There’s a part of this whole experience that feels like a game or a bloopers and outtakes television program. Sometimes a family comedy with scintillating questions like Will Little Bean stop eating sand before the end of the quarantine? Can mommy think up something for dinner every night? How many days can a person go without a shower? How long can a family avoid cleaning up? How many things can you make with a toilet paper roll? Do kids really need to wear jackets or socks? Does dental hygiene matter? For answers to exciting questions like these and more tune in next time...
But then there is this reality. It’s not a drill. It’s not a game. Every time you get near to someone who isn’t in your quarantine family, you are putting yourself and everyone else at risk. Yesterday my mom lost her job. And who knows when or if it will come back? Borders are closed. Flights are cancelled. It’s been hard to accept this stuff as true–easier to assume it will pass and keep going like nothing has changed. Like all kinds of things in life that need accepting, I seem to need to accept this as reality again and again.
But just in case life was getting to serious, my little ladies made the day special with their usual antics.
Scene 1: Gardening
Me: Weeding dandelions
Big Sister (Indignantly): Mom! Why are you digging up all those pretty flowers?
Me: Well, they are weeds.
Big Sister (Shocked and Offended): Weeds?! They are beautiful flowers. And you always say that I shouldn’t pick the flowers and now you are picking all of them.
Me: That’s true. It’s better that you don’t pick flowers.
Big Sister: And look! There are dirt spots now where the flowers were before.
Me: Well, that’s ok. We can plant some grass in those spots.
Big Sister: Ugh, mommy why do you always make so much work?
This person is four years old. Just saying.
Scene 2: Reading for pleasure
I tell Big Sister that while Little Bean is sleeping I’m going to sit outside in the shade and read a book. I invite her to come along and encourage her to bring a sticker book so that we can sit outside together. She conveniently doesn’t want to get a sticker book and so as we get comfortable outside she begins talking non-stop asking me questions like Do wasps have mouths? I know that bees have mouths but let’s look up whether wasps have mouths or not. Her dialogue continues and I try to get started on The Lighthouse Keeper’s Daughter, a real paper book, given to me by a friend. It was tough to focus with all the conversation so eventually I encouraged her to get a sticker book or something quiet to do. She replied, Oh I’m enjoying doing this. I don’t need something to do.
Scene 3: Sandbox
Little Bean (proudly and emphatically announces): I’m not eating anymore sand. (There is sand on her mouth at the time of the announcement.)
A little while later: Holds shovel up to her mouth and says, Look! See? I’m just pretending.
Then: I don’t want to eat anymore sand.
Me: Well why do you keep eating it then?
Little Bean: I don’t know. (Actually looks perplexed.)
Scene 4: Ice Cream
Big Sister (Shaking head): This ice cream is too cold. Ice cream shouldn’t be like ice. It should not be colder than ice.
Little Bean (Digging around in bowl of ice cream with hot fudge skeptically): No. (shakes head) No. (Shakes head again. Makes a face like you’ve given her overcooked spinach and pushes bowl away.)
They sure keep it interesting.