DEAR HARRIETTE: My son's school is currently virtual. They have introduced what they call a "recess room" where all students from the school can interact in a Zoom room and play games and activities during the day. I have noticed that my son has clicked with one female student in particular. She looks somewhat older, but she is a schoolmate. Now my son is asking to have a playdate with this student.
I asked him how old she was, and he didn't know. I asked him what grade she was in, and she's in the 8th grade -- my son is only in the 4th grade. I just feel like that is too big of an age difference. He expressed that he really likes this girl and he wants to have a date with her at our home. Is this inappropriate at his age, or do you think it's harmless? I have some concerns and don't know my next move. -- Young Love
DEAR YOUNG LOVE: Bringing the young lady into your home for a playdate that you can supervise gives you intel and control. You can decide where they can be in your home. You can be present or at least within earshot. Children are often curious about each other. Though they are in two very different age groups, there is a chance that they can truly become friends. If it seems suspicious or anyway untoward, you can have a front seat to it and control it.
During remote learning and general quarantine, you have more control today than you might have later when things open up. You should definitely speak to the girl's parent or guardian before inviting her over so that everything is out in the open.
DEAR HARRIETTE: I am a musician, and most of my income comes from shows I play in for artists. On most days when I am not working, I am a stay-at-home dad. I write my own music at home in my studio when the kids are at school. My wife recently began working from home as well. This is new for both of us. In addition, the kids are only going to school now half of the week. My wife and I began sharing the office so that we could both get away from the kids when they were doing their schoolwork.
Sharing an office with my wife has been difficult. She has certain habits and tics that help her think, but they drive me crazy! I can't concentrate with her in the same room while she's also trying to concentrate. I would move to a different room in the house, but all of the materials I need are in my office, and it's my safe space that I am used to working in. But I feel bad asking my wife to work somewhere else simply because I find a few of her habits annoying. How do we compromise so we can get both of our work done at the same time? -- Noisy Workspace
DEAR NOISY WORKSPACE: I have two suggestions. Tell your wife about the things that she does that bother you, and ask her to be mindful of them. She may not even realize that she is disturbing you. Second, invest in noise-canceling headphones that will cut down the outside sounds considerably.