The Quarantimes Week 11: What We Tell Them

May 29th, 2020


A friend asked what we’ve been telling our kids about the quarantimes. That’s a really good question. I don’t have a particular method to the madness, to tell you the truth. I don’t have time to watch, read, and listen to all the countless sage nuggets of wisdom sent my way on the matter, and even if I did, the usual advice doesn’t ever work on my kids. Also, I sincerely just cannot spend one more minute on a screen researching best practice.

For a while I referred to it as “The Sickness,” thinking that was a good way to simplify it for small children. But that got creepy and quickly dystopian when they started saying things like “Where did the sickness come from?” and “Will The Sickness ever be gone?” 

Then I started calling it “a really bad flu that’s going around,” explaining that we are staying home from school and away from other people in order to stay healthy and keep other people healthy. I said that “everyone is doing this right now, except people who have to go to work because people depend on them to do their jobs.”

“Like Daddy?”

Yes, like Daddy, which brings up questions of whether Daddy is safe. So I’ve had to backtrack on the messaging about this “terrible, really bad flu” and make it sound like not such a big deal after all. We might get it, and we’ll be fine, is what I say, possibly lying through my teeth.


Lately I have been explicitly calling it coronavirus or COVID-19 because they are eventually going to hear these terms from other kids and people. I don’t want them any more confused than I’ve already made them. 

I did play the podcast episode “Coronavirus For Kids, And The Science Of Soap” from But Why in the car the other day, and they listened, mouths slightly open, for a good 15 minutes. They had a few questions, then went back to playing with their wooden train cars.

Honestly, they’re not that interested. They are thriving right now and do not miss school or other people. They’re the right age, and we live in the right place. They spend most of their time outside, and when they’re inside, they make up elaborate games and do lots of creative stuff. They’re kind of living the dream of introverted identical twins, if I’m being honest. (And if I’m being really honest, as I have written about plenty, there is also lots of cat torture and garden mauling.)

Of course, this is not a viable long-term scenario. For one thing, I can only work full-time if they are in school, and I need to work full-time. For another, I can’t let them get entirely feral and unsocialized. At some point, they need to remember that other people exist.


Not that this is related… but maybe it is. Right now they’re favorite “mean” thing to call each other is butler. Get it? Butt-ler?

Clearly we do not have a butler, nor do they have any idea what a butler is. They probably heard this word on a cartoon. Point is, we may need some exposure to other people and cultures soon.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

What I’m reading:

This Facebook post by a woman in a mixed-race relationship who worries about jogging in front of her husband in case someone might see a black man chasing a white woman. As the ever-articulate Ibram Kendi put it, “You’re either racist or anti-racist.”

The Unschooling Handbook — food for thought

What I’m eating:

Now that I am easing back into working in my office in town at least once a week, I’m getting lunch at The Vermont Table and want to shout from the rooftops how much I love their burritos! You order online and pay with a card. They bring you your order at a table outside. Zero contact. People in Brattleboro are really respectful of the distancing, and for that I am grateful. 

What I’m working on:

I recently helped a small design and development studio in Stockholm create some snazzy jazzy new website copy. The site just launched:


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