S1: This ad free podcast is part of your Slate plus membership, the following podcast contains explicit language.
S2: Welcome to Mom and dad are fighting Slate’s parenting podcast for Thursday, May 28. The At Home with Elmo Ed.. I’m Dan Coifs. I’m a writer at Slate and the author of the book How to Be a Family. And I’m the dad, some Lyra, who’s 15, and Harper, who’s twelve.
S3: Hi, I’m Jenny Lemieux. I’m a writer and contributor to play parent beating parenting column. And I’m a mom to name at least seven. Oh, that’s big. And we live in Los Angeles, California. I love that new camp. All right. The homes fall and family travel bans. That’s that is the mom of three boys, Henry eight, Oliver, six and Teddy, three. And I’m located in Nevada.
S2: This week, we’ve got a very special guest for our all ages. Everyone is fighting now segment an extremely beloved furry red monster who many of your kids have grown up with. I mean, at this point, many parents have grown up with them, too. It is Elmo. We’ll talk to Elmo about his new talk show. The Not Too Late Show and how life at home is going for him and his family. That will be our first segment today. So parents would like your kids to listen in. We’ll put a time stamp in the show notes. We’ll also answer a listener question from a mom who is worried that her wallflower preschooler is enjoying staying at home just a little too much. As always, we’ll have triumphs and fails and recommendations. Let’s start with time. So fails. Hey, Jimmy, you know, try and fail for us this week.
S4: I have a triumph. And I think that Dan and Elizabeth know it. My triumph is because I was oh, I’m very excited and I couldn’t wait. And I said the picture. My triumph is that on Friday I became the owner of a car.
S5: Not just any car, not just any car.
S6: I have a cool car. I have a 2014 Mustang converter effect.
S4: I’m very the lead. I have a Mustang convertible over the moon, excited. I’d never driven a convertible until Mother’s Day weekend, and I rented one from get around, which is an air BMB for cars, if it’s in your area and you need to rent a car.
S7: Short term, it’s kind of cool and you just go and you pick it up off the street, essentially. And it changed my life. It was a bit newer, was late model and and so I was a little worried that I’d be totally spoiled and that any of the cars in my price range would suck after that because I didn’t want to get a car note. I want to buy something in cash. And I didn’t know that I needed a convertible after having that experience. Like, I have so little pleasure living in the suburbs away from most of my friends and family in the middle of a corn team. At the very least, being able to drop my top riding down the street in L.A. gives me a little bit of joy.
S8: People who think convertibles are corny. I have never ridden. And if they haven’t, because there’s like nothing there’s nothing better.
S7: Regular cars don’t feel right anymore. It’s even want to have the top of the only time I want the top up is if I’m too close, you know, and I’m sure that people are looking OK. Girl, we get a convertible like welcome to L.A. Everybody has one. But like, I had to drive a regular car afterwards and I was not OK. And so I decided, doesn’t I get a convertible? And I found one in my price range, maybe a slight, little, tiny bit more than I wanted to pay. It was white. And I like white cars and it had cloth seats, which I’m not so fancy, but my child is a child. So I was worried about her making a mess. And back in the last rental car that I had her in last week, I took her to get an Italian. I used a big turnout to make a mess. And, you know, five minutes into the ride here. Oh, no. And so there wasn’t the best. Oh, man. You know. And this was after I got put down to pass it on this car with, you know, class seats. And I said, Nayla, you’re not going to get it in mommy’s car like this. I just hope you know it. And so on Friday morning, I was going to go pick up the car. That evening, I get a call from another dealership and he says, you know, you inquired about my thing. Are you still looking? And he had one that had slightly more mileage on it. But it was silver. It had the premium package, which meant it had leather seats. It was in my price range. Ended up costing a little bit less than the other one. And so I went adulations. So I have a car, a person, a car.
S9: Is your California bucket list complete now? Are you completely cow?
S7: I feel IFFCO yoga. Crystal, you are running. We need car and we’re running. I have to run a few more times to prove that I’m actually a runner. Because so far it’s only been the one. But I’m getting there. I’m getting there. I have to dabble. I’ve been I’ve do more meatless days here. I did in New York, but I did them back there, too. I think it will be when I try and fail to go vegan that I will finally get my full California merit badge sash all filled up.
S1: It’s impossible for anyone to become fully Californian right now because you can’t do lunch. But once this is all over, you’ll be able to knock that one off. That is true. Congratulations, Srila. We’re delighted for you. You can’t wait to ride in that convertible when we come visit you. Yes, Larry, we get to do it. First one. We just send her to Camp Jamelia cannot wait. Elizabeth, how about you try and fail this week?
S9: I have a triumph for me. Definite probably beg to differ, but I feel like when Jeff started working from home, we like kind of race to put together our solution of where he could work and like how the kids could be here at the same time. And last week we kind of discovered that this is gonna be a more permanent situation where he is on these like rotations. And so he’s gonna be home for like two weeks and then back in the office, some for two weeks and kind of alternating the schedule schedules. So we just kind of sat down and thought about, like, how this would work in the house. And we had like a desk in the guest room. But the Internet doesn’t go there and we don’t have any cell signal at our house, just kind of a nightmare. So anyway, we ended up moving all of the Legos out of this room that I recorded in into the guestroom, kind of packing the guestroom out, thinking we’re probably not going to have guests doing this massive overhaul that somehow involved building shelves and all sorts of things. That’s the part that Jeff had to do. But now we have kind of had a couple days of adjusting to the new flow of the house and different spaces that we have. The whole thing also involves somehow building a treehouse because while the shelves are being built, the boys thought it was a treehouse, of course. My amazing husband was like, oh, yeah, we could build a treehouse. So just sort of adjusting the space that we have to conform to a new reality. And the way our house is set up now, kind of like all the kids’ stuff is on one side. The more adult stuff is on the other side, the homeschool rooms in the middle. And that just has sort of enabled us to give just. A quiet space to work on me, a quiet space to work and also like let the kids still have their space. So I know it feels like now a triumph. Of course, they also have the treehouse. It’s a million degrees here, but they have a tree house outside, too. So I feel like just adjusting to the situation and being able to say, like, this is not how we intended things when we set up our house. But it is kind of our new reality and we need to make some changes to make that work.
