Things are crazy right now. Even more crazy than typical American parenthood. I expect it will all settle down to “normal” once we have a good vaccine and actually get it out to everyone. Sometime in 2021, I suspect. Until then, some of you with young children are in a really, really, really tough spot. If you have someone vulnerable to Covid in your family, as do I and some of my closest friends, then you may find yourself in a prolonged cloister with young kids.
This is a sure recipe for DDD Syndrome. Desperation, Despair, and Depression Syndrome. You won’t find this “syndrome” in any mental health texts…but what do they know! Fortunately for you, I have several treatments to offer for DDD Syndrome.
Treatment #1 for Covid induced DDD Syndrome:
Baking. It doesn’t matter if it comes from a box or is produced “from scratch.” Just bake it. Eat it. Give it to your kids. Think of it as Covid vitamins. A whole new food group that helps everyone survive the pandemic.
If your baking involves chocolate or cinnamon or frosting, all the better. It’s important that it appeals to both little kiddies and to household grown-ups. If that seems contradictory in your home then remember that you can bake for adults and just add a huge layer of frosting to make it “kid friendly.”
It can come from a pre-made tub of brand named sugar topping…the kids will be quite happy…as will many of you “frosting eaters” out there. I’m a cake person myself. I scrape off the frosting and offer it around while I go back for a second slice of the cakiness.
If you fear that all this baking is excessive then remember that our ancestors used to bake every day! It’s true. I’m sure. Apple pies, cakes, biscuits, pancakes, steamy buttered rolls…all used to be the daily mark of a family well provided for.
In addition, if you’re really feeling guilty you could use this as an “learning activity” with the kids. In the future they will need to have the skills to provide and care for themselves. What better skill to teach than how to cook comfort food! Bake. Eat. Share.
Treatment #2 for Covid induced DDD Syndrome:
Turn on the cartoons or give the kiddos a device and walk out of the room. Unfortunately, this only works if your kids are old enough to have a shred of attention span. But, if that includes two out of your three kids then it’s still a win!
If you’re purely in the infant stage then TV may not offer much for engaging your babes. However, television and other electronics are not only therapeutic for children. Adults can also benefit from their many charms.
If you find yourself descending into DDD Syndrome then go to Youtube and watch “funny animal videos” or “acts of kindness” or “epic wins.” It’s kinda like crack, but with slightly fewer unhealthy side effects. At the very least, you can get yourself a little dose of happiness hormones and laughter endorphins.
Remember too that daytime TV is not what it was in days past when there was nothing on but soap operas. (Wow, now I’m really dating myself.) You can now daytime binge watch Space Force, Battle Creek, and the Great British Baking Show…while slipping bits of brownie into your two year old’s mouth…and still be considered a “great” parent! Hey, if it staves off parental DDD Syndrome then it’s good for the kids too.
If you become desperate for a non-news related grown-up topic then you can always watch documentaries. Under the cover of Covid, daytime TV becomes resourceful survival instead of lackadaisical laziness. Might as well take advantage of the times.
Treatment #3 for Covid induced DDD Syndrome:
Maybe not too much alcohol. Maybe. Just a little. As a medical professional, I have cared for people who have drunk themselves to death with alcohol. So, I’m genuinely cautious on this one.
It seems all fun and “good spirted” for parents to break out the beer or wine when hanging out and debriefing over their parenting travails. But for some, too much can easily become a habit and lead to more and more.
If you find yourself reaching for more than one average size drink a day then it’s time to stop for a six month alcohol break. You can revisit the issue after that. And no, you cannot wait for Covid to be over.
If you’re the kind of person who has a drink twice a month then moving up to once a week is not going to be an issue for you. But I do suggest parents under a lot of stress keep a lid on too much alcohol. Sorry to be such a party pooper on that one, but we’re already losing people to this coronavirus we don’t need to up the ante with newly minted stress induced alcoholics.
Treatment #4 for Covid induced DDD Syndrome:
Human contact. It’s a good thing. Get a text group of friends going and text every day about your successes and struggles. It’s hard to call everyone everyday but it’s amazing how much that contact with friends can help. Pick one person a day to actually call and have a conversation with. You may think the texting is enough, but once you actually shoot the shit and laugh with your friends you’ll realize how much better it is to really talk with them.
