Virtual Parenting

Virtual Parenting in the Time of COVID-19 

So, I began my Monday not in my school library but at home in front of my computer. Gathering sources, fielding questions, managing our social media presence. It’s going to ‘interesting’ to say the very least. Over the weekend our County Executive ordered Long Island (NY) schools closed beginning Monday, March 16, 2020. Soon NYC schools would shutter, too. New York is currently a hot spot for the novel coronavirus dubbed COVID-19.  

Parents of school age children have been posting all week – memes, anecdotes, suggestions, and more. Unlike other parents, my children are grown and all four have completed their university degrees. I do not have to balance home schooled education and my job. I’m grateful for this and thought, ‘Okay, this should be easy…or smooth…or not too bad. I can handle this.’ Well, I realized very quickly that whether your children are all sheltering with you or without, it’s going to be a challenge. Did my surety tempt the Fates?

Virtual parenting. I’m a virtual parent. I have four children in three different states; one of these states is another hot spot (CA) and at the time on the verge of shutting down. So, on Monday, March 16 I watched my son get married on a Facebook. Speaking with him over the weekend, it was clear the wedding as originally planned for April was no longer an option. There was time for me to fly out to LA and make it to the wedding. I struggled with this decision. I wanted to be there, but what if I brought the virus with me?  So instead, I logged into the Facebook watch group and grabbed some tissues. 

Fortunately, the joy of welcoming a new member to our family outweighed my melancholy of watching remotely. I thought, “I got through today, I can handle anything.” Here’s a recommendation: Don’t tempt the Fates. Tuesday morning my immunocompromised daughter calls to tell me she has been tested for COVID19; she had symptoms, tested negative for flu and is in the high-risk category. Again, I had to parent remotely weighing whether I should bring her home and potentially infect others living in my house. Should I drive into Brooklyn and bring her food even though she had food and I Amazoned other supplies. Each day we spoke, multiple times a day just to be sure she was doing okay. By Saturday we got the confirmation she tested positive. 

One week down… 

Congratulations Mr. & Mrs. Seymour!

Library Visits: Ooh Rah!

Many of us school librarians have off for Presidents’ Week.

This past week, I had the opportunity to visit Camp Lejeune in Jacksonville, NC. As with so many other vacations, I found a library to visit. Shocking right? This is my second military library. My first was the library at Quantico (VA).

Whether I’m traveling nationally or internationally, exploring local libraries will always be a favorite activity. I usually sign up for preconference library tours. My favorites have been organized by SLJ Summit and IASL (a tour of public and school libraries in Long Beach, CA).

Four years ago this week, my husband and I traveled to Ireland. I chose our hotel in Dublin based on the fact it was across the street from the National Library. Of course we visited the Long Room and Book of Kells at Trinity College. We even talked our way into day passes into the college library. And in my opinion, no trip to Dublin is complete without a visit to the Beatty Library.

We learn so much from visiting each other’s libraries – programming, displays, furniture set up and more. During my visit to Lejeune, I spotted signage advertising sewing in their makerspace; it was positioned in the 600s near the DDC for sewing. Brilliant idea! Meet the patrons where they are.

Meet the patrons where they are.

I hope you have a restful and productive week off; a week filled with new ideas and new experiences to share.

A Mother’s Daughter

The week before holiday break an ESL teacher and I hosted a bilingual story-time in our high school library. We chose a holiday classic, The Grinch who Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss. As part of the festivities we provided hot chocolate with whipped cream and snacks consisting of Santa cookies and homemade brownies.

My daughter, an education major off for winter break, made the brownies while I was at work because I didn’t have time and needed the help. I reflect on this and I’m reminded that I am my mother’s daughter. My mom, a retired first grade teacher, used to ask my sisters and me to cut out shapes and items for her class or bulletin board.

Having grown up providing classroom assistance and now requesting it from the next generation, I wonder will my daughter’s children follow suit.

Just something I ponder over tea and leftover brownies.

Hot Water

tea crochet demet

In hot water in the library takes on new meaning when working with teens. I know my teens are comfortable in our library, but I didn’t realize how comfortable until a Friday afternoon encounter.

Student: Can I have hot water?

Me: What?

Student: Can I have hot water? You’re always making tea, so can I have water?

Me: Oh. Oh. Okay. I was just making myself a cup of tea, so the water is already hot. (Figures, he’s right.)

Student: (Pours hot water into his thermos.) Can I have a tea bag?

Me: Okay. What kind? I have Tetley, Chai…

Student: I’ll have the African tea.

Me: Rooibos. Okay, here’s a bag. (Me opening my file cabinet of goodies and tea.)

Student: Oh, those are good cookies! (Belvita bites.)

Me: I don’t like the snack packs. Do you want them?

Student: Yes, please!

Me: Here, take them. Get to class the bell is going to ring.

Student: Bye, Mrs. Seymour.

Me: Bye.

And there you have it. A full-service library. Come in for a book, laptop, maker activity or hot water and a tea bag. I always tease the kids when we’re on lockdown drills, “not to worry folks, we can survive weeks with the food stored in my office.” I have a microwave and a refrigerator (I like milk in my tea). On hand there’s always Hershey kisses, chocolate bars (cause you can never have enough chocolate), assorted cookies, snack bars, and microwave popcorn to mention a few items. Right now, I also have a dozen boxes of cookies courtesy of the Girl Scouts. Some days you just have to dole out some cookies in the afternoon to tired, hungry teens. Other days, usually before testing or end of semester, you just have to place a Hershey’s kiss before each student letting them know we’re thinking of them. I’m pleased the kids feel comfortable coming to me when they need a pick me up. We’re in this together.