Batteries and Bunnies: Parenting Big Kids in Quarantine

I’m going to let you in on a secret: The Iowa City Moms Contributers talk to each other. Each month, before a deadline, our editor asks what we’re going to write about. Topics are suggested; ideas are bandied about.

This month, I lamented that I just didn’t know. I’m not an expert at making guides or graphics. My recipe skills are lacking. My creativity is at an ebb. One of my fellow contributors suggested, “Why don’t you write about having older kids during the pandemic? I feel like I haven’t read as much about that.”

The truth is, there’s not much to say about my older kids. Which is really, really good.

They’re 13, 16, and 19. They stay out of my way when I’m working. They can make their own food and when they’re quiet for hours, it’s because they’re reading or watching Netflix in their rooms, not because they’re making mischief like younger kids can do. I’ve heard the horror stories about other big kids, who are sneaking out of the house to infect their significant others, or vaping, or generally causing mayhem.

I’m glad my kids aren’t doing that.

What they are doing is asking me increasingly random questions, with no discernible reason or answer. A few recent examples:

What’s your favorite kind of battery?

How do you feel about VHS tapes?

What if the three of us were triplets, which year would we have been born?

What if I poked my sister? How do you think she would react? (This one usually has a demonstrable hypothesis and outcome; i.e., she will be annoyed.)

Actual exchange between my oldest two:

“How do you feel about knife throwing?”
“I’m an expert at it.”

(Narrator: She is not.)

These children, easy care and good company that they are, do have one major disadvantage to toddlers, and that is that you cannot just make them go to bed.

“I’m not tired!” “I don’t have anywhere to go!” etc. And of course right about when I’m trying to go to bed is when all of their pent up thoughts and random questions come out.

“Wait, where were Max and Ruby’s parents? Why do they wear pants?” (cue discussion on both absent cartoon parents and the nature of anthropomorphized animals)

“Mom, can you stop the pandemic?” (I wish, kid.)

I also get asked “How you doing, Mom?” about 50 times a day, to the point where I’m starting to think I must appear to have something really wrong with me, or else why would they keep asking?

My favorite battery? Double AA, I guess. Seems the most useful.

VHS tapes were the bomb back in the day when you needed to record your favorite show.

If they were all triplets I’m not sure I would have survived.

And please stop poking your sister.


Sharon Falduto is a Central Iowa native who came to University of Iowa in 1991 and essentially never left the area. She is involved in local community theater, notably as one of the co-founders of Iowa City's Dreamwell Theatre. She has also directed children's plays with the Young Footliters group. Sharon works in with English Language Learners in a support position at Kirkwood Community College.. She lives in Coralville with her husband, Matt, and three daughters Rachel, Samantha, and Piper.


  1. Sharon, this was just a piece I needed: short and sweet. And it’s full of wits that make the big kids and bigger adults in your family so charming. Thanks for sharing the story!
    and yes, VHS tapes were the bomb!


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