S8: Every time you tell a story of Jeff, just like whipping up a tree house or whatever. I feel like, Ali, I listen to this podcast and looks at me and goes, What do you make again? Oh, you make words.
S5: That’s great. Now, if he doesn’t do it happily, I always say, you know, I would love this if it was being done with a happy heart for me. So, yeah, it is getting done. I’m like, yeah, that’s true.
S1: Yeah. Yeah, I’ve been. On the other hand, Ali doesn’t build city back.
S5: So, you know, I’m very thankful that he is so crafty and able to be tucked into massive projects. So we had everything we needed somehow in the garage to build things with you. That’s also where he came from. Yeah.
S10: No, it’s because of Jack fuckin guy. All right. I also have a triumph this week. We have our rare three triumph weeks on. A mom and dad are fighting. I love it. So I have been looking for some kind of, like, creative project to do with Lyra, you know, for a while. The book, in a way, was a creative project that we did together because she was just very involved in that. I mean, honestly, probably more than anyone else in the family. She read she read it several times and gave me a bunch of notes and wrote chunks of and she wrote more of it than anyone else in the family did besides me. And she, like, really viewed that as something that she was contributing to. And it was really fun to work on that with her and to have that thing that we were doing together. But then that ended and I just been thinking it would be fun to have some similar, like, creative thing that we were doing together. And last fall, we talked a little bit about whether it would be fun to make a podcast together.
S11: She said, oh, yeah, that would be fun. But she didn’t like chase it. And from time to time after that, I would mention it to her and she’d say, oh, yeah, that sounds fun. And maybe we would bat a couple of ideas back and forth, but she wouldn’t, like, leap at it or anything. And I really wanted to push her because I wanted to do this thing. And I thought it was a good idea. But I also worry that pushing her would just like push her away from the concept. And I think I was probably right. But anyways, the triumph is that after months and months and months and months of very, very slow discussion about it, we have finally finished the first episode of our podcast. It is a film podcast where each episode we discuss two movies. One is a movie that she chooses for me to watch and one is a movie that I choose for her to watch. And I’m sure that I will release it whatever to the world at some point. I think Labor really wants me to, but mostly I feel like that’s a try. Because she really liked doing it. She really liked the process. She liked planning it. She liked figuring out what it should be. She liked talking with me. And she, I think, really likes the end result, which I edited and she listened to and keep notes on. And now she’s pretty fired up to make more of them. So I’m proud that we made this thing. But I’m also proud of myself for taking it easy and dealing with it with her, because I am definitely a person who goes from zero to 60 on an idea really fast, like when I thought, oh, I should make a mess of, hey, it’s America’s favorite family card game. I like filed for a trademark the next day. So I think in this case I did this right, even though it just killed me to let her come at the idea at her own speed. But I’m really proud of myself for doing that.
S9: There are so many times you can apply that, I think, to parenting, like waiting for them to come to you.
S5: It’s like it’s so frustrating for your thoughts to wait.
S9: It is frustrating. But like when they come and they have the buy in, right. Then they’re willing to put up with more of their frustrations. Are you gonna make her do some of the edits down the line?
S11: I would like her to learn how to edit. Yeah, that would be good for her to learn how to do. Yeah. Editing me and lyr on a podcast really made me feel for Rosie, our producer, who s.a edit her insane as the number of hours I had to edit out. The number of times I do this, I make that noise a trillion times and going through the editing, all of them out. I was like, oh this is just awful. I’m so sorry that I make you listen to this every week.
S1: Rosie, big ups for Rosie Bellson, producer extraordinaire. Her triumph every week is that she deals with us. All right. Before we move on. Let’s talk some business. Slate’s parenting newsletter is the best place to hear all about all our parenting content, including this very show, Karen Feeding, starring Jamilah Lemieux and much, much more. Sign up for it at Slate dot com site. Parenting e-mail.
S8: It’s also just an e-mail for me this week, I haven’t even written the email yet this week. But I promise it’s going to be filled with something incredibly embarrassing that I do. Sign up. Slate dot com slash parenting e-mail. Also join us on Facebook. Just search for slate parenting over there. It’s a very fine, very active community, something like 15000 members. Now we moderate it so it doesn’t get out of control. Tons of great discussions and commentary. You often will end up talking to Slate writers about projects that they’re working on. It’s a really great place. We like it all. Check it out. Also on Facebook, every Tuesday at 11:00 Eastern, we have a live care feeding show with Nicole Cliffe to catch a live go to Slate’s Facebook page or find it on the Slate parenting Facebook page. And you can find previous episodes on Slate’s YouTube page. All right. Let’s move on to our first segment. I’m really excited about our guest today. For her all ages, everyone is fighting now segment. You and your kids know him and love him. Coming to us from his home on Sesame Street, where he’s been hanging out with his mom and dad. It’s Elmo. Hello, Elmo.
