End of the Pandemic Edition

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S1: The following podcast is for parents, maybe not for kids.

S2: Welcome to Mom and dad are fighting Slate’s parenting podcast for Thursday, March 18th, the end of the pandemic edition. I’m Dan Coifs. I’m a writer for Slate and the author of the book How to Be a Family. And then add to Lyra, who’s 15, and Harper, who is 13. You live in Arlington, Virginia.

S3: And Jimmy Lemieux. I am a writer contributor to Slate’s Care and Feeding Parenting column. They’re very kind of have me after I fell for the worst troll ever last week has at least in my column. I am also the co-host of Slate’s Wild and Wise Evening Chat Show, and I am on to Nyima, who is just about eight years old and we live in Los Angeles, California. I’m Elizabeth New Kampai, right. The Home School and Family Travel Blog that touch me. I’m the mom to three little Henry V eight, Oliver, who’s six and Teddy Bears four. And we live in Nevada.

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S1: Welcome, Djamila. They love sending in the fake questions to care and feeding. Don’t you sweat it? Remember the time someone sent in the plot of little women?

S4: I do remember that. I do remember that once again with the deep cut white folks that did I don’t know about.

S5: And that’s right. I was getting. Yeah. So that the plot of Phantom Thread and you were like, what is this? On today’s show, we are going to tackle the divide between sports obsessed kids and parents who, like our letter writer, have fallen out of love with sports. Then I’m going to sit down with Professor Emily Oster to talk about what this spring and summer are going to look like as we approach the end of covid. How should we think about safety and families where some of us are vaccinated and others of us are not? You will not want to miss this conversation on Slate. Plus, we will be comparing the songs that would make up the soundtrack to our parenting. But let’s start today, not with triumphs and fails, but with a dilemma. I have a dilemma I would like Jamila and Elizabeth to weigh in on so that maybe I can spare myself the fail later on. Here’s my dilemma. So you guys remember the olden days when people went out, right? Yes. So during those olden days, we had a rule with our kids, with Harper specifically, that you could wear makeup at home for fun, but you did not wear it out. You were not old enough to wear it out, we said, and you especially didn’t wear it to school. So whatever. A little lip gloss is fine, but no, like real makeup. And Harper did not like the rule. You know, she would put on like these immaculate faces and then she’d be very annoyed when you’re like, wash it off, you have to go to softball practice.

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S4: So how old was she when when this begins?

S5: She’s been playing with makeup for years and has been annoyed that we’ve made her take it off for at least since fourth or fifth grade. OK, but while we’ve told her for all those years, is this is a thing for high school when you were in high school, you can wear makeup to school, you can wear makeup out. That’s your choice. But up till then, we do not want you to wear makeup out. It’s a it’s an adult plaything. So then came covid. As you may recall, during the last year of quarantine, Harper has spent forty five percent of her free time watching makeup videos and perfecting her makeup game. She would like walk into the kitchen after an hour spent in her room with, like, beautiful, elaborate fish drawn on her face. Sometimes she would just come out with a very, very fancy or dramatic look. Sometimes she would just have a very subtle face on. But we never went anywhere, so it didn’t matter. So she would just leave it on for a while. Then we get all smudged and then she would wipe it off and then she’d go to bed. But this week, Harper is returning to school. Amazingly, it’s hard to believe that such a day has ever come about. After three hundred sixty five days exactly out of school, she is returning and she’s definitely going to want to wear makeup because now she wears makeup every single day and it’s an important part of her life. And we have set this rule years and years ago that makeup is for high school. So the dilemma is, should we break this rule that we set or should we stand by this rule and continue with our belief that makeup is a high school thing?

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S6: Have you sat down and had a conversation with her about.

S2: No, I’m having a conversation with you.

S6: I think it’s time to change the rule, given that there has been a change of stuff. But my rule but of course, I at this point, I think was at a Catholic school. So there were also rules like through middle school about make up from the school. But a natural look was allowed. So as long as it didn’t look like we had makeup on, we could wear makeup. And I almost wonder if maybe you’re in that phase where, like the dramatic stuff or or any kind of real expression with the makeup is maybe not appropriate, but she can do some natural stuff to make herself feel better. Because, I mean, I think one of the appeals for makeup is that you like the way you look when you wear makeup. I’m not a big makeup person, but putting on some mascara does a huge thing for my own self-esteem. And so to. Be able to give your daughter that going to school in a time in which, like she’s been at home, now she’s going back and like middle school anyway, is kind of this awkward time. So can you give her the opportunity to make herself feel a little better or feel good about herself or the way she’s presenting herself? I feel like a little lipgloss, a little mascara, if that stuff she wants to do. And it makes her feel good. But that’s the conversation is like, why do you want to wear makeup to school? Like, why is that important to you? I don’t know.

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S4: What do you think when I can’t believe that I’m literally going through this with Naimah. Right. That’s why I thought that. That’s a different thing, though. Clearly. Clearly I’m not, because I think the big thing that we’re the big issue that we’re having is that I do it. And so it then becomes why can’t I? So that’s a little kid problem versus, you know, now that you’ve created the thing that they have in common, which is like now I have this expectation and I’ve seen myself in this way. I like seeing myself this way. Why can’t I do that anymore? And so I cosign the idea about it being natural make up, you know, that you can do a little light blush, a little concealer if you’ve got a pimple or maybe it tinted moisturiser. But that it’s also, as Elizabeth said, incredibly important to get to the heart of like, what does makeup represent to you and why? And figuring out other ways to connect to whatever that is in a meaningful way. So if it represents some sort of deficiency or insecurity, then, you know, there’s something that you all have to address. If it represents artistry, then what are the other ways that she can express this artistry, you know, on a day to day basis without it being on her face? So is it, you know, maybe taking some additional risks and choices around fashion and particularly around color? Right. So one thing that can be really pleasing about putting together a good makeup look is, you know, the curation of the perfect brown on the eyes, which matches the pinkish tope on the lip or whatever. Is that something she can be doing with the architecture of her outfits if she is going to engage with makeup, period, at an age where she’s still a little bit young for it? It’s incredibly important that she has a good skin care routine. And I think that’s also something that is a pampering thing that feels like a womanly act that they can take pleasure and pride in. And so perhaps the role should be, you know, you can do this light makeup look, you know, here are the things that you can wear. But if you are going to wear makeup to school, you have to adhere to your skincare routine, which means you’re washing your face in the morning and, you know, you can get started. Smiled and good for the skin pretty easily. Even if you don’t, you know. Darn, I don’t know that you know the ABCs of proper skin care, but it’s not hard to lay it out where she has a little three step routine that she has to abide by. She has to do it at morning and at night, because if she’s going to be a teenager wearing makeup, she’s going to need to know to do those things sooner than later. Else she’s going to have some skin challenges. And so this is also, you know, adding that bit of responsibility to the fun or creativity or whatever it is the makeup represents for her.

