Writing while in quarantine

By: 
Lisa Ingebrand, LifeEnterprise

I write to you from quarantine.

My 8-year-old redhead and her classmates were sent home from school last week because her teacher tested positive for COVID.

Thankfully, her teacher is doing well, and Ellen (and I) tested negative.

Of course, like so many families, my husband and I are struggling to juggle her distance learning, our older daughter’s in-school learning, and our own work schedules. It’s not fun, but we’re managing (so far).

And, without the influx of friends in our home, we’ve hunkered down with lots of board games, baking, movie watching, and reading.

Last night, we opened a new game, Trivial Pursuit for Adults and Kids.

Ellen and her 11-year-old sister Anna were not excited to play, voicing their concerns that “you gotta know stuff” and “it won’t be fun.” But, after playing three back-to-back games, they’re hooked.

Both girls were surprised by how much they do know! And, multiple times, Anna spouted, “Hey, I learned that in Social Studies!”

One kids’ question that comes to mind is: Where is the Sea of Tranquility located? They didn’t get it right, but they were amazed to learn that there is a “sea” on the moon, which led my husband to explain that there’s actually no water in it, but early astronomers mistook the area for a sea because the dark area is less reflective. (I was amazed by how well my husband explained it!)

Ellen preferred the “you-gotta-thinkabout- it” questions, such as: Which little piggy had roast beef? and how many months have the letter “b” in their names?

It was fun watching the sisters look to each other for answers and discuss/argue over what would ultimately be their “final answers.”

Of course, the BEST part of the whole game (for the girls) is when mom and dad give an incorrect answer.

The adult questions are not easy! Example: Who composed the opera “The Marriage of Fiagro”? (The answer--which I guessed correctly-- is Mozart.)

However, John and I did fail at answering: “Which pop artist refers to her fans as ‘meat monsters’?” Much to her delight, Anna knew the answer without looking at the back of the card... It’s Lady Gaga.

All three games were close matches, coming down to a spread of just one or two pieces of “pie.” But! The parents did claim all three victories! (There’s no letting the kids win in our household. They will win on their own soon enough... After all, it was by pure luck John and I eeked out that final win.)

The girls were proud of how well they did and are still a bit flabbergasted that they “know stuff.”

It’s a new level of game play for us--beyond games of chance, matching and strategy.

The best part for me was when we were putting the game back in its box and Anna told me that she can’t wait to tell her teacher the game ACTUALLY asked where the Vikings came from! (The answer is Scandinavia.)

“I didn’t think that was something I had to actually know,” she said. “I’m glad I pay attention.” Me too, kid.

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Here are a couple turkey-themed trivia questions for you: Due to low wild turkey numbers in Minnesota in the late 1960s and early 1970s, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) traded one kind of animal for 29 wild turkeys from another state. 1. What state made the trade with Minnesota? (Answer: Missouri. The Missouri-born wild turkeys were released in Minnesota’s Houston County.) 2. What animal did Minnesota provide Missouri in the trade? (Answer: A flock of Minnesota’s homegrown ruffed grouse.)

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Mom fail of the week: I accidently threw away Anna’s tooth! Her tooth fell out one morning before school. She put it in a little plastic baggie and set it on our island… I was in full cleaning mode when I returned home, and having a clean island without stuff on it is always my first goal. Oops. Funny of the week (another tooth story): I caught Ellen with her fingers in her mouth (this is an on-going issue). Frustrated, I started in on her about how everyone is trying so hard right now to stay healthy and here she is shoving germs and bacteria and viruses straight into her mouth. She stopped immediately and looked at me with wide, terrified eyes… before slowly opening her mouth to show me the situation. A front, top tooth dangled by a thread. “Oh, Ellen,” I said, feeling like I was too harsh on her. “Just pull that thing out.” “BUT MOM!” she screamed. “I DON’T WANT THE RONA!”

The darn tooth dangled for two more days.

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