S1: Had similar problems about Elmo. Such a pleasure to have you on the show. So we want to talk to you, Elmo, about this talk show that you’re hosting. What is it like to host your own talk show point?
S12: It’s pretty cool. It’s a lot of fun. How does it show cartoon that you might share with Elmo? Yeah, I know. You know, lots to make people laugh. And, you know, I’m putting on a show. So that’s what we do. We play games. Oh, yes. Like, I like the Jonas Brothers and Monads Acts. It’s. Yeah, that’s a great people.
S1: That sounds so fun. Elizabeth, I believe your kids have called in with a few questions for Elmo, too.
S12: Do you have friends that help you with the show? Yes. Sesame Street helps with the show. Yes. So Cookie Monster is almost co-host and Rozema is what is called a stage manager. So she kind of helps stuff around the show. And Abby is the head writer. Yeah, I have a lot of people helping out. We’re cooperating.
S9: I love that. I’m one of my other kids. Wanted to know. Your parents say you stand up after your bedtime to make it.
S12: Yeah, that’s a good question. You know what? I took a shower and we got a shower right before almost bedtime. So I was bedtime is seven thirty. So were you to shower with seven. And this Emma gets ready for bed and then Emma goes to sleep. That sounds perfect. That’s a good way to go.
S1: Yeah, it’s part of your bedtime routine as well. That’s right, Elmo.
S7: My daughter had a question for you, too.
S13: I hear you making your niece talk her cell whole sometimes runny thing happened. If I feel very happy knowing, you know, you’re talking.
S12: Well, we do a lot of laughing, too. Yes. Funny stuff happens out of town. Cookie Monster is really funny. We have jam. You were Tricycle Rose for Dalmau. And it was really final because he’s town. He was on a tricycle. Thank you very much.
S1: And that was very fun. Amazing. Elmo. I’m so curious about what life is like for you at home right now. I think a lot of people are are launching fun projects and stuff because they’re at home so much right now, like your new talk show. And Elizabeth, one of your sons, has a question about that. Oh, no.
S12: Can any cookie take you through my phone? You know, I’m Mrs. Cookie and Abbie and Big Bird and everybody. But, you know, we go to see each other. We have video plug ins. Yes. I love Mommy and Daddy set up a camera. So I’m make you see everybody and play games with Dan. Yeah. I mean, there are lots of guns and missing signs. And it’s funny you mention that because Elmo is helping his mommy make some cookies today. And we’re going to send them to Cookie Monster.
S8: That’s so great. And so Cookie Monster, you’re sending him cookies and you’re doing playdates. What are you hearing from all your friends? Like, is Oscar the happiest he’s ever been since no one’s ever visiting them now?
S12: You know, nobody’s nobody’s around to bother about quarantine. Do not believe that that is the original social distance or Oscar the Grouch. That’s wrong.
S7: So if things are kind of different right now, what do you do when you’re feeling down or frustrated?
S12: Elmo can be hard sometimes. But, you know, I’m almost feeling sort of sad and worried. Am I next to give his mom like that a big hug? And Elmo. Tell us about his feelings and that helps a lot.
S9: Well, you mentioned that you are baking cookies with your mom. Are you doing anything else to help your parents around the house?
S12: Yeah, I’m just doing lots of choice. I’m just trying to make sure that have stayed clean because, you know, Elmo likes to play with his toys and stuff and sometimes Elmo forgets and. Kind of move stuff around, and I was many steps on it. Not heard, so I down there, pretty story either way and helped set up the table. I mean, I was trying.
S8: What are you doing when you miss your teachers and your friends from school? Are there ways that you’re making your home life sort of connect to your school?
S12: Yeah, it does. Come on, miss, going to school, because I to that school. You know, there’s lots of ways to play and learn at home. Q So how was Mommy and Daddy leaving a lot of books down now? Oh, we have scavenger hunt around the house. We do have a lot of fun. And how to track them down as much as possible.
S1: All right. Well, thank you very much. Although he really liked having you on the show, and I’m really excited about your talk show and all the fun friends you have working on it with you.
S12: Everybody, it was wonderful talking to you. Thank you. Say hi to everyone on Sesame Street, Elmo. I love you all.
S1: All right. Well, that just couldn’t have been sweeter. Amazing parents. We thought you might like to have a little bit more background and context for the Not so Late Show. So we’ve invited Autumn’s attorney, who is a curriculum producer of Sesame Street and the Not Too Late Show. Hi, Autumn.
S8: Bye. Thank you so much for joining us. You sound like you have the most fun job in the world. But tell us a little bit just basically how this new show is different from Sesame Street.