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S5: I would not worry about her skin care, which not only does she have one, yes, it takes for fucking ever. That’s my girl.

S6: I was going to thank you. I think that letting her experiments you learn very quickly like makeup is not great for sports. There are certain looks that are really fun to have at the house, but when you’re at school all day are totally different. Right. Like even just the way like rubbing your eye, like all of that and which kind of makeup you have and learning some of that, I think is a good way to do that with a natural makeup versus like obviously the fish on her face that smudges would be a problem. I like the idea of like some other kind of expression, too. So if you’re going to stick to the rule about no makeup, what about like giving her times where she can wear the makeup with her? You know, like can she wear it if she’s having people over to hang out? Can she like I think it’s gotten so much complicated. Imagine having people over. I mean, that’s like coming. Right? And but now you have this thing where she, like, uses all her free time to do this makeup. Where is that line?

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S7: So I, I feel like it’s a good time to revisit the rule and redefine the rule that makes makes a little bit more sense. But it needs to be in a conversation with Harper about what her expectations are and what she wants out of this. Right.

S5: Why do we have the rule? Yeah, all of us have a natural agreement, basically that. Makeup is something for older kids that a natural makeup is better than, like outlandish or dramatic makeup. Why, like, I don’t I’m trying to understand exactly what it comes from, is that from like nervousness about sexualization that the makeup represents? Is it just about not wanting the kid to to work too hard to be older than they actually are? What is the root of this rule that all of us seem to agree should be a rule, but I don’t know why.

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S4: I think a lot of it is everything that you named. Right. I think the part that we should keep is the idea of rites of passage, you know, like being mature enough to handle and and use something responsibly. And using it responsibly means not intentionally using it to appear older. Right. And so there’s a child who just simply likes doing makeup. And when they put on makeup, perhaps it makes them look, you know, a bit older or like some who’s attempting to look older and that’s just a consequence of their hobby or interest. And then there’s the kid, you know me who well, I shouldn’t even say it was necessarily me. I thought of myself as a mature and older and somebody who should be talking to older guys. And that makeup was part of that. What came with that? But I like to make up anyway, so I can’t say I was putting it on in hopes that it made me look 19. But it also was a tool in the kit of the 16 year old who wanted to be perceived as a 19 year old, if that makes sense. Right. I think our aversion to little girls and makeup is deeply connected to our fear of their fate or rather their growing. It’s always been there. We’re afraid of their sexuality, like we’re afraid of that part of their lives. But there’s a reason to be afraid of it at this time because it’s not about so much our fear of what they will do with it, but what the world will do with it. And I think it’s unfortunate that we also still act like, you know, someone shouldn’t be able to tell the difference between an 11 year old and make up and a 17 or 18 year old. You know, that’s preposterous. Like nine times out of ten and the tenth time when the kid opens their mouth and starts talking, you realize it’s an 11 year old. But I do think it’s good for us to you know, the makeup becomes a gradual thing that if it’s fully just for play it name is age, then middle school, you know, that’s where you get to pick up your first couple of pieces. I think that’s when I was first finally allowed to I was always scamming my mom and ordering me stuff from Avon, like I was just a little lost and I got it. And it’s like a bright red lipstick, you know, baby steps. What is the makeup culture like in her school or what would it have been, you know, if they had not been out for a year, like our kids show, just going to full face of makeup, or would she be the girl with the makeup? You know, that is the thing.

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S5: I mean, I haven’t seen any of these kids for a year, but my memory is that by eighth grade, some girls are wearing some makeup, but hardly anyone is going all out.

S4: Yeah. And so being the one who goes all out is it is a choice and it is an identity. And those can be good things and they can also be uncomfortable things. And I think that’s also something that as somebody who stands out in rooms at times and is totally OK with that, there is it’s not always the experience that you want to have. And so it may be something that she considers that this will make her stand out.

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S7: I think, too, it’s it’s OK to acknowledge that there’s like a time and a place for particular looks like we there are not a lot of professional women that go into work with their night out on the town night makeup. And and this to me is very similar to that is like, well, when you’re at school, a look that makes you feel good is great. But maybe one that grabs a lot of attention is not for the academics, but maybe it is. OK, that’s what I’m saying. When she’s going out with her friends or when she is going to activities are going to do something in which having that kind of makeup on is appropriate. Right. And can be cared for. But also it is a situation in which asking for some attention is OK. Learning some of those boundaries are good now. And so that when you’re in high school, figuring out like, well, how much of a smoky I do I want to do.

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S4: The current youths have taken makeup to places that we just haven’t. So I think that a lot of the stigma around like kind of a sexy look, you know, that girls might have had to deal with when we were coming up. And I say this is the person who that was my sisters always referred to my makeup as prom makeup. You know, that I was four years and this was like as an adult, I always looked I was going to prom. But I think that for them, there’s a lot less assigned to it. But again, that does not mean that if you are the trendsetter in your school, you’re the first one to show up with. Daily makeup might be an uncomfortable throne to foist your eyeliner pencil upon.

S5: All right. Thank you both for this. Very good advice as. Is the case with all mom and dad are fighting dilemmas, your advice is legally binding, so I will be following it. I’ll come back with a full report next week when it turns out we had like an hour long conversation. The end result was that I agreed that she can only wear makeup to school if it’s the fish.

S6: Right. Right. Yeah, well, this definitely ends either with that or tears, right? I mean, there’s no right or both.

