Reporter Matthew Nash

Reporter Matthew Nash

Reporter’s Notebook: Rock, paper, lava: conversations with my kids about COVID-19

A bike ride or a LEGO-building session with my boys seems to bring the humor.

While making the loop around our neighborhood, we saw some neighbors chatting. As the boys and I had discussed, if we saw people it’s best to keep some distance. As we rolled by from afar, my 5-year-old waved and yelled, “Hey, have you heard of the virus?!”

To that point, I’d never heard him mention it or express any concern, but I’m guessing he assumes that’s what adults talk about all the time.

For my 5-year-old, his fears center more on volcanoes and bears; he’s all about being melted by lava or being eaten by a large beast. Last week, I listened in to one of his many concerns as I rubbed my hands for another round of hand sanitizer.

We strive to keep virus talk at home between mom and dad to quiet voices to diminish any potential fear in our boys.

Our 5-year-old’s imagination goes from the depths of the ocean to unexplored areas of space, so bringing in a concept like a virus doesn’t seem like the best idea.

In recent weeks, he’s been quizzing me on who hunts predators, like lions and tigers and such.

5-year-old: Who eats hammerhead sharks?

Me: Orcas, I’m guessing.

5-year-old: Who eats humans?

Me: Sick people! Zombies. Never do that!

Of course, I say this to a child with a palette of three favorite foods.

Rinse, repeat

Being in the news business, it’s unavoidable to experience the sea of information on COVID-19.

In recent weeks, I’ve read multiple articles about how to talk to your children about novel coronavirus, and they’ve sounded sensible.

Before writing a column, I wanted to talk to my boys’ doctor, and she reiterated similar sentiment to the articles. For children, we treat it similar to flu and cold prevention — wash your hands often, cover your coughs and sneezes with your elbow (like Batman or Dracula), don’t touch your face and stay home when sick.

Or now, just stay home all the time.

My 7-year-old has asked some questions about the virus with some accompanying anxiety but we’ve presented what we know; healthy children like him should do fine so long as they stay safe. We emphasize the basics the doctor mentioned so that we don’t get people ill who might be more susceptible. He did throw a zinger at me the other day.

7-year-old: Dad, I feel funny.

Me: You probably just need to drink some water.

7-year-old: Do I have puberty?

Going from talking about a pandemic to puberty has definitely put a stress on my parenting knowledge.

This year was already a weird one with snow closures for Sequim, which delayed my boys’ original doctor visit. We rescheduled prior to local cancellations starting up.

Just going to the doctor’s office was a concern even for a check-up for two healthy children. As health officials are saying, phone ahead if you have symptoms of COVID-19, like sneezing and coughing and/or a fever, before coming in.

When we pulled up to the clinic, the parking lot was barren.

Inside the clinic, I noticed pamphlets, books and toys had been removed for safety purposes.

My 5-year-old surprised us all by bringing in some flowers he picked from our front lawn for the clerk at check-in. She put them in water.

I think we all melted.

Once in the examination room, my 7-year-old had to put on a gown for his wellness check, which as an already shy child, he wasn’t too keen on.

7-year-old *in his cute voice*: Can I just say I’m OK and she goes bye bye?

Take me out to the ball game in the backyard

Both boys got one practice in for their Little League seasons before virus regulations postponed their tee-ball and pitching machine seasons and opening day.

We were also readying for swimming lessons, which are on hold too.

For our 5-year-old, he was starting his second year of tee-ball with many of his friends. His coach started with teaching the bases and positions.

Coach *while assigning positions*: Who wants to play pitcher?

5-year-old: I want to play Tee-ball.

We all do.

We all want to get back to playing, driving, seeing our friends, sitting in church or the movie theater. It’s a weird time but we need to keep finding the humor.

Reach Matthew Nash at

More in Opinion

Don Brunell
Guest opinion: Coronavirus spurring air cargo growth

It’s no secret that airlines and airplane manufacturers have been clobbered by… Continue reading

Crystal Linn
Aging Successfully: Gratitude, thankfulness and mental health

Have you ever stopped to consider the differences between the words gratitude… Continue reading

Sara Brabant dresses as “Weird Al” Yankovic for Halloween saying “my hair was just right.” She reminds us all to have fun as we can in these weird times. Photo courtesy of Oak Table Cafe
Reporter’s Notebook: Weird, wild and thankfulness

“Well, that’s weird!” Bill said of the funny coincidence. “No, that’s just… Continue reading

Jeremy Field, regional administrator for the U.S. Small Business Administration (courtesy photo)
Guest opinion: Shopping small for 2020 holiday season needed more than ever

It’s no secret that the Coronavirus pandemic has made a huge impact… Continue reading

Guest opinion: A climate changes-based apology

An apology to family and friends: I have been well prepared by… Continue reading

Don Brunell
Guest opinion: Military diversity’s lifeline

Diversity in the ranks has been the lifeline of our all-volunteer military,… Continue reading

USEPA Photo by Eric Vance. Public domain image
Being Frank: A time to remember

This fall marks the 50th anniversary of an event that sparked the… Continue reading

Kris Johnson is president of the Association of Washington Business, the state’s chamber of commerce and manufacturers association.
Guest opinion: Washington needs manufacturing to lead the economic recovery

Kaitlyn Pype wasn’t sure what she wanted to do with her life,… Continue reading

Guest opinion: Time for our communities to come together

Time for our communities to come together To our communities: We are… Continue reading

Linda B. Myers
From the Back Nine: And the winner is …

This “opinion piece” will run the day after the election; I am… Continue reading

Bertha Cooper
Think About It: ‘Children will listen’

“Careful the things you say. Children will listen.” Some of you will… Continue reading

Letters to the Editor — Oct. 28, 2020

‘Fear-mongering’ flyers defy reality I received a baseless, fear-mongering flier by the… Continue reading