S6: Yes. Well, what’s fantastic about the show is that it’s really designed for families for this amazing co viewing experience where parents can watch it with their preschoolers and then the preschoolers, siblings and so on. And that is designed to watch before bedtime. So pretty much, you know, making that part of your bedtime routine while Elmo is also going through his bedtime routine. So you’ll see throughout the show that he may have to zip off to go put on his pajamas or to brush his teeth or to go brushes fur. We talk about what are some things that you might be thankful for before bedtime. So there are all these great moments that we can model for the kids at home, but also having this really fun experience for the whole family. So a lot of jokes, a lot of games. You know, we have a lot of great actors and actresses and celebrities that come on and sing songs and have competitions and those sorts of things. And yet kids can play at home as well, which is fantastic. So it becomes a little bit interactive. But it’s great that it’s a broader audience than just regular Sesame Street. So it’s fantastic. And families get to be together. And, you know, right now it seems like routines are more important than ever. And so this is kind of fitting perfectly into everybody’s new nighttime routine. I don’t. What are you hoping that kids learn from this new show? What’s great is definitely picking up on the bedtime routines, which is fantastic. There’s a lot of self-control that they’re learning along the way with Cookie Monster, especially. There’s a little bit with, you know, letters and numbers, but mostly it’s about spending time with the family. Honestly, you know, it’s how you can sit down and have this great viewing experience. Bedtime routine is the main curriculum for this segment. So, you know, and having that weave through so naturally. So, you know, for kids sometimes with Sesame Street, you know, everything’s fun and playing that we get to teach kids without being so overt about it. And it’s really just becomes a play experience for them. How do we find the show? Like, where can we watch it? What time? Oh, that’s great. It’s on. It’ll be on HBO, Max. I know that they will be launching with three episodes and then rolling out with one episode a week after that because it’s on HBO.
S9: Max, you can turn it on when it’s convenient in your kids.
S6: Exactly. Exactly. So the idea being, you know, we kept trying to debate like, what is Elmo’s bed tonight? You know, when do we think Elmo goes to bed? You know, so we think like, you know, seven o’clock feels like that sweet spot for preschoolers. You know, when you’re starting that routine, you know, it gives ideas to like to go on to go sing a lullaby. Or maybe you can talk about what you’re thankful before you go to bed. You know, in a kind of wines, kids down at the end, Elma always sings this really sweet Bahlul by a song before he goes in his own bed and goes to sleep and says goodnight to his teddy bear radar.
S8: So kind of will start their routine to do Elmo’s cool hipster parents up here on the show.
S6: Is that because of Louie’s goatee?
S10: I am a big fan of Louie’s go to. Yeah.
S6: And that is like really cool jazz musician. Yeah. We will see them. And then what’s really sweet is that sometimes, you know, Louis will poke his head through the curtain and and remind Elmo that he needs to do a part of his bedtime routine or, you know, maybe Pentatonix may have just helped him wash the dishes. He gives them a shout out. Yeah, it’s these cute little like Easter egg moments of that. You know that, you know, Elmo just left his kitchen to go put on his show and he goes through this curtain and behind that curtain is this whole studio with a studio audience and a house band. It’s nice that we still connect it back to Sesame Street. And back to that, you know, his parents are right there behind her.
S8: Is this available now?
S6: It’s scheduled to launch on the twenty seven so you can stream the first three episodes now.
S1: That’s so great. Thanks, Autumn. Now, you threw your job and everything you do. You know a lot about early childhood development. You think a lot about it. So we were hoping you would stick around for this list or question if that’s OK. Yes, absolutely. All right. Let’s hear it. It’s being read by the one and only Shasha Leonhard.
S14: Dear Mom and dad, we are weeks into quarantine at home with our four and a half year old preschooler. She does not mind at all that we are home all the time. I asked her if she wants to face time with any of her friends, and she declined when we did a face time with her friend. She quickly got bored and walked away to play with her dolls. I’ve always seen a lot of my personality in her. I never needed much to entertain myself growing up. My older sibling and I sometimes played together, but mostly I played independently. My mom recalls an entire summer when I sat on the couch and read. I’m wondering if I should be concerned that this extended time at home will make her more of a homebody? Or is this temporary?
S8: I want to take this one first.
S15: Of course, I can’t say that I’m an expert at this regard. This is the first quarantine that I’ve lived through. What I would hope that if this little sweet person already has an inclination to be a home body, that she is experiencing less of a disruption, less discomfort perhaps right now than a lot of kids that are completely going bonkers, not having the access to their friends and some of the places that they would typically go to. If the world were functioning normally. So I think it’s great that you all have encouraged her to face time with friends and that you should continue to try and do that, but don’t know, constantly force it on her. If she’s enjoying what’s going on right now, allow her to have her peace because there’s so many children and adults. Peace is very difficult to access right now. There are obviously there are things that you can do outside of the house, safely in your community, depending on where you live from perhaps going to a park where you’re able to socially distance and have some time outdoors or taking a trip to the beach. Unless you live somewhere like L.A. where people are treating the beaches as if everything is OK and they can just hang out and have a volleyball game. But I wouldn’t fret too much over this. I mean, I think the greater concern would be if you were to see her behavior change drastically and for her to seem less content, less peaceful with the way things are. Then she seems to. What do you think of him?
