things we are learning about parenting in the time of quarantine

1) You cannot rule from the throne. The porcelain throne, that is. Husband always takes a long time in the a.m. in the bathroom and yells at the kids from his position. You can’t do it. [Sorry to be graphic. Quarantine times are tough.]

2) Don’t buy Family Feud the game for elementary school age children. Yup, told the kids to pick a toy in Walgreen’s two weeks or so ago while I took a conference call. That was splendid. First Son chose the mentioned game. They now all know what the following means: “Going postal”; “smoking marijuana”;[which First Son pronounced MAHR-RE-CHAMA, rhyming it with Parmesan-ah]; “the mile-high club.” Great!

3) Maybe be selective about podcasts. I like to listen to “Heavyweight,” which tells nonfiction stories in a fiction style, as First Son says it. Some are fine for kids. Others cause him to ask “What’s a condom.”

4) Monitor podcast use. I let them listen to “Heavyweight,” because First Son asked “what’s that one that you listen to that sounds like fiction but it really nonfiction?” After a few minutes listening, he asked “What’s a condom?” I turned it off.

5) Go outside. We are playing soccer outside together for one hour every day. It’s helped our collective sanity and we’ve learned the kids’ pattern. So far, Wonder Twin Daughter complains every day about it, but as long as we just say “okay,” her kvetching time lessens. (It takes her an hour of “I never want to go outside!” to die, but then she’s having a grand old time and we’re not burned out at all!”

6) We all need a routine and structure. My week day structure is:
1. Kids pile on top of me until I wake up from lack of oxygen. They do this when hungry. 2. Feed kids
3. Coffee
4. Dishes
5. Recycling
6. Compost
7. Wake up Husband. (See 1)
8. Check in for my work day emails.

7) Distinguish week days from weekend days. I actually don’t know how to do this one since all the days are a blur, but I think First Son did, because last night, which I believe was Friday, when I asked him what he was grateful for, he let out a huge sigh and said “I’m grateful it’s the weekend tomorrow and I don’t have to do anything.”

Huh. And here I was thinking he’s not really doing anything the other days. Interesting.

8) Maintain a stash of emergency chocolate for parents only. I don’t know why, but this has been more helpful than alcohol for me and Husband. I keep two expensive bars at all times in the freezer and now we sneak in a square or four, in Husband’s case. (Yes I am selling him out. What, he’s not reading this.) In those key moments we need a little encouragement, a little sweetness.

To be continued.