Tag Archives: COVID-19

Initial Game of Things Starting With Two Letters

Just in case the guy on KFAN has got his intellectual property ducks in a row with his Kickstarter thing, I will not refer to this game by the same name he has given his version. Instead, this will be the initial time I "host" a game on this platform with the following rules:

1. I will give you two letters (for example, "K.P"). All the items that week will be a two-word answer in which each word begins with letter in the appropriate spot. The answer can be a person, place, thing, or other two-word phrase. For example, if "K.P." are the letters, then one answer might be Kirby Puckett. Another answer might be "Krakow, Poland." And so on.

2. I will provide six clues for each answer. The clues will be provided one-at-a-time.

3. If you believe you know the answer, make a Spoilered guess in the thread. The point will go to whomever correctly identifies the answer first. If you submit an incorrect response, then you can no longer submit for that particular answer.

4. The participant with the most correct answers at the end of the week wins. (If there is a tie, then I will have tiebreakers for only the participants in the tie.)

5. You're going to be on the honor system, but you should not be using the internet or other resources.

My plan will be to start on Tuesday morning (to give the people who somehow had better things to do on Mother's Day than hang out in this basement a chance to play). Logistically, I see two alternatives.

Option A: I can just have a posts for each answer in this thread (and guesses can be responses to the LTE with the clues). I would give a rough notice as to when clues will be shared.

Option B: You can sign-up in the thread, and then I can send a mass email to all participants with each clue. You can then email me your guesses as to the answer, and I'll let everyone know when someone has guesses correctly. The downside is that hearing other people's incorrect guesses can help someone figure out the answer, so doing it privately can be a little tricky. I guess I prefer Option A, but I'm open to thoughts.

For the first week, there will be ten answers. Going forward, I will try to have twelve per week.

    Results

Phrase One: Gluten Free (Algonad, 2 clues)
Phrase Two: Guy Fieri (Philosofer, 4 clues)
Phrase Three: Grand Forks (Zee German, 3 clues)
Phrase Four: Gopher Football (freealonzo, 4 clues)
Phrase Five: Good Friday (MagUidhir, 1 clue)

Pandemic Parenting

The nice thing about having agreed to write this post is that I have something to do this weekend that doesn’t involve repeatedly checking Twitter and Instagram, trying to send messages to friends but not being able to figure out the phrasing and finally giving up, and staying up too late thinking I’ll get something done but accomplishing nothing.

My kids were on spring break last week and I had four days off, but Friday was rough. To get us through the weekend, I had my kids make schedules (pictured above), which definitely helped in terms of avoiding boredom as well as giving them a sense of control in a situation that’s beyond their control.

If you're looking at the photo of the schedules and thinking they're absurdly detailed, yes, it's true. They're ending up being more of a guide to a sequence of events than something we're following exactly. A long time ago, I remember reading something about the value of following the usual routine during times of crisis. For a kid (especially young kids), the routine provides comfort and helps them know what to expect. So having a set wake-up time and bedtime, having some limits on screen time, having regular mealtimes, getting dressed every day, etc., all have meaning right now.

For those people here who have kids, I imagine the specific things you’re dealing with are different depending on the age of the kid, but it’s all stressful. And for those who don’t have kids, I know many of you still have your own parents to worry about right now.

Highlights of the past couple days include the jalapeño learning to chop vegetables with a chef’s knife and the peperoncino grating his own cheese for a quesadilla. The boys have also done a good number of household chores, and the jalapeño’s room is the cleanest it’s been all year. The jalapeño has also been having FaceTime chats with a 4th grade friend, and they've been both hilarious and adorable. Yet there were also some intense sibling fights and meltdowns.

In some ways, having elementary-age kids is great because it limits how much time I can spend reading about the pandemic. Taking care of my boys’ immediate needs gives me something to focus on and keeps my anxiety levels down. On the other hand, I dearly miss having any sort of time to myself (the boys did very little without a parent all weekend), and I envy the people who seem to be actually accomplishing stuff while staying home. On the other other hand (I have a lot of hands), I recognize how fortunate I am to not be dealing with far more serious problems.

During this next week, teachers in our school district will be working on plans for teaching remotely; we will be going to the school to get a Chromebook for each boy at an assigned pick-up time. Since Mr. NaCl and I will both be working from home (and need to be able to actually get work done), my parents are going to come help. They’re both 70 and in good health, so on the one hand I think they’re happy to stay busy and pitch in. But part of me can’t help wonder if I’m being selfish and irresponsible by accepting their help.

Over the weekend, I did do a very little bit of reading about how to talk to kids about coronavirus, and one of the key takeaways is that it's wise to filter the information they get. It depends, of course, on age of the kid and how sensitive they are, but limiting their access to TV news/press conferences and online sources of info might be wise. I've also told the jalapeño that there are things he might want to talk about that shouldn't be discussed in front of his 6-year-old brother.

By chance, I came across some wise words from a school psychologist. This psychologist said not to be surprised by an increase in behavior issues, including meltdowns, tantrums, and oppositional behavior. This is a normal reaction under the circumstances. (I was very reassured to read this.) They also said not to obsess over kids' progress in school during this time of remote learning or to put too much pressure on kids academically. As parents, our first priority is to do what we can to ensure that our kids feel comforted and loved right now. To quote the psychologist, "How [your kids] felt during this time will stay with them long after the memory of what they did during these weeks is . . . gone."

So how are you feeling?