NAP

NAP

Do you ever take a nap during the day? Or wish you could take one? Ours is no longer a noisy house with kids running round. It’s mostly just me and my husband, so it’s fairly quiet. So these days I often find myself taking an accidental nap. I’m sitting comfortably on the couch, and then mysteriously find myself waking from a little nap.

I remember the days when naps were very important. We have two boys born 20 months apart and when the younger one was a new baby, the older one was still not sleeping all night. In fact we went through a stage when he was awake in the middle of the night for about two hours on a regular basis. I knew I would struggle getting up with two kids, so my husband said he would get up at night with the new baby. Guess what? The baby started sleeping through the night before his older brother.

There was a year or so when they would both take a two hour nap in the afternoon at the same time, or pretty close. How I needed that nap time! Did I use it usefully? Clean house, make meals, do laundry? Nope. I lay on the couch and watched junky soap operas. One Life to Live and General Hospital. Nothing much happened from one episode to the next and that was OK. My body needed a rest and my brain was not interested in being intellectually stimulated.

I had two kids, some of you have more and are coping with all the normal child-rearing fun and drama, plus the added burden of covid-19, perhaps home schooling, perhaps working from home, being stuck inside etc etc.  So give yourself a break if you need it. Take some me time – whether it means watching junky soaps like I did, reading a book, or taking a long bath. The cleaning and laundry can wait.

MACAWS

MACAWS

Did you know Macaws are parrots? They originated in the continent South America. Interesting but fairly random facts. How do I know this and why do I care?

Well, throughout the lockdown I have been organizing weekly quizzes for friends and family. Every Monday night we gather together via a ZOOM meeting and I present them with three rounds of questions. The first is always a general knowledge round, followed by two themed rounds. This week round three was called BIRDS and one question was “Macaws come from which continent?” And now you know the answer!!

This week was also quiz number 10. So this group of people has, more or less, been staying home for at least 10 weeks. Making up quizzes is obviously something I enjoy doing and seems to be appreciated by participants. “Something to look forward to,” “nice family activity” and “fun round” are the kind of comments I get. But now, this same group of people is beginning to venture out a little more as restrictions are being relaxed.

We will do this slowly and carefully. We will remember that we are not out of the woods yet. Covid-19 is still here, and some of us may still get sick. That’s the risk we take and also why we will continue to take precautions when out in public. We will still socially distance, wear our masks and stay away from crowds.

We have all had to learn to do things differently during the lockdown, and it has certainly affected some more than others. Please take care as you begin to socialize and learn to cope with a new reality.

LAUGHTER

LAUGHTER

If there was ever a time humankind needed laughter, it is now, during this pandemic. Every day, on the news, we hear about new cases, deaths, our fight to flatten the curve and the search for a vaccine. The world is a grim place. But we cannot live our lives with only grim thoughts and grim faces.

Our children all know something is wrong. The older ones know exactly what is going on in the world, but for younger children, it’s all a bit much. They understand there is sickness; they know they are staying home. They know they can’t see friends and relatives.

But, as I said, we cannot live our lives with only grim thoughts and grim faces. We need some lightness, fun and laughter to help us get through this difficult time. Our children need to see us happy, laughing and joking with them. We are not being insensitive to current events, but grim thoughts and fear cannot invade every aspect of our lives.

So don’t feel bad – share a joke or two with your family.

LAUGHTER

LAUGHTER

If there was ever a time humankind needed laughter, it is now, during this pandemic. Every day, on the news, we hear about new cases, deaths, our fight to flatten the curve and the search for a vaccine. The world is a grim place. But we cannot live our lives with only grim thoughts and grim faces.

Our children all know something is wrong. The older ones know exactly what is going on in the world, but for younger children, it’s all a bit much. They understand there is sickness; they know they are staying home. They know they can’t see friends and relatives.

But, as I said, we cannot live our lives with only grim thoughts and grim faces. We need some lightness, fun and laughter to help us get through this difficult time. Our children need to see us happy, laughing and joking with them. We are not being insensitive to current events, but grim thoughts and fear cannot invade every aspect of our lives.

So don’t feel bad – share a joke or two with your family.

KNEADING

 

KNEADING

I have noticed that there has been an upsurge of bread making while people are spending more time at home. Supermarket shelves were empty of flour for a while as people thought they needed to stock up, but at least for me, flour is back on the shelves now.

