Friday, March 27, 2020

Parenting During a Pandemic

As a parent, part of your job is keeping your children safe. If I could, I would wrap my kids in bubble wrap to cushion their falls.

But one thing I never worried about was a global pandemic. Now I'm struggling to balance my anxiety with trying to keep my kids occupied.

Yesterday, I tried to muster up interest in the backyard swing set -- now that all playgrounds are wrapped with police tape in Denver. "Mommy, can I sit on the swing? Does it have germs?" my four-year-old asked.

Then she nervously took my hand when we took the dog for a walk. "I'm not sure if we should do this," she said. I tried to explain to her that we were still allowed to leave the house to go for walks

I thought I was doing a good job of explaining to her why we couldn't see grandma for a while. Of why preschool is closed. Of why one person has to go to the grocery store instead of the whole family.

Yesterday, as the US became the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic, I seemed to have faltered as well. Today, I'm going to take a break from reading the coronavirus body count.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, keeping calm is key. "Remember that children will react to both what you say and how you say it. They will pick up cues from the conversations you have with them and with others," the CDC said in guidelines on its website.

Here are some other parenting tips from experts:

  • How to Calmly Explain the Coronavirus to Your Kids
  • Tips for handling work and kids during COVID-19 isolation
  • How to talk to children about the coronavirus
  • Do you have any tips to share about talking to your children about the coronavirus?

    Nina Snyder is the author of "ABCs of Balls," a children's picture book that makes learning the alphabet fun for toddlers. Follow her on Twitter @nsnyder_writer.

    Tuesday, March 24, 2020

    Trying Not to Panic at Stay-at-Home Order

    A stay-at-home order for Denver residents starts today at 5 p.m. due to the coronavirus. I'm trying not to panic. I support it as this right thing to do, and yet, it has finally hit home that my life is going to to be drastically different in the next couple of months.

    We have been staying at home as much as possible, but my two children don't always understand why we are home so much. School is out for at least a month, and most likely the rest of the year.

    Yesterday, I took them to a deserted playground to let off steam. We also visited grandma's house.

    But now, the playgrounds are closing at 5 p.m. And now grandma says it would be probably better if we stayed away. I'm sure both decisions are the right thing to do, but I have no Plan B.

    The order allows people to go outside and exercise, as long as social distancing is maintained. But my elderly dog is already sick of walks. She hides from me when I try to go for walks.

    Please don't inundate me with emails about flattening the curve. I want to flatten the curve. I just don't know how to keep my sanity while doing it.

    Nina Snyder is the author of "ABCs of Balls," a children's picture book that makes learning the alphabet fun for toddlers. Follow her on Twitter @nsnyder_writer

    Thursday, March 12, 2020

    Let's Do the Corona Cancel

    As coronavirus fears sweep the nation, let's do our part and hibernate. I canceled lunch with a former coworker on Friday, which would have involved taking public transportation and eating in a crowded restaurant.

    It's 2020, for God's sake. We don't have a health care system in the US that's remotely prepared for a pandemic, but we do have Netflix. We don't have a president who even understands what a virus is, but we do have the technology that lets some of us work from home.

    My children are on Spring Break next week, and we idly talked about taking a trip. Now it's Corona Cancel time. We're going to stay home and do crafts until our fingers ache and our dining room table is completely coated in glue and glitter.

    Now is the time to embrace the aspects of American life that are so often denigrated. Let's embrace the drive-thru. We don't have to go into a restaurant to eat. We can avoid social contact and still receive delicious food.

    Let's live all our life on Facebook. We don't have to ever talk to each other in person again. Forget "Bowling Alone." Let's try existing for the next four weeks without face-to-face contact.

    Just practice with me.

    "I can't make it. I have to Corona Cancel."

    Nina Snyder is the author of "ABCs of Balls," a children's picture book that makes learning the alphabet fun for toddlers. Follow her on Twitter @nsnyder_writer.

    Saturday, February 29, 2020

    Everyone Needs a Little Encouragement

    Sometimes everyone needs a little encouragement. Today at the library, I wandered upstairs to the bathroom because one of the quirks of my favorite library is there are no restrooms for adults on the first floor.

    As I walked past a meeting room on the second floor, there were a flock of young women dressed in black in a standing-room only meeting. Because I'm old and cynical, I assumed it was a a meeting of the anonymous variety.

    However, as I'm in the bathroom washing my hands, a young woman nervously shares that it's a casting call. She's slender and blonde, with an enviable pair of peep-toe high heels.