S5: All right. Let’s move on to the business slate plus members, our favorite people. It’s survey time again. It means it’s your chance to use your expertise to boss us around. Tell us what you think about Slate plus and Slate. It’ll only take a few minutes. You can find it at Slate Dotcom survey if you’ve been thinking, God, I need more Djamila in my life, as we all do, you are in luck. Every other Wednesday, Jamila and her best UBM are live at eight o’clock PM on Wild and Wise, live with Slate live. They talk about everything from race to sex to identity and modern life. To tune in live or to see previous episodes of Wild and Wise, go to Slate’s Facebook page, our YouTube page or just visit Sitcom’s live. And hey, if you want all of our parenting stuff, just collect it up for you in a big bundle, like tied up in a bandana and put on a stick like an old timey hobo and then delivered straight your inbox sign up for Slate’s parenting newsletter. Besides, all of that stuff served up on a silver platter, including every new mom and dad are fighting all the ask teachers, all the cares and feedings and much, much more. Plus, I just will tell you a story each week about my life, my kids, the disaster that is currently life in Arlington, Virginia. Sign up at Slate Dotcom slash parenting email. And if you are hungry to connect with more parents, join our parenting group on Facebook. It is very active. It is full of good advice. It is full of empathy, full of friendly faces. Other parents going through the same shit as you and it’s moderated. So if anyone’s a jerk, I kick them out. Just search for sleep parenting on Facebook. All right. Let’s get into our listener question for this week. It’s being read, as always, by the angry, abler Shasha Leonhard.

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S8: Dear Mom and Dad. I’m the parent of three young children, and I’m looking for advice on how to handle my negative feelings towards sports fandom, especially pro and high level amateur sports, as my kids start playing and watching sports themselves. I wasn’t always a sports party pooper. I was a pro sports fan as a kid in the suburbs, lost interest during high school and college, flirted with college football and basketball during grad school, and maintain a casual fandom in adulthood. But I found that harder and harder. Watching concussion, Russian roulette went from feeling merely stomach turning to wrong. The NCAA is exploitative, FIFA, self dealing and corrupt, etc. And as I think back to my high school days, I can see that sports played a negative role in our social lives and social hierarchy. Basically, my feelings about the culture of sports have entirely swamped my ability to appreciate how beautiful and exciting sports and athleticism can be these days. Organized sports played almost no role in my life, but it’s time to sign my four year old twins up for spring soccer. And I know that sports are coming back into my life. Can you remind me of the constructive or valuable aspects of being a sports fan, since from the outside it kind of looks like arbitrary tribalism and often bloodlust if my kids do want to play sports? Can you give advice on how to keep their experiences feeling like play and not an unpaid internship, which is what being on a serious sports team looks like now to me, generally speaking. Can you tell me how you square trying to be a good and ethical person with being a fan of big time college and professional sports? Thank you.

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S6: So I thought this question kind of had two parts, like there’s a piece about sports as entertainment and the ethics of that and then this other about your kids playing sports. And I’m going to start with that to say like, well, you are a long way off from this problem. Your kids are still really young. And I think there’s so many benefits initially to kids playing sports. And at that point it’s more of like a social club in a way to make friends and for your kids to make friends and to give your kids a chance to try something else out. And so I think the big goal here is just to enjoy recreational sports for kind of what they are and separate all of these things. You feel about larger sports teams. And there are so many sports like this question specifically, I think felt like it was talking more about like football, baseball, basketball, your kind of larger team sports that are on TV that are, you know, sort of hugely propped up by by colleges and by networks. There are so many things to introduce your kids to from, you know, gymnastics, fencing, diving, all all of these snow sports. Like, there are so many things that you can get your kids the opportunity to learn and then be excited for them when they’re excited for something. And I think in terms of your children, you don’t always get to pick what they’re into. And I’m I mean, listen, I cannot hear about Pokemon cards anymore, but that’s what they’re into. And so that’s what we do. And we support that because they’re excited about it. And sports are kind of the same thing. If your kid really loves something and is really loving participating in it, then you go in. You’re a good parent about it. I think you still have young kids. If you don’t want to watch sports or have sports watching, be part of your family dynamic. That is perfectly acceptable at this age. Like you, you don’t have to have any of that be part of how your family operates. So you can enjoy kind of the value of having your kids play these sports, playing for fun, playing intramural without any of the kind of.

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S7: Corporate or the way society has dealt with these sports and just enjoy it with your children, because it is such a wonderful thing when they when they take to something Henry really took to diving and he’s so into it and he loves to practice it, like these moves around the house and watch diving. And that is something like I can really get into because there is so much joy for him watching other people perform.

S9: Elizabeth is right that your your kids are for your you’ve got a solid six to seven years ahead of you where it’s not actually hard at all for your kids to just do sports very casually and for it not to feel like an unpaid internship if you choose to make it that way, if you make sure that they play lots of different sports instead of just only focusing on one year round, if you make sure that, you know, if you want to be the parent who does not put your kids on the travel team as we were those kinds of parents, that’s fine. That’s a totally legitimate choice. And you can until about age 11 or 12, it’s it’s just not that hard for your kids to have totally casual fun sports experiences. It gets trickier after that. But that’s a whole other set of issues, honestly, than the issues that you’re worried about right now when your four year olds are about to sign up for spring soccer. Jamila, what do you think?

S4: I didn’t agree on that. You have a long time to go before you have to really hand-wringing over what what to do if and when your children decide to engage with sports to the other part of your question, which is how do you reconcile being a decent person and supporting college and professional athletics when it comes to something that’s as pervasive in our culture as sports? That’s pretty difficult. It’s something that does, even in its exploitation of players and surrounding communities in some instances, provides a lot of joy and fulfillment and opportunity for a lot of people. And so I respect that. I mean, I’m morally completely opposed to college. Sports is the way in the way they exist now. And I think maybe if I were a sports fan, college sports might be where I draw the line because these are unpaid employees, essentially. And so if that is a line that you want to draw in your house, you can draw that line. You know, you can say we watch professional sports because these athletes are compensated. We go to local games with high school students. We don’t participate in college sports. And that’s totally fine how you will describe these things to your children in the same way that most of us talk about our values and things that we believe in with our kids and leaving Grace for the possibility that they will have their own feelings and their own values. And they may feel quite differently about sports and they may want to play college sports. And that’s a bridge that you’ll cross when you get to it. But I think that is not for you to figure out how to justify or make this morally correct for you, because it isn’t morally correct for you and it doesn’t have to be.