S6: Yeah, I mean, Djamila, I. I really love your perspective because you’re right. Like, some kids right now are going through some really, really big feelings. And it is really tough to be home and not be seeing your friends. And you’re hearing. No a lot. And it’s scary. There’s a lot of scary things going on that they might not understand, especially at four and a half into the pre-school level. So, you know, the fact that she’s home and she’s happy and she’s safe and she’s enjoying herself. You know, we we’ve been talking about, too, that, you know, some kids really are just living their best life right now because, like, they get their parents all the time. Whereas, you know, if you come from a home where you might have two parents working or one parent working and, you know, you’re not able to spend as much time or you don’t have dinner time together or breakfast, you know, those types of things, you’re not getting to do your daily, you know, like, hey, let’s make lunch together or like 2:00 in the afternoon. You’re playing a scavenger hunt, you know? Now, kids are having these opportunities and they’re like, this is fantastic. I’m getting tons of attention. You know, I get to be home. Maybe I get to, you know, I get to do what I want a little bit more than I might have before. And so I think the thing to be more not concerned about, but I think where you have the ability now to plan ahead for what the next transition is going to be like, you know, when this all started it it happened so fast. And so, you know, routines were disrupted really quickly. You know, the transitions were really fast. Kids had to get used to being at home and what home schooling might look like and those types of things. But now, you know, there will be some transition time that you have to plan for. So now that might be when she might be having big feelings, because now she might be frustrated that she can’t be home all the time or disappointed that she can’t stay home and read for hours on end and need to go out into the world. The good thing, like you said, is that it feels like it’s a slow progression back out into what our new normal might be like. And, you know, so for now, we can go outside and we can go into parks. But you can’t congregate in large groups or you might be able to visit the beach by you can spend all day there. You know, all communities are different in different states and neighborhoods. I think it’s more preparing her for what that will be like a little by little and talking about it before it happens and being able to validate those feelings, which is huge, especially at four and a half, giving her the language to be able to express how she is feeling and then validating those feelings, giving her some strategies to deal with what it’s going to be like. So I think it’s more those things. And also, they’re going to take the adults in their lives. They’re going to take their lead. So she’ll take her parents lead or mom’s that you know, how they’re reacting to going back into the world or being more social and seeing friends and those types of things. So they’re going to be able to help guide her.
S9: I love the advice you give on transitions because I one of my three children is. Very shy and something that has gone back for us is physical therapy, like we’ve had to start going back into the office. And I notice that my shy one who is six, just like that first visit, was sort of like, OK, this is a lot. And I wish that I had spent a little time saying, like, OK. Next week we’re going to physical therapy and this is what it’s going to look like, because now we’re like, you’re a physical therapist, is going to wear a mask and you’re not gonna have the freedom to move room from room and sort of coaching him back into that. And as a result, that’s kind of what we’ve had to do. You know, you used to be like the whole family went. We waited in the waiting room, Will. Now they come out and get him from the car, like all of these things have changed. I also noticed with him just providing the opportunity. He’s the same way with face time. He doesn’t really want to chat with friends or a little bit with grandma and grandpa. But just saying like, this is happening and I’m having this conversation. Do you want to join us and giving him that opportunity and even if it’s only a couple minutes and praising him for that. You know, like, I’m so glad you wanted to share that, because I do think some of that is going to become a new normal in the way we interact. And having to introduce that to them face him is super weird, like they don’t get the same feedback. So we have come up with, like, a couple things. My kids really like it when my parents show them things around their house that, like, either we left there or that they have. That seems to be my kids want to show them things here. So if my parents can bring a couple of things and say, like, you left this dog, what was his name like that just engages them more. And so just encouraging them to do that or like read a short book that we left there to encourage those virtual interactions. But I do think, Jameela, I also like to advice that, like it’s okay to let these kids be who they are and give them the space to be that. And we can encourage them about these transitions. But we don’t have to be like everything and super social. And just because they’re more introverted now and that opportunity is there than they were in, you know, what used to be really an extrovert world. We don’t have to make them an extrovert when they’re home. And it’s OK to say, you know, the transition back is going to be a little difficult, but we can help them with that and still honor this time here.
S10: This is all very good advice that you guys are giving. And there’s only one thing that’s sort of going unspoken in this letter and may not even be an issue in this particular family, which is just that focusing a kid’s attention somewhere outside of the home for some period of time each day gives parents a little bit of breathing room for this mom. This may not be an issue. She may be perfectly happy with whatever level of interaction she’s having with her. It seems like very self-sustaining daughter. It may not be hard at all in our family. You know, we have a kid who is not particularly interested in talking to friends or doing that much outside of her introvert life right now. And it works for us because she doesn’t make enormous demands on our time. So it doesn’t create like an imbalance in the house. And I guess my only question for each of you to think about is in a situation where a parent needs a little more outside help with that kid, just a place outside of her, the mom for that kid’s attention to be focused. Is there some gentle way to sort of coach an introverted kid who is perfectly happy, just doing stuff with mom or with dad to just expand that world view? Like just a little bit?
S6: Yeah. Well, I love that the idea that taking her lead, the child’s lead, so really taking her interests into account, which will get her excited to do other things. You know, what is it that she might like? And then, you know, capitalizing on that, you know, definitely in the outside world, but on the inside world, too. Just to go back to where you were saying face time, zoom, all of these things is a lot of added, you know, screen time. And they might not be that interested in just talking to their grandparents, you know, and saying hi and trying to converse, see and not but going back to what games can we play? Is there story time with grandma and grandpa that you could possibly do? You know, is there a special kind of reading time at home if that’s something that she’s super interested in with friends possibly, and a video playdate kind of scenario? Because I think that is what will get them excited, you know, to be a little bit more social. I mean, this is definitely a time where we have to be more flexible and parents definitely need some time for themselves. So I can completely understand that. It’s like, oh, it’s it’s nice that she wants to read for a while because then I can go. Do would I have to do? But it definitely there needs to be a balance.
