Keeping the kids busy hasn’t been terribly hard. Keeping them from engaging in periodic sibling head-butting is the main issue, though they’ve shown remarkable restraint (why is restraint always remarkable?) and have yet to bludgeon, guillotine, or otherwise massacre each other. As mentioned, until their school sets up tele-classes, or what have you, we’ve given them a loose educational schedule involving worksheets, reading time, art classes, and phys ed (“GO OUTSIDE, DAMMIT!”). It’s not always easy to mind them while keeping on top of emails from work and meetings, and the various teaching, editing, proofing, copywriting, and podcasting tasks that come along. Fortunately, they’re both old enough to occupy themselves. Yes, as I said, there’s the occasional scuffle, born out of boredom, usually starting as wacky hijinks but quickly devolving into lizard-brain screaming and pushing. Mostly though, they’ve been a dream.
They’re lucky they don’t have a social media presence yet. Beyond what I say about them, of course, though I try to keep the pictures and accounts of their lives to a minimum because their lives are their lives. What I mean though is that they have the barest awareness of what’s going on right now. We aren’t keeping them in the dark, and certainly their teachers have talked about what’s been happening. But I doubt the gravity of the situation has really hit them. So far Flynn seems perfectly content, but like her father she prefers to be home. Nate was a little depressed the other night, and when we asked what was up he got teary-eyed and said he missed his friends mostly. He’s been able to play games and chat with his buddies Ike and Francisco via FaceTime, but I imagine that’s not enough. We consoled and promised him that when this is all over—quickly, quickly, and may we all be safe and healthy—he’s going to see celebrations like you wouldn’t believe. And surely, he can have all his pals over for game night or whatever he’d like.
That’s an ongoing challenge with kids and acclimating them to social isolation, particularly if they’re pretty social. You have to make it all seem normal, but at the same time you have to throw in a surprise or adventure once in a while. We told Nate and Flynn they could camp out in the living room tonight, which is little more than sleeping bags in front of the fireplace. They were all for it though there was one trade-off. I had to sit in the easy chair nearby, in the dark, while they drifted off. Living rooms are scary places after hours, don’t you know? No problem. I sat and socialized my media, wrote up the early part of this post, and plotted for tomorrow while they sailed off to hushabye mountain. One more day down. How many more months to go? Sigh.