After 51 days in a 750sq ft apartment without any outdoor space with twin toddler boys we decided packing up the family and leaving NYC was necessary for our mental and physical wellbeing and left to stay in a home with a yard.

Quality Time

During those first 51 days there were awesome things that happened: we got to spend quality time as a family unit free of distractions, the boys enjoyed daily art projects, dance parties, and virtual music classes, we enjoyed watching their joy when we turned our living room into a bounce house (until our cat popped it), a secret fortress, an obstacle course, hot wheels raceway stadium, and the like, we watched their awe and as caterpillars became butterflies, we had wheelbarrow races, we clapped nightly for all the helpers and first responders out our living room window, and many more amazing family experiences that we might not have had in the absence of a pandemic, but the struggle was real.

Teaching about Germs

While in the city the first thing we realized was that in addition to keeping out twins occupied inside all day, we had to teach our 2.5 year olds about germs in a way that wouldn’t terrify them but would also stick with them.As 2.5 year olds, they were gaining independence and had their own “jobs”, but now we had to take some of those “jobs” away and reign in their independence.  We started by showing them a picture of the actual Covid-19 virus, explaining it can be anywhere but we can’t see it so we always have to wear our masks outside of our apartment and if we touch anything or fall down we have to use sanitizer. It was hard to teach them after all this time of being allowed to, that they couldn’t touch the elevator buttons, close the apartment door for us, use our keys to open the building and apartment doors, or help get the mail. The first week felt like all we did was yell “no! don’t touch that!” but after a few days we, learned to speak more calmly about it, we talked more about “the germ” and they really grasped the concept quite fast.


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We explained that there are many, many helpers that are working to keep everyone safe and healthy and to help take the germ away.  There were times we didn’t leave our apartment for 5 days in a row.  When we did leave the apartment, we took a walk around the block. Once the kids started asking to go to the park we had to explain that “the germ” could be there and until “the helpers” make everyone better, we need to stay home and be a helper too. A couple of nights at 7pm we walked to our local Emergency Room and stood outside and clapped for “the helpers” to help explain to them that the doctors and nurses are like superheroes and are fighting to make the germ go away.

Routine

They got in a rhythm and they learned to always wear their mask when we leave our apartment.  They learned to take off their shoes before coming inside in the apartment and to wash their hands right away before touching anything or taking off their masks. We are very lucky to have very close relationships with some neighbors in our building so it was also important to teach them about keeping space between people and not running up to hug them.

Below is some of our YouTube list of our germ video favorites:

Journey of a germ- Sid the Science Kid

Daniel the Germ-Fighting Superhero

What is coronavirus-The Dr Binocs show

The ABC’s of COVID-19: A CNN/Sesame Street Town Hall for Kids and Parents

Germs Germs Go Away: Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood

About the author

Mindy Darwish is TLC’s NYC Associate and a proud mom to fraternal twin boys, Phinn and Sam. Prior to having her twins, Mindy was a career nanny who spent 15 years caring for children ranging in age from newborn to teens.  She is well versed in different child-rearing practices and supportive products. Raised in Miami, Mindy moved to NYC 11 years ago. She and her wife learned a lot during a difficult pregnancy highlighted by 5 weeks of bedrest and a 12 day NICU stay for her boys after they were delivered at 35 weeks. Mindy has immersed herself in the twin community and is a member of multiple twin groups and mom meet up groups. You can reach Mindy at mindy@twinloveconcierge.com for more details on our NYC services.