S15: I’d just add that I worked from home a number of times throughout. Name is lives and have brought her to various offices with me many times, perhaps more than the average kid. So she has some context for and the same goes for her father. So she has some context for just because I am physically here does not mean that we are having Mommy and Jamila day and that, you know, I’m available to you 100 percent to just play or to do whatever it is that you want to do. And of course, she is seven, so she still struggles with that and she always has. But just reminding your little person or explaining to them that it may feel kind of like a weekend where we’re together. And if you want to ask me a question, you can. That’s not something you could typically do if you were at school. You can reach out and touch me. You can see me. You can hear me talking on Zoome calls. But I have to remind you that there are things that mommy or daddy typically do during the day when you’re at school that I’m still responsible for doing. Even though school is closed. And so the beautiful thing about this period is that I do have more time with you and I can see more and I can hug you more. The challenging part is that I have to get these things done, whether it’s, you know, stay at home parent who’s trying to balance a checkbook or take care of household duties or somebody who’s working their job from home with the exact same workload or even a reduced one, which can be incredibly challenging as well. That stuff has to get done. It’s important. This is my job. So the same way that for you going to school or, you know, and completing your assignment, I know it. Four and a half. It’s unlikely. Well, depending on the school, how academically rigorous their curricula might be at this point. But that I have these important responsibility that and just know that mommy needing time to do this and asking you to face time with the grandparents, when do you ready for a few minutes or few to quietly watch your show while I do? This is not me saying that I don’t want to spend time with you, but simply a matter of me doing the things that I have to do. And that’s part of being a Grown-Up.
S9: I love that boundary setting and have found that with my kids. If I invest a little bit of time at the beginning of play, getting them, I call it getting settled into play. But I don’t make any of the decisions of what we’re doing. So like, if we’re going to play trains and we’re going to build the track and set stuff up, I spend my time asking questions like, well, what does this train do? What should my train do? That makes it really easy for me to invest this time. The kid feels really empowered by the play because I’m doing what he wants. And then when I say I usually set a timer because my kids do really well. So I say like, I have five minutes right now to play just with you. And when the timer goes off, then I need to go complete X, Y, Z, because I haven’t made any decisions about the play. It’s really easy for me to extract myself and say, OK, I can’t wait to see what happens in all of our land. When I get back and I finish this task and that allows me to do these like Tappan’s where on my schedule I can Pocan and say like, well, what’s happening? What has this train that he assigned me or whatever, what is it doing? And I can do, you know, one minute or two minute here and tap back out. So it’s like they feel like I’m participating in their play, but I’m not so invested that when I leave the play can’t continue. Because if you are the thing that they’re chasing or whatever and you leave, the game is over. But if you were just a pawn moving pieces and say like, well, what do I say? And then saying the thing, they actually really like that. But it’s also easy for you just to leave. So I tend to do a lot of that and can kind of pop into each kid, especially when I’m getting kids settled for quiet time or I need one kid to play so that I can teach school. That seems to really work for me and buy me some time. And like I said, the timer just works great with my kids, like I have this amount of time. And they also understand that that’s gonna be focused time on them. Like no phones. No. If the other kids come in, I say, like, well, this is my time with Oliver, I’ll be with you in. The timer goes off and just really investing that time and then being able to to move on and go do other things. So I think there is a way I don’t know if that’s like the outside of kind of the comfort zone that you’re talking about, but that certainly buys me time at the house to be able to do things and get work done.
S1: Good advice from everyone. Thank you. Thank you. Letter writer. Hopefully that helps other listeners. If you want us to weigh in on your problem or you have a question for us, send it our way. E-mail us at mom and dad at sleep dot com. Thank you Autom for joining us and giving your advice. And thank you for telling us all about being not to a show.
S6: Thank you, everyone. Thank you for having me.
S8: All right. The show isn’t over yet. It is time for recommendations. Elizabeth, what do you have for us?
S9: I am recommending the summer reading program. Your local library, and although I think a lot of libraries are shut down or doing some kind of pickup system, I get emails from pretty much every library we’ve ever belonged to in all the states we’ve ever lived in. And they are all doing virtual summer reading programs. Many of them are using a program called Bienstock, which is incredibly easy to use and free to download. But my kids love them because you get little badges as you read hours. All of them are starting around June 1st. So that’s coming up. But if you sign up now, you there are virtual prizes. There are badges, all kinds of fun stuff. I think it’s a great way to pass the summer. Many of them offer it for adults, too, which I always think is a fun way just to track that I’m doing my reading as well. So head over to the Facebook page of your local library and see if they’re running a summer reading program virtually.
S8: That is a great recommendation. Thank you. Jamila, what about you?
S16: So my recommendation for this week is a book from the Help Your Dragon series, specifically help your Dragon deal with anxiety and fear. This is a series of books that say these are ideal for kids or maybe a little bit younger than name and name a seven. So I wish that I’d had this when she was five or six. And we first started seeing signs that she deals with some anxiety, which is something that I live with myself. But it’s really adorable. And it gives kids some nice coping mechanisms for dealing with feeling insecure and worried and panicked. And it’s well illustrated and it’s super adorable. And there’s a whole series of them. There’s potty training drag and the yoga drag and the mindful drag and teacher drag and to share. Teachers are going to follow rules. Teachers are going to stop lying. So I purchased this adorable little kids book for my big kid who’s a reader and can read chapter books with no pictures all on her own at this point, because I still think that with something like anxiety, that is such a complicated concept for a child her age, that even though this wasn’t intended for someone as sophisticated as she is, that I think it may make it a little bit easier for her to understand what she’s up against and how she can cope with it. So if you are interested, the book is available via Amazon and a number of other booksellers. And you can check out w w w that My Dragon books that come and we’ll leave that on the show page as well.
S9: This is such a great series. We use it and love it. So I think it’s such a good recommendation and Henry even picks them up. I think like the illustrations and everything, even though they can read. Don’t you feel like it’s just so inviting and easy to pick up and look at their belly? I love that.