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S5: Yeah, as someone who has gone through a cycle of fandom that I think very closely resembles this letter writers, I think Jamila’s point about your ability as the consumer to make those decisions based on levels of exploitation that you see and these structures is right on.

S1: You have that power within your household to make those decisions. For now, you have the power to discuss and negotiate those decisions with your kids as they get older and they develop their own passions and likes. And you have the ability if, as this letter sort of suggests to me, you feel a little bit of a lack in your life from the sports fandom that you once sort of more passionately embraced, if you feel a lack of that kind of beauty and athleticism in your viewing diet or in your personal playing experience, there are a lot of opportunities to fulfill that out there that don’t subject you to FIFA or or the NCAA or the NFL.

S9: I do think that, as Elizabeth has noted, there are a million sports out there that are no more corrupt in their structures than the average Hollywood movie or TV show or food you eat or clothing you wear, which is to say they’re somewhat corrupt, but in a way that most of us have made have made peace with. And there’s no reason that Henry can’t be watching, diving and and have a great time without Elizabeth, you know, freaking out about whatever it is that the U.S. Diving Association is doing. Yeah, that’s this part of the podcast has not been vetted by lawyers. Anyway, I feel like this letter writer would do well to find some of those sports to reinterred. Use that beauty and athleticism into his or her life and then see what happens when you start to introduce some of these non gigantic, non incredibly corrupt sports into the greater lives of you and your children while your children just go ahead and play soccer because it’s totally fine.

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S6: While putting your children and exposing them to sports as a activity I think is important, like having them try out some different activities and see what’s out there. Consuming them as a hobby or as a form of entertainment is not like a necessity. And so you don’t have to feel compelled to do any of this.

S7: And Jameel, I think you’re right to that, having the conversation about why big sports are a problem, why college sports, like as those come up and as those are in your life, have those conversations so they know where you are, where you are on that, and then they are in a position to evaluate that as in their lives and as sports kind of come into their life.

S5: Yeah, there are values that you share with your kids the same as all the other values that was really well said. I will say that there’s one sport that every family should watch together, which is, of course, competitive cornhole that you can find on like it’s like on Fox Sports seven or something. It’s absolutely absurd. I can’t watch enough of it and every family would be made happier.

S6: I highly recommend Dutch canal jumping. They literally put a pole and a canal and throwing themselves over and it’s hysterical. It’s just like farmers in a field. I don’t think there’s any organization to be mad at ridiculous and fun. And I know there’s no commentators available. Right. They either make the canal or they don’t make the canal. Right.

S5: Lots of options out there. All right. Thank you, letter writer. We appreciate your writing in overall. Our our advice is relax, buddy. It’s going to be OK if your kids end up really loving soccer. We actually had a great conversation about raising athletes when you yourself are not sporty earlier this year with the one the only soccer legend have you, Wambach. We’ll link to that episode in the show notes. If you would like us to tell you to relax, drop us an email at Mom and dad at Slate Dotcom or leave a question in the Slate Parenting Facebook group. We’ll be happy to pluck it from the group and answer it here on the show. All right, moving on. So it appears we are in the long, long final act of the pandemic. Cases are going down. Grandparents are getting vaccinated. Kids are returning to school. At least my kids are. Over the next few months, we’re going to be once again recalculating our perceived risks basically on a daily basis as things change for us and for our kids. So I’m very, very happy to have on the show Emily Oster, the data oracle of Pandemic Parenting. She’s a professor of economics at Brown. She’s the author of the parent data series of books, the third of which the family firm is coming out in August. Her newsletter has been a must read for pretty much every parent I know over the past year. So welcome, Emily.

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S10: Thanks for having me. Dan, nice to see you.

S5: Good to have you here. So we’ve been republishing a bunch of your newsletter stories on Slate, and there’s one of them in particular that I wanted to jump on, where you start talking about what the spring in the summer are likely to be like with the new CDC guidance that we’re seeing. So let’s start with the spring and then we’ll get to the the glorious summer to come. So last week, the CDC released these new guidelines for interactions, particularly between vaccinated and non vaccinated people. So what does that guidance mean for families where, for example, grandma and grandpa have gotten the shot, but mom and dad and kids have not gotten the shot?

S10: So the CDC, I think, went into sort of pretty good intermediate space here and said that when the high risk people, grandparents are vaccinated, they should feel comfortable getting together, unmasked inside with the sort of unvaccinated people, assuming that that second group is low risk. So assuming you have low risk parents, you have low risk kids, nobody’s got immunocompromised issues that that kind of get together can happen and can happen in kind of a normal way, like you can hug the grandparents, all that kind of stuff.

S5: You don’t necessarily have to do a bunch of quarantining before and after. It can just be like seeing them like we used to just regular 14 day quarantine.

S10: Know you should wash your hands and stuff like that.

S5: Sure. I mean, we should be doing that anyway. Yeah. Yeah. You know, for those of us who have been sort of waiting for guidance like this from the CDC, I think we’ve felt like it’s been a long time coming. And I’m sure there are versions of it. We could have imagined that would be like even more lenient. But when you say that, you feel like they sort of hit the right middle ground, like, where do you think that’s coming from? And is there some version of these guidelines that could have been much stricter that that you think would have been unnecessarily so?

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S10: The CDC has been quite cautious about sort of giving per. Ishant for vaccinating people to do stuff, so I think a lot of the messaging has been sort of like, OK, when you’re vaccinated, you’re you’re protected. But we don’t know if other people are protected. And I think for me, that’s been a little bit frustrating because basically every piece of data that we have had and everything we know about how vaccines work has suggested that the reduction in risk of transmission has got to be very high. Is it one hundred percent? No, it’s not one hundred percent. But there was some of this messaging early on that sort of sounded like people thought it was zero. I think a lot of people got this idea. Well, just because I’m vaccinated doesn’t mean there’s any less risk that I would transmit to you.

S5: Could still be a super spreader, even if I’ve had the vaccine.

