Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Earthquake -- Wow! + Tips on Talking to kids

Just think, yesterday morning, I was saying to myself, "What in the world am I going to blog about tomorrow?"

Well, what a difference a day makes! That earthquake was a shocker.

First off, I hope everyone is well and suffered no injuries to self or property.

Second, I'll share my earthquake story. I'm sure everyone has one. I was in the movie theater and I felt the seat shaking. So many thoughts crossed my mind -- and earthquake was not among them. I was watching a battle scene in Rise of Planet of the Apes. So, my first thought was, "this theater doesn't do 4-d, does it? Are we supposed to feel like we're in the battle, the roaring helicopter blades and giant pounding chimps shaking us in our seats?" No, no, no, I told myself. Somebody in the row must be doing something that's causing the seats to shake. I look down the row -- I was the only person in it. No person. Construction?  No.  

I looked up at the giant speaker above my head, and said to myself, "you need to move." So, I went into the aisle and down a few steps (stadium seating). I guess, at that point, I felt like it was just a back row thing, so I wanted to move out of that row. The theater was still shaking. The lady seated in the row I stopped at yells at me, "It's an earthquake, you need to sit down." And I thought, really, no, I feel better standing, and being able to move out of the way if I see something falling toward me.  Of course, in the far corner, a panel falls from the ceiling, almost whacking a patron in the head. I was like, wow! Then, the quake stopped. And I waited for more, but no more came. Phew.

It was very odd to experience an earthquake in Maryland. I did go from the theater to m kids' school. I tried calling on the way over, but no answer. And when I got there, they were all outside, baking in the sun. I was glad I got there when I did, because my kids go to a "late school," which means they get dismissed late in the day, 3:40. They actually have to wait for buses that have finished dropping off kids from "early schools" to complete those routes. So, occasionally, a bus won't even make it to school until 4:30 or 5. Anyway, the kids would have had to wait out there another hour if I hadn't gotten there when I did, because they weren't letting anyone back in the school until someone had checked the structural integrity of the building. That was my first clue there would be no school today. I thought, it's gonna take a long time to check all the county school buildings.

And sure enough, they cancelled school. Oh well.

My children actually thought the earthquake was pretty cool, and were kind of excited about it. So, they don't seem to have been scarred by the experience, which is good. If your kids are having more trouble with it, here's a tip sheet from the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry about how to talk to your kids about earthquakes and other natural disasters.

And in case you're wondering what to do in a future earthquake (though, I hope there aren't any more. I moved to Maryland with the expectation that there would be no quakes), FEMA has a tip sheet.

That's all for now. I must now plan my day with the kids, since there's no school. 

Have a good one.

-Hyattsville Mom

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