S10: All right, great one. I am recommending Netflix Party as a way to get your kids doing something social with other kids who they can’t see in real life. We have been really pushing our kids over the last month and a half to try and make plans of some kind with friends, even though they can’t be with their friends, which is really hard because, you know, sometimes kids have a relationship with their friends such that just like doing a zoom call or a video call works. But I feel like kids these days don’t sort of have the talk on the phone forever training that we once had. And that doesn’t always come naturally to them. And it’s been hard sometimes to convince them to, like, do something with a person, even though it has to be on a phone or on a computer in some way. But Netflix party is like a really good way to solve that problem for certain kids. And it just basically mirrors the relationship that I had with all of my friends when I was a kid and that a lot of kids have with their friends now, which is you’re like hanging out, watching something together. And Netflix party for those who you don’t know what it is, it’s just a way for you and another person or other people to be watching the same thing at exactly the same time at Netflix and then to be like communicating with each other about that thing, to be joking about it or making fun of it or bonding over it or whatever. And it basically, you know, mirrors the experience of playing together on a couch and watching some crappy TV show, which I think is a formative childhood experience that I want to make sure my kids still have the chance to have here in 2020. So Netflix party, it’s easy to set up and everyone who has Netflix has access to it. And check it out.
S9: Are you video chatting while you watch? Is that hower?
S10: There is not a video chat. It’s text chat and like a little window on the side of the video. But you can always if the kids want, they can also, you know, face time with each other on a phone or an iPad while they’re watching horror. They can just text chat, which for a lot of kids, especially my kids, ages like their natural way to communicate.
S2: That sounds great. All right. That is our show. One more time. If you’ve got a question for us, please email us. Mom and dad at Slocomb. You could also leave the question for everyone in the sleep parenting Facebook group. Just search for sleep parenting on Facebook. We might pick another there to answer it on the show as well. Hamadan or Fighting is produced by Rosemarie Bellson for Jamilah Lemieux and Elizabeth New Camp. Dan Coats, talk to an extra.
S8: Hello, Slate plus listeners. Thank you so much for joining us for our Slate Plus Bonus segment. We really appreciate your support. It helps Slate to the journalism that we do and helps us do the podcasting that we do. It, you know, puts food on my table, roofs over my kids’ heads, et cetera, et cetera. Thanks. So here’s a bonus segment for today. For the past month or so, I have actually been working part time at Slate, have been working basically a half time. I’m recording this podcast and doing a little writing, but a lot of my duties have vanished. And that’s because I’m using the emergency paid family leave that many companies can take advantage of. Thanks to that family’s first Coronavirus Response Act, a federal act that was passed a couple months ago to help many people through this crisis. And Slate’s been very kind of forthcoming in making sure we know about this leave and in encouraging us to take it if we need it, to care for people and our families through this period. It’s been a real godsend for our families since our kids are stuck at home all the time. And, you know, my wife works. We don’t have a lot of the usual support systems that we have to help occupy them and take care of them. But I’ve mentioned this to a lot of people in my life, and a lot of them have had no idea that such a thing exists. So I wanted to talk a little bit about it on the show and talk about how it works and how I applied. So I’m going to throw it over to Elizabeth and Jamila, who are gonna pepper me with questions which I will attempt to answer about this feral program that I mostly understand.
S9: OK. So how does it work with pay? You’re working part time, but then what does it pay? Does it pay you? Is it tax credits?
S8: What’s the deal? OK. So it works like regular family medical leave for the most part in which I take time off, but I’m still paid my salary. Now there are some limitations and it often depends on your company. What Congress authorized is that if you qualify for this thing, you get two weeks of paid leave at full salary. There is a cap of five hundred eleven dollars per day. That would be a pretty impressive full salary if you exceed that. And then twelve weeks of further leave, which is at two thirds of your salary with a cap of 200 dollars a day. And so, you know, depending on what your situation is, what you make in a typical week or month, it might differ for you a little bit. But basically it’s two weeks at full pay, 12 weeks at two thirds pay. And you can also split those up any way you want. So, like, I’m doing half time, which means that I’m actually I can stretch it out to 24 weeks of paid leave at half time because I’m not taking the full week off every week. Slate to their great credit and not all companies are able to do this, has offered to make employees whole, which is to say Slate is only getting reimbursed for two thirds of my salary. But Slate is paying me my full salary, even though I’m taking that leave. And I think a lot of companies are doing this as a way of encouraging people, honestly to take this leave, because if you can afford for a short amount of time to do without the person and the employee needs this kind of help and support. It’s a way of getting the federal government to pay the company back for a lot of what you’re losing. And I think it really benefits a lot of companies as well.
S16: So then you don’t have little kids. So I guess this isn’t the solution that perhaps parents of teenagers would immediately think applies to them. It doesn’t matter how old your children are. Right.
S8: The limit is 14. So it sort of works the way that if you have used a dependent care plan with your insurance company where you get reimbursed for certain kinds of dependent care, those and at age 14. And this is basically the same. So if kids up to age 13 are covered under this, if the usual thing that they are doing during the work day is not available to them if school is canceled. If the program that they go to is canceled in summertime, if the camp that they would usually be at is canceled, you qualify for this. And so I found that really useful to know about it. I would I because I have teenagers. I wouldn’t have thought about that for myself. But even though my kids are older, in the first three weeks of quarantine when I was working full time and Holly was working full time, we were really seeing that it was very, very hard to balance all that stuff and that our kids were suffering. I think adverse effects as a result of the way that our life and how it was working out and the way that everything was getting more and more and more hectic. And so having this is an option as a way to just sort of dial everything back and still contribute what I can to Slate on a weekly basis to not really have it dramatically affect our finances had to have me more present to do things with the kids, but also just to make the house run. And all the ways that the house needs to run has been really, really helpful to us.