S10: Exactly. And I think there’s just like nothing that would make us think that was true. And so as we have gotten more data, I think this new guidance kind of embraces that idea that, in fact, people who are vaccinated. Yes. Are completely out of the question that they could conceivably spread the virus. But it’s really, really, really, really unlikely and hugely reduced from from pre vaccination. So I think this new guidance basically recognized that there are definitely people who think they should have gone further and said, look, once you’re vaccinated, take off your mask and lick people. It’s totally fine. And I think part of why they’re only saying to your grandkids is I think there’s some there are some worry that that we’re just you know, we’re so close to having enough vaccine for kind of more like a herd immunity thing that you just want people to hold on a little bit more to not doing crazy stuff.

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S5: A sharp rebuke to the anti licking prudes of the CDC.

S10: Exactly.

S5: So spring break is coming. Are you expecting to see a lot of family travel? And and how should we feel about that? How should we do that if we’re the ones who are traveling?

S10: I think we will definitely see more family travel. I think we will I think we will certainly see more family travel that is in line with with the CDC. I mean, I, I can see that in the emails that I get it. And the people that I talk to every day that, you know, there’s a lot of people who have waited basically a year to see grandparents. And now a lot of those people are kind of for the second dose. And this is an opportunity to leave your kids with them and go do something with your spouse and not with your children. I’m not saying we’d all want to do that.

S5: Some of us, the glory of what you just said is incredible.

S10: Yeah, I think we will see some some of that. And I think certainly sort of living inside the CDC guidelines is is reasonable. I think a lot of what people are wondering about is what is the mode of travel for that? Who travels to where and how should we think about that? And that’s a place where the CDC kind of dropped the ball a little bit in terms of actually providing people guidance. So they didn’t there’s still like don’t travel, but of course. You know, it’s not obvious why not, based on the other things that they’ve said and so I think that’s that’s a lot of people are fudging that a little bit.

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S5: My kids are back in school this week in addition to all the work you’ve been doing and talking about the data on family get togethers and things like that, you also, for much of this year, have spent a lot of time writing about schools and what we know about schools and safety in schools. So can you just give us a little update on what the latest research is telling us about safety in the school environment and about how nervous I should be about my kids spreading the virus in a school?

S10: Yeah, I mean, I think our our data has sort of in some ways kept getting more reassuring. And so we as we have learned more, it has continued to suggest that schools are low risk environments. You know, not to say that no one could ever get covered in schools, but that is not very common. It’s not an environment in which we’re seeing a lot of a lot of spread. And the other thing we’re learning more about over time is, is the sort of directions of spread. So, for example, there was a study last week to get that much attention, but of schools in New York and transmission’s in New York. And, you know, in the cases where they could identify an index case in the small number of what seemed like in school transmission’s, it was 80 percent of it involved the staff member. And so there was very little sort of student to student spread, which is both reassuring from the standpoint of the fact that teachers and staff at a higher risk group. But also as we sort of move into the spring, a lot of those people are being vaccinated. Right. So we’re kind of looking at a place in the next month or two. We’re actually almost all the teachers at least will have an option to be vaccinated. Once you shut off that method, then you’re really talking about very low risk environment. The only kind of possibility is kid to kid spread. We know that’s not happening much at all. If it does, those those kids are themselves very low risk. So I think you should feel good about it.

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S1: Let’s talk about the summer. When the time comes that most parents are vaccinated and the general population of adults is starting to see real vaccination. What is the argument for continuing to mask, for continuing the social distance? What is it purely just we are setting good examples. Is there a real benefit that it’s still going to give as we approach covid zero or herd immunity?

S10: So really hard question. I mean, I, I think we are going to need to move back to normal and by normal I mean regular interactions with people and not wearing masks all the time and not constantly social distance. I mean, and I think if last June we had been where I think we will be this June in our our kind of vaccination space, I think that would have been much easier. I think people would have been much more comfortable saying, OK, great, we did it, we did it. It’s over. Like I’m taking my mask off and having and having a good time. I think because of the trauma that however you would describe the last the last year, it’s going to be a big step for people to take masks off. And so I think as we look to things like camps this summer, people have asked, you know, is my kid really going to have to wear a mask at camp like they didn’t wear last summer? And of course, the disease situation this summer is likely to be much better. I think it’s going to we’re still going to have a little bit of sort of residual feeling like we need those things, even if maybe the science isn’t quite there. And so I’m not sure where we’ll end up on that kind of stuff for the summer.

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S5: I am curious about how normal summer will feel for kids particularly. And the camp question, I think, is a big one for a lot of people. I know you’ve said that you are sending your kids to camp. I’m anxious and desperate to send my kids to camp, but I keep getting these mixed messages from these camps.

S1: Like several of the camps that my kids are supposed to go to, particularly the ones that are on college campuses, have very unexpectedly, just in the last week announced that they’re going all virtual again this summer for reasons that I don’t fully understand and I’m still trying to figure out and other camps, I think especially sort of more traditional overnight. Would foresty camp seem basically unconcerned if you are a parent with kids and you are sort of feeling that last little bit of nervousness like, well, I’m going to be vaccinated, my parents are going to be vaccinated, but my kid isn’t vaccinated and I don’t know when they’re going to get vaccinated. What does that mean to be in a summer where everyone’s vaccinated except the kids is just writing about this?

S10: And I think that the frame that I in some ways have sort of suggested people put on this is the big goal of vaccines is to reduce serious illness and death. But, you know, that’s what we’re trying to produce with our with our vaccination. We think about the effectiveness of vaccines. That’s kind of the numbers we’re citing that people are so excited about the vaccines we have because they take this, what for older adults is a huge risk of hospitalization and death and kind of reduced it by just really big reductions in risk. The thing is that your 19 year old is already vaccinated adults from those standpoints. I mean, it’s like it’s true. This sort if you think about the reduction in hospitalization or death, death risk from being 10 rather than being eighty nine point nine percent is 90 percent. It’s it’s actually better than the Fizer vaccine. So if you would be comfortable sending your your grandparents to camp, which you know what, I don’t know if they would enjoy the kayaking, but swim lessons, perhaps if you would feel comfortable doing that like that, your kid, your kid is there. I’m hoping that may be a helpful way for people to sort of think about the relative risk for kids because they. We’ve gotten in this space where it’s like, OK, well, until my kids are vaccinated, I can’t let them out. They’re already like, you’re letting your grandparents out, like, let’s kids.

