This week in parenting: July 3rd, 2020

Hamilton cast on stage

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Assisted living residents looking for quarantine pen pals. The Victorian Senior Care, a retirement and assisted living home in Asheboro, NC, has a pen pal program for seniors who haven’t been able to see visitors during Covid-19. SEE

Hamilton movie goes live! Hamilton the movie, a recording of a live performance of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s acclaimed musical about founding father Alexander Hamilton, will hit Disney+ on July 3rd at 3am EST. PREVIEW


We’ve been sharing your pandemic-inspired stories on our Facebook page and on our site. Here is one of those posts:

Thank You for the Unicorns

Every weekday morning for the past few months, I have packed my one- and three- year-olds into the double stroller and pushed them up two steeps hills and several blocks to see what is usually two empty plastic Adirondack chairs. Occasionally, seated in these chairs are one or two giant stuffed unicorns, to whom I feel deep gratitude during this period of isolation.

“Checking on the unicorns” is what has gotten my three-year-old daughter dressed and out of the house every morning. With no school, camp, play dates, or plans, I have no logical answer for why she needs to get ready and go for a walk other than that I selfishly and desperately need to get out of the house. I need these 30 minutes. I get a break from pulling my one-year-old down from chairs and stopping him from eating dirt. I get time off from coming up with the next activity and serving or cleaning the seemingly constant stream of snacks and meals. My son is happily and safely strapped in his stroller seat and my daughter is either in hers or walking calmly next to me. I get some fresh air and exercise (thanks, hills). I can’t explain this to my daughter every morning, but I can suggest that we go check on the unicorns.

Even when they are not there, those empty chairs are not a disappointment. We talk about what the unicorns might be doing. Are they sleeping in? Maybe they’re brushing their teeth or getting ready. They could be playing in the backyard or gardening. Probably, we often decide, they’re still eating. (According to my daughter, unicorns eat magic for breakfast.) We talk for blocks about the unicorns and check again on our way back just in case they went out for a sit while we weren’t looking (they didn’t). By this point, we are all just happy to be out for a walk. True to their magic, these unicorns turn what could be an argument about putting on shoes into a shared topic of conversation that my daughter and I can bond over each morning.

I don’t know the neighbors who put out the unicorns. I’ve seen someone there a few times and tried to say thank you and explain how much we like their fuzzy friends, shouting from across the street while huffing up the hill. However, I’m sure it didn’t do justice to the impact that they have had on our daily routine these past few months. It’s a mystery to me why they put them out on a very quiet corner of our town. Maybe it’s for their own family or perhaps for other kids to enjoy. Either way, I am so grateful that we happened upon these creatures on one of their rare days out on our obscure walking route.

There are so many people to thank during this time—frontline healthcare workers, teachers, and essential workers helping to keep society churning. I count myself lucky that I don’t need to leave my house to go to an office, hospital, or make deliveries. I appreciate those who do and try to explain all the helpers to my daughter as we pass “Thank You” signs on front lawns. I also want her to know that there are helpers of all kinds and that little acts of kindness can be impactful. Starting each day at home with two very young children is its own small feat. For their part, I’m adding two giant stuffed unicorns to my personal list of pandemic heroes. And, of course, the neighbors who put them out and feed them magic for breakfast.—By Emily Zicherman

(Tasty recipes for families)

Tomato, Nectarine & Mozzarella salad. A fresh, summery twist on the traditional caprese salad. (Full recipe here.)


Hunger, by Roxane Gay. A searingly raw memoir about what it’s like to live as a ‘morbidly obese’ person in a world that is not built to accommodate, or tolerate, such bodies. Gay chronicles, with great candor and insight, how the compuslive eating that developed in response to a traumatic sexual assault at twelve-years-old has gone on to shape her life. This book will speak to anybody who is struggling to come to terms with the limitations of their own body.

(Advice & tips from some of your favorite parenting experts) 

Q: Should schools open in the fall?

A: The American Academy of Pediatrics has released new guidelines with advice about re-opening schools, and is encouraging students to be physically present in school as much as possible. “So much of our world relies on kids being in school and parents being able to work,” says Dr. Sean O’Leary, a pediatrics infectious disease specialist and co-author of the new guidelines. Another issue is that trying to work from home with the kids at home is a situation that is disproportionately impacting women.

There are things we know now that we didn’t know back when the virus began to spread. For one, masks do work. As does social distancing. Experts are optimistic that schools will be able to create a safe environment for students and staff members alike, keeping in mind the risk and comfort level of each individual person. NYT

(& other interesting facts)
  • Koalas sleep for 22 hours a day.
  • Hydrangeas change color (except for the white ones) based on the chemistry of the soil—alkaline soil produces pinker colored flowers, while acidic soil produces blue-colored ones.
  • “Irregardless” is in fact a word in the dictionary. SEE

Dr. Clare Wenham, a professor of global health policy at the London School of Economics, was explaining local lockdowns to BBC viewers, when her daughter crashed the live interview. Ironically, she is the co-author of the article ‘Covid-19 is an opportunity for gender equality within the workplace and at home.’ WATCH

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