QUAIL

QUAIL

Quail are such fun birds. The males dorky with their little head tufts, and the babies – adorable little bundles of fluff.

A couple of years ago standing at the kitchen sink looking out the window, I noticed a male quail bobbing around and then disappearing into an overgrown flowerbed. Over the next few days, I saw both male and female come and go, so I decided to investigate. I approached the flowerbed cautiously, from the side, and gently moved an overhanging branch aside, and disturbed the mama quail that flew off and really shouted at me. I left quickly, not sure who was more surprised. I worried that she would not return, but she did and all was well. I was hoping to be able to see the baby quail. On a Saturday morning I thought I could see some movement from the nest, which was becoming more visible as the vegetation became more and more dried up, and decided to check on the nest when we got back from the farmer’s market. However, by then, everyone had left. I counted 18 eggshells!!

But quail also means to cringe in fear of something. And I do – I inwardly cringe, or quail, at things I see and hear around me. People seem to forget (or don’t believe, or don’t care) that we are still in the midst of a pandemic. A close friend told me about friends of theirs, both in their 70s, diagnosed with covid. She was doing fine; he, not so good. Still exhausted several weeks on. But what was most shocking was the number of their contacts. In the week prior to diagnosis, they had been in contact (less than 6 feet for 15 minutes plus) with 70 people. 70 people!!!

Since March I have been in close contact (less than 6 feet for 15 minutes plus) with 2 people, both of whom I live with. If I can do it why can’t they??

Meanwhile the numbers go up.

PERPLEXED

P for PERPLEXED

I had this notion when I started this pandemic alphabet that I would be writing about fun things parents could do with their little ones whilst stuck at home. My website blog is full of activities that are great for young children – mostly gleaned from the years of having my own preschool. But this pandemic, with its social distancing feels like it has been going on for EVER, and I understand that we are all tired of being at home. In my community, we have been very lucky with few cases and no deaths. Stores and restaurants began to re-open and there was light at the end of the tunnel. However, a group in town decided to have a get-together 1,000 strong with no masks and no social distancing. Members of this group obviously work in the community and now we have more cases and restaurants are closing again. Our Mayor decreed that everyone will wear masks in public where social distancing is not possible and also wear masks in stores. I am perplexed at the attitude of some of our community, refusing to wear masks, refusing to socially distance and asserting their rights to meet with whoever they want in groups both big and small.

To me, wearing a mask when out and about is such a small thing to do to help protect EVERYONE. Indeed I feel it is my civic duty to do so. But until others choose to do the same we will have to live and die with COVID until there is an effective vaccine. So I remain perplexed…

OUTRAGE

OUTRAGE

I have been quite careful to be non-political with my website and social media accounts related to my website. After all, I engage in social media on behalf of my podcast to attract people with little kids to my website in the hope they will love my podcast and buy a subscription.

But this week, I find myself outraged at the behavior of police and politicians, in particular the president. Kneeling on a man’s neck and killing him, or ordering clearing a path through peaceful protestors using violence in order to create a photo opportunity brings people, including me, to a boiling point. And that is why we have protests. We are outraged.

Talking about race and discrimination is difficult and something many of us shy away from. But I would like to share the heart-felt words of a friend with you. It is never too early or too late to talk about race.

“When my 7 year old child is told by your child “I don’t usually like black people but I like you.” 7 is not too early to talk to your child about race. When my 8 year old child is told by your child that “You don’t really belong here- your skin is too dark,” 8 is not too early to talk to your child about race. When my 10 year old child is regularly called the “N-word” by your child, 10 is not too early to talk to your child about race. When your 7, 8, 9, 10, & 11 year olds cannot keep their hands off my child’s hair at 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, and on- even after being asked multiple times to stop- 7, 8, 9, 10, or 11 is not too early to talk to your child about race. When my 16 year old son is old enough to drive and be out with your children, it is not too late to talk to your child about race.

Some of us don’t have a choice about how early we have to talk to our children about race. If you do…do it early and do it often. Those of us that don’t thank you.”

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!