I know some people get enormous pleasure from making bread, from the physical work that goes into kneading the dough. Not me! I am not a bread maker. The only loaf I ever make is a version of the New York Times Almost No-knead Bread. And it truly is almost no-knead – about 15 seconds of kneading, that’s all. What it does take is time. Typically I start it in the evening, and then bake the following morning. It makes fabulous bread – looks artisanal and is nice and crusty. Yum!!

When I was running my preschool, we would occasionally make bread with the children. Together we would measure and mix the ingredients. As teachers, we thought about how to let children knead the dough and still be able to eat the finished product. We would put a piece of dough into a zip lock bag for each child and allow them to knead it that way. It worked quite well and they loved eating bread they had actually made.

If making bread with your children is something you are interested in doing there are many recipes online to help you out. Have fun!

JICAMA

 

JICAMA

I bet no one expected jicama for a J word!

I first came across this word years ago when we were playing one of those games where you had to guess the word from the description/explanation that was given. The problem was, the person who got this word had never heard of it, didn’t know what it was and then when we gave up, didn’t’ know how to pronounce it. (The first sound is H.) The confusion and wild guesses cased a lot of laughter. (It’s a vegetable in case you wondered.)

Do you remember some of the funny things that are funny to your family, but other people wouldn’t understand? Like my elder son said “mulk” for milk when he was very small. And at the age of about 5, my younger son learned the word pathetic, and for quite a while everything was described as “pathetic.” Or the time we were in England for a year, and the 7 year old came home from school telling me they’d been learning about Abraham. He thought it was Abraham Lincoln, but was in fact the Old Testament Abraham, who he’d never heard of before. My “boys” are in their 30s now, but we still laugh and reminisce about these fun times.

So one evening, sit around and tell stories that begin “remember when…”

IMPULSE

IMPULSE

Many people act impulsively – some all the time, others just now and then. Children? Now that’s a different story. I’m sure you remember questioning behavior and its consequences where the answer was on the lines of “I just did it” or “I wasn’t thinking.”

We usually think about bad outcomes of acting on impulse. But there can be some positive outcomes of impulsive behavior – when your kids made you laugh when they said something or did something out of the blue.

I know we are all tired of staying home, and you may have worked really hard to keep a normal “pulse,” to maintain some kind of routine for your family– we all know how much kid thrive on routine. They need to know what to expect rather than every day be some wild ride through who knows what.

If you have been reasonably successful in establishing some kind of coronavirus routine, congratulations! Give yourself a pat on the back – you are doing great. And it is exactly because you have achieved this safe, stable place, that it’s ok to do something different. Something wild even, because your children know that things will go back to normal, that this is a one off, not some new norm where no one knows what will happen next.

So – every now and then – forget your routine and let your hair down. Need some ideas?

  • Decide to have ice cream for breakfast, or pancakes for dinner
  • No one gets dressed all day and everyone chooses a movie to watch
  • Put music on and dance
  • Sing together
  • Take a school day off – announce no school work today
  • Have a picnic lunch in the garden, on the balcony
  • Make a movie together
  • Have a ZOOM meeting with other family members, even people you don’t normally see

Have fun!

HOPE

HOPE

My hopes:

  • That we all survive this pandemic.
  • That we show love to our family as we deal with the situation in different ways.
  • That we are kind – to family, to all those essential workers…
  • That we give if we can. Some of us are struggling financially, for others the stimulus check was a nice bonus.
  • That we come out on the other side of the pandemic as a better person and a better society that will care for everyone.
  • That we all have hope now, and for our future.

GAMES

GAMES

This blog is part of my website for my podcast which is intended for children ages 3-7. So my comments in this “coronavirus alphabet” are mostly, though not exclusively, intended for parents of that age group.

So – GAMES. Games are part of growing up. During this time of staying home, more and more people are dragging out board games, card games, jigsaw puzzles. I would like to address board games and little ones. Have you noticed with very young children that they don’t like rules, or can’t follow them, or seem to bend the rules so they can win? And then you get frustrated? You insist on the rules and the games falls apart.

I have a suggestion – let your youngster make up the rules. After all, if you are playing with a child who is 3 or 4, does it really matter to you who wins? Most children this age cannot follow the rules. Think about games where you roll a die and move your piece that many places. These children have not mastered one to one correspondence so how can they possibly move their game piece to the right place? So they guesstimate where to move it to. It might even be to a square that is a color they like, or has a nice design. They are not cheating. They are trying to play and working out rules for themselves.

If you relax and follow their lead the game will be more fun, you will not get frustrated and you’ll learn a lot about your child’s thinking as they work out how to play their version of the game.

(Of course this will not work with older kids who tend to be sticklers for rules.)