Popping a few bubbles – or some deep reflections prompted by screen time

boy sitting on chair beside table using tablet computer

Lorenzo has woken up with a fever. I felt it straight away when he got out of bed and hugged my legs to say good morning. His shoulders felt too hot – even for a warm summer morning. The thermometer proved me right. The paediatrician says it’s just a passing virus. I only hope it’s not the coronavirus. We’re vaccinated, but still: nobody wants to catch Covid.

The day gets turned upside down, together with my plans for this newsletter, for other work I expected of myself. We replan, regroup. Nacho has a busy day – and a deadline. Alejo, our friend who’s visiting, has a deadline. I have a deadline too, but mine feels more flexible and I take the first, longest shift with Lorenzo.

We paint. The watercolours go everywhere: on Lorenzo’s face and pants, on the floor, on the bathroom door. I get in the flow after a bit and create some stick children. I contemplate, briefly, whether I can learn to draw at my age. Then Lorenzo is ready for something new: we clean up and move on to puzzles. One of them pictures a submarine with an octopus as the captain and a purple jellyfish that Lorenzo insists is also an octopus. It is a complicated puzzle. Lorenzo does it several times. He gets frustrated, I help a little, he goes on to redo it. He gets bored. We play with his wooden blocks. We build a train, an office, a swimming pool. We design some scenes: a father, Nacho, working at his computer. Children jumping into the pool. A train full of animals. We move on to the books. We read The Gruffalo’s Child (twice, only half-way through, Lorenzo finds it less gripping than The Gruffalo), skim through

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