Pom-pom pets & more

Watson family COVID-coping: craft projects, trivia, and bubbles

For those who do not know, I am the eldest of five; my four siblings all being boys. My family is spread out across Victoria and NSW. From the Bellarine Peninsular to Bendigo, Melbourne to Sydney, and home to Bells Beach. All the boys are married with kidletss. So you can imagine it's a challenge at the best of times to get the Watson clan together.

If there is one positive thing that the COVID-19 pandemic has brought to us it's connectivity. What was the odd birthday phone call and, individual family catch-ups, weekends at home, and holiday gatherings, is now a weekly Sunday night Zoom dinner.

Long-distance dinner time

Is it manic and can it be crazy? Absolutely! There's generally an excited or teary little one, and cross-conversations galore. Forced-muting by the host is not uncommon. But each week, each of us in our respective homes pops a webcam on the table and we have dinner together; pesto gnochi for Vinnie's fourth birthday, cake and hats for Maddy's 18th, pasta making in the kitchen, a raised glass of bubbles for the wins, and virtual hugs for the losses.

We've been able to:

* see the youngest (now 18 months old) embrace the world, wave and giggle at peek-a-boo;

* watch and learn how to make paper frogs in a tutorial from a five year old;

* workshop salami making techniques;

* check on teen hair colouring results;

* share home work/school challenges;

* compare the weekend bottles dusted off from respective cellars;

* connecting from within a sheet-fort building project;

* get weekly updates on home renovations; and,

* share in some firsts - tofu for dinner in Bendigo (thumbs up from the five year old with a three out of five rating, and sitting on the fence from the four year old).

Trivia and puzzles

Each week there are two quizes; one for the kids (how well do you know your compound words?) and for the older 'kids' the Sunday Age Trivia and nine-letter word.

I now know the name of the red ninja in Ninjago, Bluey's mum's name, and where the Queen Maud Mountains are (FYI they are in Antarctica).

COVID-craft project

To add to the fun, I arranged delivery of kits to each family home with instructions to make pom-pom pets. It was on for young an old. There's been 'by-the-book' creations and 'off book' free-styling.

I'll admit, some of my creations frighten me. I'm pretty sure the monkey is out to get me. And the chicken is colluding with him. Something it not right there. And the frog just looks downright unhappy.

Dad used the cat for his inspiration...