Friday, April 23, 2021

Interaction budget

 Ok! Heres' the framework we have developed to interacting in a COVID world now that we are both fully vaccinated, and it has been over 2 weeks since our last dose.

For me, it makes sense to think of an interaction budget. If we were sending our 4 big kids back to their 3 different school buildings, this would be our entire budget. We would spend it all on school and the associated risks of all those cohorts. Since we are not, we have more interaction "dollars" to spend, so here's how we're spending them:

1. Return to in-person dance. Dorothy is thrilled, and the recital is outdoors again this year. Her class is well-spaced; everyone wears masks. The social distancing protocols in the building are excellent, and they have been open safely for months. We feel great about this one. ProTip: Both she and Cooper like double masking better than single-masking because they find that their cloth masks get wet (barf), so they enjoy wearing a kiddie-sized surgical mask underneath.

2. Little League for all 3 boys. Even though our county relaxed its outdoor mask mandate (WHYYYYYYY?) most people still wear masks. Everyone stays 6-feet apart, and Ben is coaching Cooper's team. Harry and Jack are very good social-distancers.

3. Umpiring for Jack and Harry. Little League is doing a really good job, you guys.

4. Summer job for Harry. He is working the front desk at the pool. He'll double mask with an N-95 on the bottom, but I think the real risk will be hanging out with work friends, not the job itself.

5. Pool, dive, and tennis this summer. We might get the 3 middle kids private lessons together instead of having them join groups, but Harry can play tournaments if he wants to. We did the pool last year, and Jack dove, but this summer, we are letting Coop dive, too, and adding tennis.

6. Gymnastics and dance camps for Dorothy this summer.

7. Small birthday party for Jack. He is having 3 friends over to watch a movie in the back yard. They will wear masks and stay 6 feet apart. They texted me their orders for Crumbl cookies and individual pizzas, and we will have popcorn/ movie candy/ soda/hand sanitizer on their chairs. Jack's grade has not returned to in-person school yet, and none of these kids is going back anyway.

8. ACUPUNCTURE! I went yesterday, and it was angels-singing awesome.

9. Outdoor meet ups with vaccinated friends: This one is tricker because we are being really careful with the kids, and I am not ready to take Minnie out to restaurants, etc, but we are figuring it out a little at a time. I have big plans for brunch, lunch, baby walks, and a pedicure.

10. Neighbor friends: All the big kids have at least one person they can play with masked and outdoors, and this is fantastic. Jack and Harry do not play obviously, but you get the idea.

So, that's how we're using our interaction budget. Since we are both working from home (me until September when I will lecture once a week in person and am already thrilled about it and Ben until this summer sometime) and keeping the kids home, we have a little more freedom to venture out in controlled ways. I think if we had exposure at work and school, we would do less besides those things, and that factored into our decision to keep the kids home. This is obviously different for people who have fewer kids or who have less risky people at home. Hopefully, kids Harry and Jack's age can get vaccinated soon, and we can worry even less, you know?

What about you? How are you living your COVID lives these days?


  1. Anonymous7:39 PM

    I love the idea of thinking about exposure as a budget!

    We sent our kids back in person for the final few weeks of school, so that is the bulk of our budget. We do occasionally see select families who have similar exposure, only outside and everyone masked.

  2. Evan and Ebeth work (law office and retail respectively), Evan is fully vaccinated and Ebeth gets her second shot in a couple weeks.
    We homeschool, so we are ok with one on one voice, piano,and guitar lessons (masked and distanced). Neighborhood friend playing outside with masks (but as our neighbors get vaccinated, we are allowing outdoor play without masks more). The JV squad are participating in The Studio's summer theater production, but I am very impressed with their seriousness in taking the restrictions seriously. We have started letting the boys run errands with us again once a week. We to Mass weekly,but our diocese hasbeen awesome about following guidelines. We have a couple families we interact indoors with, but they are vaccinated and limiting their bubbles still,too.
    So, more than others, less than some. Reevaluating as needed.