S9: Do you have to demonstrate that you lost child care? Our schools, our camps are.
S8: Yeah. You have to send basically some kind of documentation, but that documentation was just I forwarded our H.R. person the letter from Arlington County School saying schools canceled. That was all that it required. So basically, you just need some piece of paper that demonstrates the thing that your kid would ordinarily be doing. The preschool that they go to, whatever is closed and there’s no other care or even just a letter from the person who took care of them before saying, I can’t take care of them now because of Corona virus that has all the documentation that you need.
S9: So if, like you’re listening right now and you think maybe you would be qualified for this or you want to find out, what do you do, because like, it sounds like Slate let you know about it.
S8: Right? But not all companies, I think, know about it necessarily or know they qualify for it or they don’t have H.R. teams that are on it the way Slates was. I mean, I would do a little research. First, we’re going to link to a couple of really useful New York Times pieces about this expanded FMLA. This expanded family medical leave to give you a grounding, for example, and explains that as with other kinds of family leave, companies with under 50 employees and companies with over 500 employees are often exempt from this. There’s kinds of carve outs and exceptions that are a little bit confusing. But if after reading all this, you still think, oh, you know what, I think that I am eligible for this, including if you’re a gig worker, there are some kinds of gig worker things that this does cover, although that I think is a lot more complicated and you don’t have the benefit of an H.R. team to help you through it. If you think that you qualify and you work for a company that has an H.R. department, call your H.R. people and send them these articles and say, I think that we qualify for this and I need this. And a good company with good H.R. should be able to help you walk through the process, which is actually very easy from the employees stance. And when my kids were born, the only other time in my life that I have had to deal with family or medical leave, thankfully, I was working for companies where I was basically the first person who’d ever had a kid while working for the company. And so, like everything I told the people I worked for was news to them. And the notion that they had to give me leave was often repulsive to their ears. I think that’s less true in this case, in part because this is a dramatic crisis that is affecting us all, but also in part because from a purely mercenary standpoint, companies are getting paid back for this right away really easily, and it’s not hard for them to do. And so I think you’re a lot less likely to face static from an H.R. department about this kind of family medical leave than perhaps you might be afraid you might face.
S16: What are some of the challenges with the program?
S8: Well, so it’s it’s only twelve weeks. And I think originally, like many programs that Congress established to take care of this, they very optimistically thought that would be plenty. And I think for many people, that won’t be plenty. If you have really little kids at home and you just need to take the full five days a week off and you started doing it when this program existed, you’d already be halfway through that with six weeks ahead of you and no plan for what happens after that. Right. So that deadline, I think, is a real impediment to a lot of people and a real problem for a lot of people. And I’m hopeful that somewhere down the line they’re going to expand or extend this program. We’ll see if Congress actually gets off their asses and does something anything further in terms of coronavirus relief. It also doesn’t apply to everyone. As I said, you know, tons of companies are exempt. I have friends who work for other publications that are, you know, much bigger than Slate’s or are owned by large capital companies that have a lot of different companies under that umbrella. And they just didn’t qualify. And that, I think, is very frustrating to people. If your company is really, really small, it may not qualify. And I think that’s really frustrating to people as well. And then there’s all the issues that always come with family medical leave. Right. That I think tend to impact women a lot more than they do men. But there’s the feeling or the worry that you are letting your co-workers down theirs, the way that you can sort of fall off the earnings track or fall into the, quote, unquote, mommy track. I’m hopeful that in a case like this where people all over the country are being affected irrespective of gender in general, and that this is a recognized one time stop gap put in place to try and help with this particular situation that companies in general and co-workers specifically are going to be more understanding than sometimes that they can be. That’s certainly been the case at Slate. But I wasn’t that worried about it. And, you know, obviously, your listener, your workplace may vary, but this is your right. If you work for one of these kinds of companies and if it’s something that you need, I think it’s worth trying to take advantage of because it has really helped us in a lot of ways. And I think for a lot of families, it can be like a real lifesaver.
S9: This is not applicable to military families. But what? The military has done is just gathered a whole bunch of resources because they are facing, you know, obviously similar problems in that there’s not childcare available because places aren’t open. And although most bases have we call them CDC is like child care facilities. They are open on kind of a weird basis depending on the state. But there is a wonderful Web page called Military Family dot org that we will put in the show notes and it goes through all the resources that are available. They are there. They’re different for each branch. So depending on which base you’re on. But the military is very aware that this is a problem and that it affects the readiness and performance of, you know, the people who are serving and are serving overseas. And this is the season in which we all move. So they have done a really nice job of just trying to say, like, these are the programs that are available and there are offices that are there to help you either find care or work with your command to get leave where that’s appropriate. And also just work on schedules. And I know this is something that depending on what you do, each space is different. But there are although this federal program does not apply to military. There are other things in place to allow you to continue to get paid and also be able to provide for your children.
S8: That is great advice. Thank you. All right. Thank you for quizzing me about this, guys. It’s just interesting getting this out there. I’m gonna be doing this for like another couple of months, I think, and probably through a lot of the summer as every single camp of the kids were supposed to go to is dead. So it’s really been great for us. And I hope that other families find a way to use it if you need it. Thank you for listening to our bonus segment. Thank you for being a member state. Plus, we really appreciate all that you do and we hope to talk to you again next week. Bye.