pero totoo yang sinabi mo na mas affected yung mga bata. And to think na ang babata pa nila, kailangan na din nila mag-adjust ng todo sa new normal. Good thing Zayne is coping well, nakakaproud sya! Cyberhugs sayo, Je! :)


My Instagram

Copyright © jE's AnAtOmY.