Ezra and Ike both attend a small after school art program on Thursdays. They adore it. Ezra's the only fifth grader (and thus the oldest), and his art is routinely heaped with praise from the teacher and gets rapt, awed wonder from a pack of kindergartner fangirls. He goes for more realism with a ton of hidden details, while Ike has more of a pop art aesthetic with lots of plays on color and proportion. Obviously, they are both artistic geniuses, but I am really running out of places to hang their masterpieces, week after goddamn week.
Last Thursday, the teacher asked everyone to draw a tableau of "things you need if you have the flu."
Um. Okayyyy. Timely, I guess? What's next, a portrait of their favorite fallen Democratic primary candidate? A mixed-media collage of sensible 401(k) investments to withstand a bear market?
Clockwise from top left, Ezra will require: Orange juice, "Flu Medicine," what appears to be toilet paper in a tissue box, a get well card from his family, drawing/writing supplies, his glasses, a journal, cough drops, and his ADHD medicine.
Ike envisions more of a looming hellscape where his room gets taken over by two-story sized bottles of "that gross blue medicine" and mugs of ghostfaced hot chocolate. Also more toilet paper in a tissue box, a comic book he's been working on for a year now called Noah Ezra Ike, and finally his brothers standing watch while he quietly moans for more hot chocolate from bed.
On the way home, they sat together in the back seat and complimented each other's artwork. And then, a small, timid voice asked:
"Mom, what's the coronavirus?"
Fast-forward to yesterday -- after a looooong week of alternating between comforting, non-alarmist discussions about WASHING YOUR DAMN HANDS with the kids, and quietly stocking the pantry and struggling to obtain kids' cough medicine and digital ear thermometer covers from some sketchy third-party Amazon seller out of Brooklyn -- I arrived at their school once again to pick them up from the art class.
As I walked in, a stream of stunned-looking parents were walking out, while their VERY EXCITED children were all shrieking things about NO SCHOOL and TWO WEEKS and CAN YOU BELIEVE IT.
I'd literally checked the school district's website an hour before. There was a note about out-of-state field trips and a middle school debate being canceled, and a bunch of events that were currently being "reassessed."
My own children gave me similarly fuzzy information. Schools were closed for one week. No, maybe two? Or actually no, the art program was the thing being canceled.
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This morning I sent everyone to school with a garbage bag so they could clean out their desks and lockers before everything gets scrubbed and locked down.
(Noah is ECSTATIC. This is the best Friday the 13th of his LIFE. We are working very hard on what is and is not APPROPRIATE to CELEBRATE and JOKE ABOUT right now. Also, you WILL read books and there WILL be math because this is NOT your ticket to like, 300 straight hours of screen time and video games.)
Right now we're looking at two weeks off, then canceling spring break in April to absorb some of the lost time. But with other states closing schools for three, four, even six weeks (omg im so sorry where can i send u wine), I'm not counting on anything just yet. I'm still waiting to see if even a fraction of the groceries I ordered yesterday actually show up in our delivery later today.
(I thought I had more time! I also thought I had more dried beans and canned goods! Either way we will probably run out of toilet paper but that ship sailed a couple mass-panic-buying weeks ago!)
Luckily my dude in Brooklyn actually did come through on the thermometer covers.