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S5: It is funny how, you know, in my experience, vaccination. Vaccination campaigns essentially mean the virus itself is basically a nonfactor in my life, I never have to think about it at all, and it’s hard to imagine some future in which we. Basically never have to think about it at all, even if we still live in a world where sometimes people get very mild versions of covid, including possibly us or our kids, but maybe it is just the trauma of the last year that makes me hard to think of covid in the same way that I now think of other things that we get vaccinated for that haven’t been eliminated from the Earth. They just are really no longer a concern. I’d like a dramatic concern.

S10: A lot of what I think is going on is this risk is so salient to us if we’re thinking about it all the time, that it’s very hard to to kind of. Think about it, it’s just like a regular risk, right, the way we think about a lot of other things which may ultimately be comparable in the kind of risk space. Right. So so, of course, covid has been a much bigger deal. And for for older people, unvaccinated is a much higher risk than these other these other things. But as it moves to be a smaller risk, it’s going to take a really conscious mental shift to sort of move it into the bucket of small things, which occasionally I think about. But I probably try not to worry about too much from this thing that’s out of mind all the time. I’m constantly worrying about. It’s hard to shrink this to the right risk size in a sense.

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S5: Right. We need to be able to think of covid like grocery store sushi or something and like, just be cool with that.

S10: Basically, I remember what they told my kids when they left for spring break last year and they they had this little thing. It was sort of like intended to be reassuring about the kids risk. And it was like, you know, this is a cold and of course, it is cold for kids and ultimately with vaccines kind of bitter cold for the rest of us. And like, we get those kind of a lot from our kids and other people, weirdly, not this year.

S5: And maybe I’ll just end up wearing masks.

S10: One of the things I think we’ll be grappling with, is there something more to learn about this is the is the flu numbers from this year? Right. So if you look at pediatric flu deaths, typically that’s about two hundred a year. This flu season, there was one. Wow. In the US, one pediatric flu death, some combination of them asking for licensing and school stuff that people did have totally changed the flu season. Now, it’s probably not worth it, but are there any things that we did that really do, move the needle that might be worth adopting a little bit in the in the future?

S5: Last question for you. And I’m so grateful for the time that you’ve given me, but this is really the most important question. When can I sing karaoke again?

S10: You know, man, two weeks out of your second child, you can go sing karaoke with your other vaccinator. Great. Great to know. Living the dream.

S5: What I love to hear. Thank you, Emily Assar. We’re going to have a link to the newsletter on our show page. The new book comes out in August. The last two have been really great. First one to have to do with pregnancy, the second one having to do with infancy and early childhood. This third one is hitting what what stage?

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S10: Kind of five to twelve DESHWAL early school year.

S5: All right. Thank you so much, Emily. This has been great. We love having you on the show. Thanks, Dan. We have come to the part of the show where each one of us individually offers to you, our listeners, a recommendation. We call this part of the show recommendations. Elizabeth, what do you have?

S7: OK, you know, I have been on the search for some kind of game. I can play with the younger members of the household. That didn’t drive me crazy. And I think I found it. And I’m sure there are many versions of this because I don’t think this is some kind of brand name. But this game is called Blinkx. It’s a card game and the cards have different shapes that are different colors and different numbers on every card. And basically the goal is to go as fast as you can to match the card in the center, either by shape or color.

S6: Right.

S7: The way I play is it’s a two player game, but I divide the deck in half and then, you know, the two younger ones, the six and the four year old are a team. And you’re supposed to only hold three cards so they can each hold three. So they’re playing six cards. I’m playing three cards. They win. Sometimes I win. Sometimes I don’t have to pretend to go slow where I can go as fast as I need to go. And with them doubling up, it’s super fun. I enjoy playing it. I feel like there’s color matching, their shape matching. There’s no recognition. It hits all my educational goals and I’m actually enjoying playing. So the the card game is called Blink.

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S5: That’s a great one. You’re right that it is really good for that ever difficult to find competitive level where your kids win sometimes. So they’re not always pissed off, but you’re not so bored out of your mind. There’s another game that works on very similar game mechanics called Spotlit. That was a big. Oh, yes, yes. Our kids were exactly your kids age. That also works in a similar way. Also a great game.

S6: I played that with Henry, but I got to get that out for the youth, too, because it’s it’s fun to actually be playing with them and not like, oh, what are you holding?

S5: You know, Jamelia, what about you?

S4: So I’m trying to curb my daily coffee habit. I love NOGs and Soymilk, but I do not enjoy them with coffee. When I have coffee, I want cream or milk and usually something sweet in there. So I’ve taken up or I’m trying to get into Moccia and kombucha, which like the latter to me, even the best kombucha kind of tastes like if you were like say like I happen to have like ketchup for some like hash browns and jelly for like a biscuit or something. And they touched each other. That’s what you taste like to me. Like it’s almost good for a minute. This little sponsored by the American Kombucha Association, a little ketchup flavor, just lofstrom somehow. But I’m getting through it. I know it’s very good for you. And Moja has always I’m so sorry, but everything that I’ve had with Moccia and it just tastes like there’s green pattern here and I don’t know. What everyone else finds so pleasing about it, so I thought maybe I’ve smoked off that part of my palate or something, but I have found a match to drink that I really enjoy. It’s very much a bar and it’s called Hustle Much. It’s a lemonade. It’s got caffeine in it. It tastes like lemonade. It doesn’t taste like green powder. It’s very good. And it gives me a little extra pepper myself.

