A dispatch from Alex McGuire, mother of six.
MiniBury: Describe how you’re feeling today.
Alex: Relieved (the kids are done with their schoolwork!)
MiniBury: What is your kids’ relationship with screens these days?
Alex: So much schoolwork is now done on a screen. Prior to the pandemic, our kids were allowed screen time only rarely. We don’t love it, but it’s a necessity right now. We try to balance it with lots of hobbies and outdoor time.
MiniBury: Tell us about a non-screen activity that your kids have enjoyed lately.
Alex: Fishing/boating & hiking/walking are the big outdoor favorites. Indoor hobbies have included: model building, puzzles, movie making, rock polishing, drawing and reading.
MiniBury: Has your family celebrated a special occasion during isolation?
Alex: We have celebrated one son’s 12th birthday. He was sad to miss in-person celebrations with family and friends, but we delivered goody bags with treats and yo-yo’s to his friends and hosted a Zoom party for them to hang out together. And we had a through-the-window visit with local grandparents as well as our household birthday dinner as usual.
MiniBury: What has been the hardest part of this new way of life?
Alex: School at home. Hands down. Especially for our 6 year old.
MiniBury: Any small victories lately?
Alex: All 6 kids are gaining confidence in independent skills. My 8 year old even washed and brushed out my hair today as I am recovering from double carpal tunnel release surgeries yesterday.
MiniBury: What song do you have on repeat these days?
Alex: I’ve listened to a lot of Joan Jett and Mary Chapin Carpenter. Different styles, but both women speak to me these days.
MiniBury: What are you reading/watching?
Alex: I’ve read several interesting books like The Kitchen God’s Wife by Amy Tan and Lost and Wanted by Nell Freudenberger. Plus, rereading favorites with my kids is awesome (Harry Potter, The Inheritance Cycle, Divergent, etc).
MiniBury: What’s your favorite thing you’ve cooked, eaten or imbibed in the last month?
Alex: Early on we comfort baked a lot: sourdough & challah bread, calzones, lemon bars, lots of cookies. Now we are all about simple. Favorite meal for everyone was probably Cubber’s curbside pizza that we brought to Bristol Pond to eat — first takeout after almost two months. Everyone polished off way more than usual.
MiniBury: How have you explained the current situation to your kids?
Alex: Our six kids are ages 5-13. They each are pretty aware of what is going on, particularly as my husband had COVID-19 in late March/early April. He was very sick with what turned into pneumonia. He had a lot of the classic symptoms of high fevers, chills with intense shaking, difficulty breathing, etc. The best info I suggest for other parents is sharing honestly with kids as much as is appropriate to share. Our kids have had hard moments and days, but because each of them understands why we are living this way right now, they are able to cope and be appreciative & compassionate through it.