Sheltering in Place With Kids

By Katiedid Langrock

March 21, 2020 5 min read

SOS from the front lines of Coronavirus Isolation with kids:

00:01:00 The schools have been closed. The store shelves are empty. We've been shopping. We've been preparing for this. We are fine. We are safe. We are healthy. This is just an extended vacation — an inside, isolated staycation. I vow not to leave the house for at least a week.

00:01:20 My throat feels itchy. It's probably nothing.

00:01:21 I look up symptoms on WebMD. Death is imminent — but not from COVID-19. Apparently, I have cancer and/or a brain tumor and/or Lyme disease and/or am having a stroke and/or am already dead.

01:15:00 The children are bored. We send them to play outside on their swing set.

01:45:00 The children are bored again. We send them to play at their friends' house.

01:45:13 I sprint down the street to stop the kids before they knock on the friends' door. I forgot about the whole isolation thing.

01:46:00 I'm out of breath. I check my temperature, convince myself I have COVID-19 and then remember my respiratory problems probably came about because I ran down the street after my kids.

03:00:00 I share a vibrant group text exchange with friends about all the free resources online for teaching school at home. I feel grateful to have so many amazing resources. I will be the best home-schooling mom ever! Feeling confident!

04:00:00 Feeling confident I will never use any of these resources. I turn on Netflix. School's out till fall.

06:30:00 The kids are playing so nicely. It really is lovely to have this extra time with family, building memories and cherishing every moment.

06:32:45 Both kids are crying. I apply a Band-Aid to my older kid because the younger one pushed him off the bed. I have a headache, but there is no aspirin in the house. My husband is pouring wine instead. I tell him to pour a small glass. We have to ration the important stuff.

07:15:00 My sore throat has gotten worse. I inform my husband I have COVID-19. He informs me that a sore throat is a symptom of having yelled at the kids. I pour more wine.

08:30:00 Giggles can be heard from the playroom. I thank the kids for playing so nicely.

08:31:00 The kids want Teddy Grahams. We don't have Teddy Grahams. We have never had Teddy Grahams. How do they even know about Teddy Grahams? Do Teddy Grahams still exist? The kids say it is an emergency. I remind them about the sickness. I remind them that we can only go out for something very important, that to go out is to risk spreading the sickness or getting very sick. The kids say they don't mind; they can risk my getting sick.

08:31:10 I remember that complimenting kids for playing nicely always backfires.

10:00:00 The kids decide to become chefs. They play in the kitchen, creating fun food concoctions. This is what family togetherness is all about. They ask me to try the "stew" they made out of mustard, grapes, milk, crackers, relish and hard-boiled eggs. If I die during the crisis, it won't be from COVID-19.

12:00:00 It's the kids' bedtime. We made it through day one. I consider how the stress accompanying the day wasn't actually because the day was stressful. It came from the expectation of home schooling and the awareness that there is something ugly spreading around the world that made the day feel heavier and more taxing than any other day spent at home. I just need to check my own anxiety and we will be fine. There's nothing actually difficult about staying in isolation. We've got this.

13:00:00 The youngest child calls me in from her bed, as usual, to get a cup of milk. I walk to the fridge. The milk is gone. Where is all the milk? I stocked up to last us at least three weeks. My kid says the milk was used for stew. Did I like the stew? I tell the youngest that there is no more milk but she can drink stew. She cries. The stew is disgusting. She needs milk. I remind her we all have to make sacrifices. I say I am not going to the store. Absolutely not.

13:30:00 I'm at the store buying milk. And Teddy Grahams. And ink to print out the resources for home schooling. And art supplies, board games and toys for when I give up on home schooling. And wine. So much wine. The essentials.

Tomorrow is a new day.

Katiedid Langrock is author of the book "Stop Farting in the Pyramids," available at Like Katiedid Langrock on Facebook, at To find out more about her and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at

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