A dispatch from Willa Abel, mom of three.
MiniBury: In one word, describe how you’re feeling today.
MiniBury: What is your kids’ relationship with screens these days?
Willa: We use screens more consistently than before COVID. Every day we have phone calls with the school, view a few read alouds (either from professionals or family), and almost always have an after dinner “sanity for us, fun for them” viewing of some kind. I am considering some math games online for my five year-old, but haven’t started yet.
MiniBury: Tell us about a non-screen activity that your kids have enjoyed lately.
Willa: My favorite non-screen activity for the family is our daily “explore” outside. We basically just toodle around, listen to birds, throw rocks in ponds, and pick up trash. I try to be as “science-y” as I can (“look kids, the moss is shooting up sporophytes!”) but mostly we just enjoy being outside. The kids would probably say that their favorite activity is bike riding.
MiniBury: Has your family celebrated a special occasion during isolation?
Willa: We had one birthday (mine!). We ate too much, and festively. I was also allowed to hide from the kids for a whole hour, all by myself, which was heaven.
MiniBury: What has been the hardest part of this new way of life?
Willa: I have a lot of personal complaints, large and small: a canceled trip, a lost opportunity to explore professional channels, no access to the field house at the college etc etc etc. It has been amazing, though, to see how quickly these losses have faded into the background of what is actually a really vivid, satisfying daily life. The hardest part is when I leave the safe place of my own home and family and watch how things are playing out on the national stage; then, I am filled with a deep rage that can keep me up through the night.
MiniBury: Any small victories lately?
Willa: My husband and I are running an online experiment on how exposure to different types of role models influences pro-social behavior in the context of the corona crisis. It’s been fun to design and to see the results trickle in. Stay tuned!
MiniBury: What song do you have on repeat these days?
Willa: Kids: Everything Frozen 2; Me: “Zombie” by the Cranberries. Have you listened to it lately? So wonderfully intense!
MiniBury: What are you reading/watching?
Willa: I am reading The Secret Commonwealth by Phillip Pullman.
MiniBury: What’s your favorite thing you’ve cooked, eaten or imbibed in the last month?
Willa: We made black bean burgers today that rocked. The daily G&T and the occasional take-out cocktail from the Arcadian are also essential.
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