I’m lying in bed with my five-year-old in his dark bedroom. It’s a typical night. I’m wedged up against the red plastic side of his race car bed, face down with my face squashed against a fuzzy Black Panther pillow.
My son is resting comfortably in the middle of the bed on his boring, non-fuzzy pillow. His legs splayed out and his arm draped across my back.
These are our traditional bedtime positions. All is going according to custom until he remembers the images of a crashed helicopter he saw on the television a half-hour before.
“You know, it’s okay,” he says into the darkness. …
It was a strange winter break in the Knott household for several reasons I can’t really get into on the internet. There was the pandemic, of course, that limited our normal holiday festivities, but more unexpected events made the two weeks off school even more unusual.
I’m not going to lie. The whole Christmas to New Year and beyond period feels like a blur. I’m not sure what, if anything, happened on any single day during that time. I typically feel sad about the holidays ending — not so much because I like them but because it’s another reminder of the passage of time — yet I couldn’t even muster a very strong post-holiday depression this year. …
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Funny stuff only, please. Nothing that will make us cry. …
There’s not a lot going on right now, but that doesn’t mean my family can’t still enjoy some of our favorite seasonal pastimes like trimming the Christmas tree, counting down to Santa’s arrival, and riding bikes around the neighborhood and loudly critiquing everyone’s decorating choices.
Amidst the December doldrums, the announcement of a holiday decoration contest by our neighborhood HOA certainly sent a frisson of excitement through our household.
My children are enamored with decorations anyway, but the prospect of a cash prize just for filling our yard with more inflatable monstrosities dialed up their excitement level to an eleven. …
Most of my time these days is spent trying to figure out how to pass the time.
The pandemic has never been worse, so I feel even more compelled to stay home. Taking the kids outside to parks or playgrounds feels like it should be relatively safe, but since at least half of the community where I live has never taken the virus seriously and still doesn’t, I never feel comfortable.
Either I’m worried about exposure to the virus or my social anxiety kicks in because I feel like people are judging me for being the only person wearing a mask and for making my kids wear theirs. …
TEACHER: Good morning, friends! It’s so great to see all your sweet faces on this…
[Screeching feedback sound]
TEACHER: Hmm, not sure what that noise is. Make sure you’re on mute, please. Ethan, honey, can you please put your…
ETHAN: I lost a tooth!
TEACHER: That’s fantastic! Now can you put yourself on mute? Perfect! Anna, do you have a question?
ANNA: (Talking on mute)
TEACHER: Unmute yourself first, Anna. We can’t hear you, sweetie.
[30 seconds later]
ANNA: I lost two teeth!
TEACHER: Outstanding! Now let’s get started with our math lesson for today. Jamal, I see you’re raising your hand. If you also lost a tooth give me a thumbs up. You did! …
I’ve resisted writing much of anything the past couple of months because I knew if I was going to write anything during this impossible time, it was probably going to be about distance learning. And who really wants to read one more word about that?
Oh well. I’m raising the white flag. I feel like I should write something to document my existence during the weirdest October ever, and since the only note I left myself in my writing file during the last six weeks is now the completely indecipherable “Chef Boyardee Pizza?”, it has to be distance learning.
Nine weeks into the school year, we’ve pretty well established our routine. Each of the boys have their own schedules that don’t line up at all, really, so sometimes both of them are on the computer doing live class and sometimes one is on and the other is on break. …
One night recently during the stuffed animal puppet show my 6-year-old makes me do with him at bedtime several nights a week, I created a back story for one of his main stuffies — Rainbow Owl.
My son asked me to do a monologue with Rainbow Owl because that was the only way he would be able to fall asleep, obviously. That might sound like an unlikely request, but I’ve heard much more unlikely ones from him so I just went with it.
I put my classic Rainbow Owl voice on and I made the owl say that he used to be a snowy white owl, but he flew through a rainbow and it changed his color. …
“Everything that gets near you dies because, at your core, you are a cold, black pit of death. I hope one day you can find happiness.”
That was the text message from my ex-girlfriend that convinced me it was time to join the East Thompsonville Fifth Sector Garden Club.
And so, it began. The horticultural phase of my existence. Yes, there was only one way to prove that not “everything that gets near [me] dies.” And that one way, of course, was to become a master gardener. …
It’s been a common refrain since the pandemic started that we’re all in this together. This sentiment has become even stronger recently in my area where schools are slated to re-open this month for in-person or online learning at parents’ discretion.
But the unfortunate truth is we’re not in this together at all.
We have hardly taken our children out to any public places since March. Have we been perfect with our precautions? Absolutely not.
But we do try to minimize risk and we are always considerate of others.
The kids haven’t really asked to go anywhere. They’ve been remarkably okay with everything, but they finally begged to go to a playground one morning last week. It was very early on a weekday, so I agreed we could try under a few conditions. …