    She's fidgeting with her outfit, and seems very nervous. I assure that she looks great and that she'll blow them away. Then I wish her luck one more time, and head back down to rejoin the normal library patrons.

    Now if only I could send myself some of that same positive energy as I sit down to apply for a writing opportunity that seems like a complete long shot. Everyone needs a little encouragement, but it's easier to encourage other people than myself!

    Nina Snyder is the author of "ABCs of Balls," a children's picture book that makes learning the alphabet fun for toddlers. Follow her on Twitter @nsnyder_writer.

    Wednesday, January 8, 2020

    My Achievable New Year's Resolutions

    According to the American Psychological Association, making New Year's resolutions can help you focus on a goal, but only if you start small. The association recommends making resolutions that you can actually keep.

    Every year, I resolve to lose 20 pounds and get my novel published. Every single year. This year, however, I am starting small with my scaled-down New Year's resolutions that are completely achievable.

    1. Listen to the whole song on the radio when it's my favorite.
    2. Go for a walk when the weather is nice.
    3. Savor the first sip of coffee in the morning.
    4. Hug my children more even if they moan and groan about it.
    5. Start playing my guitar again instead of letting it collect dust in the corner.

    Also, I would hereby like to start New Year's resolutions about a week into the New Year so everyone has enough time to really think over their resolutions. I think it's best to ease into the New Year instead of jumping in all at once.

    What are your New Year's resolutions for 2020?

    Nina Snyder is the author of "ABCs of Balls," a children's picture book that makes learning the alphabet fun for toddlers. Follow her on Twitter @nsnyder_writer.

    Thursday, December 12, 2019

    Quiz: Are You Gandalf or Martha Stewart?

    Image by Beth Lowell from Pixabay
    With the holiday season upon us, it's important to figure out your decorating style -- especially with all the pine cones falling on the ground for endless inspiration.
     
    1. Why did you light that pine cone on fire? 
    A. To scare off orcs attacking in the forest
    B. To add the perfect touch to a Christmas centerpiece

    2. Neutral colors such as gray and white are perfect for... 
    A. Robes and pointy hats
    B. Bed linens and towels

    3. Why are you carving that driftwood? 
    A. For a distaff
    B. For a fruit bowl

     4. What was the low point of your career? 
    A. Dying after battling the Balrog
    B. Prison after battling the SEC

    5. Who is your celebrity crush? 
    A. Cate Blanchett
    B. Christian Bale

    6. How many grandchildren do you have? 
    A. None, unless you count the Hobbits
    B. Two

    7. What is your favorite inspirational quote? 
    A. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.
    B. If you learn something new every day, you can teach something new every day.

    Mostly A's - Congratulations! You are Gandalf the White, one of the most powerful wizards in Middle-earth.
    Mostly B's - Congratulations! You are Martha Stewart, one of the most powerful lifestyle gurus on Earth.

    Nina Snyder is the author of "ABCs of Balls," a children's picture book that makes learning the alphabet fun for toddlers. Follow her on Twitter @nsnyder_writer.

    Wednesday, December 4, 2019

    Column: When Your Side Hustle Becomes a Side Hassle

    After four months of working for DoorDash, I have thrown in the towel on my side hustle. At some point, it became more of a hassle no matter how hard I hustled. The last day, I drove four hours for a grand total of $44, which works out to $11 per hour -- which happens to be even less than $11.10 an hour minimum wage in Colorado.

    Once I factored in the mileage driven and taxes I would have to pay, it ended up being significantly less than minimum wage. I'm not sure who is making money from the gig economy, but it's not the gig workers. DoorDash's current pay model is to pay drivers $2 per delivery, but they charge both the diner and the restaurant for the privilege of delivery.

    At some point, I hope DoorDash's model runs out of gas, but I'm afraid there are enough drivers who will give it a try for a couple of months to see if they can make any money. DoorDash is basically depending on a gullible crop of gig workers to do their leg work for less than minimum wage.

    Perhaps someone out there has managed to make money at DoorDash or other delivery services. If so, let me know! I didn't drive late at night for safety reasons, but perhaps some hardy souls out there are scooping up the tips during the midnight hours. Somehow I doubt it, however.

    Nina Snyder is the author of "ABCs of Balls," a children's picture book that makes learning the alphabet fun for toddlers. Follow her on Twitter @nsnyder_writer.