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S5: Very nice. This week I’m recommending a big and exciting purchase that our family has finally made after months, maybe years of talking about it. We made the big leap the other weekend, bought an eBay bike. I’ve wanted one for a really, really long time. I finally ordered it. So far it has been exactly as great as I hoped it would be. So for those of you who don’t know an electric assist bike and he bike is it’s basically a regular bike, but it just has a battery powered motor attached to it that gives you a boost whenever you pedal. So you can coast as long as you want. But as soon as you start pedaling, there’s like it’s like a wind pushing you from behind. And it can be a little boost if you’re just riding around or it can be like a big fucking boost if you’re going up a big hill. Ever since we got back from our trip when we just loved riding around the Netherlands, we have complained endlessly, ad nauseum. I’m sure to everyone we know about how hard it is to replicate that experience in Arlington because it’s just full of fucking giant hills. You can’t go a block in any direction from our house without ascending, just like a horrible back shattering hill that at the end of it you’re like, well, this is terrible. I’m so sorry I ever took this bike out, but. On any bike, you don’t have to worry about the hills you get on the bike, you start pedaling, you go up a steep hill and you’re just pedaling away like you like granny on a bicycle and then you’re at the top of the hill. And it didn’t hurt. It was incredible. You just fly up the hill like magic. So I’m totally addicted. My goal for this spring and summer is that every trip of five miles or less during which I’m not intending to carry back like seven bags of groceries, I’m going to do on the bike just riding around this past weekend when it was 60 degrees, maybe just so incredibly happy about this coming spring and summer and what they’re going to be like and how free I think I’m going to feel. I just made my weekend, so I’m really enjoying this bike. We got a rad e bike already is the name of the brand. It’s quite a popular brand due in part to the fact that they’re just significantly cheaper than most other bikes, but so far has been great and we have loved it a lot. And if it if you are in the market, in your family for a way to get around your neighborhood in sort of the one to three mile radius, a little bit faster and a little bit easier, especially if you have hills, I really recommend it.

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S2: All right. That is it for our show one last time. If you would like us to weigh in on your conundrums or dilemmas. Email us at Abbotsleigh Dotcom, the Sleep Parenting Facebook group and search for sleep parenting on Facebook dot com. If you haven’t already, please, for the love of God, subscribe wherever you listen to your podcast really helps us out when you do. And it helps you out in the grand scheme of things because you never miss an episode. And when you miss episodes, you get cranky. You don’t have your story. So subscribe. Why are there great interview the show as well. Mom and Dad are fighting is produced by Rosemarie Bellson, Bergomi Lemieux and Elizabeth McCampbell. I’m Dan. Thanks for listening.

S5: And we’re back. Hello, sleepless listeners. Here is your bonus segment, has a very special thank you for your support. This one goes out to you, Slate plus member Bob in Cincinnati. So we thought it would be great to talk about the songs that we have introduced to our kids over the years, intentionally or unintentionally, the songs that would make a soundtrack to our parenting. And I also want to talk about why we choose the songs that we choose and what exactly it is we are trying to get our children to like and convey about our own taste by playing these songs for them. I want to start with the owner of Candy Girl herself, Jamilah Lemieux. You have a lot of thoughts on this subject, I believe.

S4: You know I do. You don’t see me come into often with notes, but I have notes today. So, yes, Naima and I have this strong connection to new additions that I have talked about many times on the show and have shared a lot of pictures and videos over the years on social media. If you go to Twitter and search my name and new addition, you are in for some good stuff. There are many videos of my daughter singing and dancing to various new additions and Bobby Brown and BBT songs. We even got to meet them in 2000 and seventeen and twenty eighteen. So I thought it started with me showing her the new edition story movie, the three night miniseries that Betty did. And in twenty seventeen, much to my surprise and delight, she watches the movie and gets really into the music and the group and like completely becomes obsessed with them. You know, this is the year that she turned four. We had no birthday party. You know, she’s going to be eight in a couple of weeks. And like, I am still randomly searches on Google just to see what’s up with them. And we listen to their music all the time, like they’re just a part of what she does. New Edition is just part of her life. And so I thought maybe it was just from the movie. Then I was like, oh, no. You know, like they were really hat like that era of music, not just this group in particular, because they were out, you know, a bit ahead of my time. Right. By the time I was namaz age, they were solo acts of Bobby Brown and Bobby and Johnny Gill.

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S5: And the old new edition was like a little bit passé, I think by the time you were the right age, definitely.

S4: But like those kind of solo acts represented, some of my best childhood memory is like I think of my local radio station and taping songs off the radio, which was something that I love to do. I think part of it is it is this thing that I’m connected to from my childhood, but also when I was pregnant with name and I didn’t realize this until well into the new edition phenomenon in this household. The day after I found out I was pregnant with Nyima when she was but a mere decision to be made. You know, I took a fresh trip to Las Vegas my first time in Vegas ever, and I was pregnant so I couldn’t drink, which is great. And I saw a new edition concert, you know, and that was the only concert that I went to. I was pregnant with Nyima. So there’s that. And that was the first time I’d say no, they perform and I had Nyima my tummy. So she’s literally that has been the soundtrack to my parenting since day one.

S5: I love that, that you wasted no time making sure that that embryo got the full new edition experience and has continued to this day. Elizabeth, what about you? What has been the soundtrack to your and Jeff’s parenting?

S6: I tend to use music to try to kind of control the chaos in the House. So I have a couple of songs that I use to break the chaos of of particular moments, the original one, which I equate much to like on the Big Bang Theory, Sheldon Cooper, like small kitty, little kitty. We use Baby Beluga a lot for that.

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S7: It seems like if I sing that song, if I put that song on, it just kind of brings everyone down. They will all join in singing kind of no matter what the situation is, sometimes that ends with everyone back to screaming. But we kind of joke like in the car when they’re all screaming, like Jeffri will start singing that. And it just kind of brings the the mood down. But obviously, as they have gotten older, we’ve tried to replace that with some other songs and are like big song when we’re going to do something new is the Sarah Borealis Brave song. And we will just like to, I think, kind of get everybody’s like, put your big kid pants on, we’re going to go do this. Or this is like a scary moment, like acknowledging that which we have a lot of as we move around and do things. We have kind of like these little family dance parties or play it in the car to say, like, this is kind of the next thing.

S5: I’m sorry. I just love that you’re using a song that is specifically for that’s like that is the emotional beat that song hits in the movie and you’re just putting it right. And there are a lot like like.