Treatment #5 for Covid induced DDD Syndrome:
Get out of the house. Even those of you with the best of hibernation skills are going to need to get a bit of sunshine at some point. And children have this need to run. Preferably in the sun, wind, or rain.
Snow play sounds good, but it involves all this bundling up in snowsuits and mittens and boots and then they can’t move so they come right back in all fussy. Or if your kids are older they insist on wearing knit gloves in wet snow and freeze their hands into painful popsicles and come back in crying that their hands hurt. So, you’ll need to be in a strong place emotionally before you embark on Covid era snow play.
But otherwise, find an empty field and let the kids run for a bit. Scream for a bit. Get in a stream and get wet for a bit. Obviously this is harder to do if you live in a city. If that’s the case then consider sending them to live with someone in the country. People have been doing that for wars and epidemics for as long as we’ve had wars and epidemics.
Treatment #6 for Covid induced DDD Syndrome:
Be glad you’re not raising babies in a war zone. Many people are losing loved ones to Covid, but at least we don’t have bombs falling on our children’s heads.
Treatment #7 for Covid induced DDD Syndrome:
Let go and go with the flow. There’s a lot of parenting stuff that you just can’t control right now. And truthfully, “parental control” is really all just a grand illusion. Now that I think about it, that’s one of the main parenting themes of this book. Ease up on attempts to keep everything in control because you don’t really have control anyway. Parenting 101, ta da!
Treatment #8 for Covid induced DDD Syndrome:
If you have a dog, scatch her belly until her leg wiggles. If your children are over three then have them scratch the dogs belly while you watch your kids laugh. Dogs are often game for a fair amount of embarrassment. You can let the kids dress them up and put goofy hats on them and many a doggy dog will be okay with it. They seem to understand it’s all meant in good fun and they are game for a good bit of play. But do keep an eye out and make sure the kids aren’t truly torturing the poor critter.
If you only have cats then you’ll need to be even more cautious. Watching your cat fall backwards off the sofa while chasing the laser dot may make you laugh, but many cats will retaliate. If you’re lucky it’ll just be a kitty cold shoulder, however, you may also wake at 4 am to the same cat sitting on your face. Remember, you’ll need to get along with this cat for the foreseeable confinement. Maybe settle for petting their soft fur in exchange for a bit of soothing purr.
And finally, treatment #9 for Covid induced DDD Syndrome:
Velvet paintings. Yeah, I know, most of you don’t remember the days of curb side stands selling large velvet paintings of Elvis or fully framed velvet paintings of nature scenes. They seemed to be on every corner in my youth. Who would ever imagine that these neon bright atrocious roadside attractions would become a Covid savior. Life is full of strangeness.
I discovered the more modern version of velvet paintings while cruising the aisles of a craft store in pre-Covid times. (Hmmm, that would be about 6 months P.C.) On display were magic markers and black and white pictures you color in. To me they looked interesting, but kinda finicky and maybe a bit laborious.
And then I saw them. Black and white color-in-posters where the black part was velvet! Which quite frankly makes it much easier to stay in the lines when you color them.
I have since discovered that you can go on-line and order “velvet posters” or “fuzzy art” in an endless variety of subjects and difficulties. There are kittens and monster trucks for kids and swirly koi or graphic patterns for adults.
I know, I know you’re wondering if I went off the deep end. But really, they are fun and mindless. You just play with colors and work on it here and there, now and then. You can do it. The kids can do it. And in the end you get this wonderfully bright thing laced with cheap velvet that goes with nothing in your house…so you order another one and more makers. Remember, not everything in life needs to be a great accomplishment.
If you are suffering from DDD Syndrome then consider a velvet poster and a bright pack of magic markers. I’m sure art therapists everywhere will condone the practice, so we can call it legit.
Alrighty, now that I have covered everything a parent needs to know to survive During Covid (D.C.) confinement with young kids, we can move on to some of the everyday issues that may have concerned you Pre-Covid (P.C.). All of which likely continue to be issues for parents During Covid (D.C.) and will probably be even more thought provoking Post-Covid (Hmmm, that would be P.C. too…bit of a problem there.) Any way, more help to come.
Remember, No Parent is an Island!