COVID-19 can bring changes to a lot of individuals, but to this 8-year-old, it means more time with family.
Emiliano (but he prefers Mateo; it was easier to spell when he was little) is your average 8-year-old boy. He loves video games, playing outside, watching movies, and fighting with his brothers. Most importantly, he hates homework. Don’t get him wrong, he likes learning new things, but when it comes to writing book reports and finishing online math problems, it’s basically the end of the world. He didn’t know how much longer school would last (he was shocked to hear that he still has at least 14 years left). All he wants is a break because school is tough.
He couldn’t have been more excited when he learned that school was canceled for at least two weeks. In his eyes, he got the best deal ever. His older brothers are forced inside to play with him, he can eat his mom’s cooking (it is way better than pizza and milk for lunch), and he doesn’t have to do homework (his mom quickly corrected him that this was indeed false but he didn’t care). Mateo is living the dream. A typical day for him looks like this:
Though it’s hard to believe, Mateo is an early riser. He is always the first one up on the weekends and he gets annoyed that no one else is willing to wake up and spend time with him. But there is a perk to being the first one up. He is able to sneak out of his bedroom and play video games, (as long as he keeps the game muted so his mom doesn’t catch him)
When he is finally pushed off of the TV by one of his older brothers, Mateo ventures off to look for his mom to tell her he’s hungry. Granted, while he knows what is for breakfast already (cereal or eggs) he can’t help but ask because maybe one day she will say it’s okay to eat chips for breakfast. He settles on Fruit Loops, climbing on top of the countertop to reach for his cereal in the cupboard. Sometimes he pretends he is a gymnast on a very high rope balancing his way to the other side.
Mateo doesn’t play around when it comes to snacks. As soon as the clock reads 12:00 p.m. he rushes to the kitchen to grab his Cheetos, with his mom’s approval (finally). To him, this is the most important meal of the day. He then sneaks the opened bag into the living room, hiding it between the couch cushions (he isn’t allowed to eat on the couch) so he can finish watching The Flash in peace.
The most dreaded time of the day. When his mom is done cleaning up from breakfast and getting ready, she calls Mateo over to the dining room to start the homework packet Mateo’s teacher gave him to work on during quarantine. At first, he pretends he doesn’t hear her but once she starts counting down from 10 he gets nervous and begrudgingly makes his way to the dining room table. He hates every minute of it. In an effort to finish faster he puts down wrong answers, thinking his mom doesn’t check his work. Sadly, his plans are foiled when she indeed checks his work, making him redo the entire sheet. He says he is working on a new strategy.
A majority of his day is waiting for his oldest brother, Xavier, to wake up and play with him outside. Since Xavier is a high school student, this usually means waiting until 2 or 3 in the afternoon. Nevertheless, Xavier wakes up and Mateo makes his way outside with a soccer ball in hand. Mateo actually really likes his big brothers, Xavier and Ulysses. Even though they don’t play with him as often as he would want, he feels like a teenager when they take him places to play soccer. Xavier and Ulysses play soccer for school and travel teams. Mateo wishes he could be as good as they are. So, he practices until he is old enough to play soccer at his school.
When it’s time to come inside to eat, Mateo is pretty excited. Dinner is when the whole family eats at the same time and shares about their day. And Mateo sure does have a lot to say. He likes talking about what he did that day and makes fun of his brothers. It’s a pretty relaxing time that makes Mateo happy to eat with everyone. At the end of dinner, his mom usually calls or Facetimes his older sister to talk to her about her day. Mateo secretly wishes his sister would come home; she makes the best crepes. He would help her make crepes early in the morning every Saturday when she came home on vacation. He is a little disappointed he can’t do that anymore.
After dinner, the whole family decides what to watch for a family movie night. There is a lot of back and forth but Mateo really wants to watch the Mandalorian. Unfortunately, he is outnumbered and they end up watching a Kung-Fu movie; his mom’s favorite. But it’s okay, he can get up early the next day to watch it by himself.
After a long and eventful day, Mateo quickly falls asleep after brushing his teeth and his mom tucking him in. He can’t wait to see what will happen tomorrow.
With the situations around COVID-19 changing so often, it’s hard for Mateo to really know what is happening. All he knows is that he can’t see his friends or go for a ride on his bike with Chicago’s stay-at-home order. Even though he is having fun right now, Mateo wishes he could go to the park and play with his friends. He misses going on walks with his dad to get food for dinner. But for now, he knows he has to keep his distance from others so everyone can get healthy, only then can he finally go back and enjoy those bike rides with friends.