S6: Can be, yes, yes, it does kind of feel like the way I do that we use the music is a lot like, hey, you’re in this movie. Here’s the song that should be played. We love this song by Just Glen called Hold My Hand. And that is actually the song. Like When we want to get everyone kind of up in the morning, it begins with kind of these little tinkling noises, almost kind of like an alarm clock. And we use that usually like before big trips are before we’re all gathering to do school. Our school music now feels like it’s been co-opted because we have always played Vitamines String Quartet, which is now like the soundtrack to Bridgton and so on. I mean, but that’s always where we played like in the classroom. And particularly the kids really love Billy Eyelashes, bad guy. And the vitamin string quartet plays pop music using classical instruments. And it’s really great, I think, especially when we’re doing art or stuff in the class. It’s like I get the kind of keeping things a little bit calmer than playing like full pop music or full orchestration. But we’re still hearing things that they’re hearing other places and it keeps them kind of engaged. But the thing that has, I think, taken is that I like to introduce the kids to a lot of Broadway musicals. And after seeing Annie, the kids have taken to singing. It’s a hard knock life any time we ask them to do things and it feels like this little like tap on the back, like, ha ha, you might be mad at me and protesting, but you also learn something. But when you when you first ask this question to I was trying to think of like if there was a soundtrack, you know, like to the new camp household. And I decided that it is between Rihanna’s madhouse and Miley Cyrus’s Wrecking Ball so that songs we play for them, but songs that I feel like would describe the new camp household that represent the whole show that I think we should all answer that question real quick.

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S4: I love when they’re able to take something that they’ve got in a song and apply it practically like that. So Nyima, another soundtrack to our household is Beyonce. She she brought it in, she came out with the Beyoncé love and I was like, all right, cool, we can, I can embrace that. And so we play a lot of Beyonce in the car. And so a couple of years ago my nephew, who was the same age as Nyima, would not help her. She was carrying a couple of packages and he wouldn’t you know, he didn’t help her. And I looked at him and said, Triflin good-For-Nothing Tifa cousin, I love Destiny’s Child, triflin good-for-nothing type of brother. And it was just so Pathé. And she was so serious to life. She was not like I got one. She just looked at him like pure disco. I loved it.

S5: The amount of pride that I think we all feel in moments like that happen, maybe it reflects well on us. Like it’s definitely a moment of like, oh, in this very small way, I’ve accomplished this thing that I know I’m not supposed to want to accomplish, but which I secretly do, which is to just make a little bit of you like a tiny version of me. I know that that’s not the goal, but when I see it, it still makes me really happy. The soundtrack to our kids, very small childhood. We’re mostly the songs that we played around the house that they would dance to, which were not usually kids music. They were usually our songs. And the music that we have played for them all along is also about our songs because we play music all the time. It’s always playing in the house or we are always driving around and it was always playing in the car. And like the idea of just going all those hours and having to listen to kids music was, I guess, intolerable to me. And so I just didn’t do it. But so there are three very particular videos we have of little Wira or little Harpur dancing to particular songs that I still associate with their like toddler HUDs. And it’s Is This Love by Bob Marley and the underdog by Spoon and oh, by Slater, Kenny and all three of those videos I treasure. And all three of those videos have been taken down by YouTube because algorithms identified the music in them and declare them as copyright violations. So the videos don’t exist anymore. Very upsetting me. And each time that happened I was like, fuck. Well, that’s another memory just out the window. Thanks to the algorithm, there is a very particular stereotype of of white dads with beards that we are desperate to make sure that our kids have hipster musical taste. And it’s been very interesting watching my kids taste in music evolve over the years into their own, which includes certain things that I introduce them to and I still love. And that includes other things that they discovered all on the owner of introduced back to us. And so the playlist in the. Household these days is a real mix of stuff that I love, that I’ve played with them forever, musicals that Holly has loved forever, that she’s played for them, and then stuff that they’ve discovered on YouTube or on the radio or from friends that we have never heard before that they are bringing into the mix. Lara has this song that she just absolutely can’t get enough of that she plays for us in the car by a band, a band, a duo, a group of guys on YouTube I don’t know, called Lemon Diamond called Two Trucks, which is just about two trucks having sex. It’s like about masculinity, I think. I don’t know. It’s very funny. I certainly never would have found it on my own. I don’t think I’m no longer of the age where I discover new music ever. The mix of songs we have in the house right now really makes me happy and that it represents, I think, the personalities of all four of us. And we all are making little concessions to each other’s taste the way that once only the kids had to make concessions to my taste. I don’t know what the song of our household is. I’ll have to think about that. The song that we sing the most often is the song You’re Screwing Up, which is sung to the tune of I’m coming out. But we just do. Whenever anyone screws up in any way, we just sing. You’re screwing up to do that, etc..

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S4: And we’re also at that point now where the household soundtrack reflects name. I mean, I think New Edition was always such a great line that even a compromise, it was like, here’s something we both genuinely like, you know? And Beyonce was we don’t always have the same favorite Beyonce songs, but it was also like, here’s an artist that we both like. And the one the Beyonce songs that I hate were just banned from the house. I’m sorry, because I’m like, you have another house or you can go here, Hailo. You don’t have to hear it in this one. I’m sorry. Not allowed banti. Hello. Oh my God. So I don’t like big pop ballads, you know, like that should have been a Celine Dion song or something like I just I don’t know Bono, but we do have a few other songs that she’s picked up along the way or things that I played for her that she likes. But I would have to say that if we had a, you know, one or two songs that are these songs of the household, Bobby Brown’s My Prerogative is a clear number one, because one, that is the the battle of this house that everyone will hear, including the Cavaliers. It is their prerogative and they do what they want to do and then the next time be every little step. And also by Bobby Brown. And always good or bad, because every little step I take, she will be there and vice versa. But also every little step that I think she too will be there.

S5: Yeah, quite literally. I mean, that’s definitely the song of the last year for everyone in America, isn’t it? Absolutely. That is the song of parenting. Yeah. All right, Slate plus listeners, weigh in, send us emails, make a note on the Facebook page. Tell us what is the soundtrack to your parenting. Also, tell us, each one of us individually, who has the best taste. Hint it. It’s me. OK, so thank you as always. Slate plus members, we really appreciate your support. It means a lot to us that you have put your money where your mouth is and that you support slate, dotcom and all that we do. Can’t wait to talk to you next time. See you next week.