Monday, March 23, 2020

Homebound, Continued.

We are now officially off of spring break and into whatever this new normal is for the foreseeable future. Right now, our schools are saying they will be back in session after April 3. Two nearby districts have already called off through the end of the year. It's hard to imagine that we'll go back.

We haven't really talked about that possibility with the girls. They were bummed about not being able to go visit my parents this past weekend. Zuzu actually said to me, "I would rather get sick than not see my friends or grandparents!" which I can understand and is also clearly the kind of short-sighted philosophy a lot of people are practicing.

I just read about a twelve-year-old who has Covid 19 and is not doing well. She has no significant underlying health issues and they're not sure how she contracted it. At first, my worries were mostly for other people, but keeping myself and my family healthy is also a major concern at this point.

It's my friends in the medical field that have me freaked out. I'm limiting news exposure but the dystopian novel vibes are unavoidable.

I guess we are homeschooling, although I'm calling it homeschooling lite. We start the day with math and then read a book and after that we are very flexible. Right now the girls are rollerskating on the deck. It's cold outside--high in the upper 40s today. We had real actual snow yesterday which was kind of pretty but all I want is sunshine and 70 degree weather. The end of this week looks promising.

I am missing uninterrupted time more than anything else. The ability to concentrate on anything without being asked for a drink of water or having to run to see why Coco is crying (the answer is almost always Zuzu, but occasionally she bonked or scraped something, usually because of Zuzu). The ability to think about something with my whole brain instead of a part of me always watching the baby or thinking about what we're going to eat next. Ugh. Cooking and cleaning up is the worst and it's basically the rhythm of our whole life now.

I'm also a slave to the baby's schedule and she's trying to drop her morning nap which means her schedule is unpredictable and she's fussy but then will spend 20 minutes fighting a nap until I give up. Hoping this means she'll sleep longer in the afternoon, but who knows? Plus I think her teeth are bothering her, so we're not sleeping well at night either.

I put on a sweater with leggings instead of a hoodie today so that feels like work clothes. David had Zoom meetings scheduled from 8-10 so at 10 we switch so that he's parenting and I'm headed down to the basement to work for a couple of hours without being interrupted (hopefully... somehow interruptions seem to work differently for Mama than they do for Dad at our house).

I'm stressing out quite a bit about Cooper. I think I wrote about taking him to the vet a couple weeks ago and they thought it was an infected tooth. They gave him antibiotics and that did the trick, so he went for another visit on Friday. David drove him but had to wait in the car--it was paws-only allowed in the office. They came out to the car and got Cooper, then called David on the phone to talk through the exam. His tooth is better. He's not a good candidate for surgery so we watch and if there's a problem, we can do another round of antibiotics. Unfortunately, he's injured his other leg. Tore his doggy ACL in his good leg. So he's really having trouble walking. He's on meds for that, which should help his joints, and he'll take these meds indefinitely. The new deck should help since he has fewer steps and can walk out even with the yard, but he's so set in his ways that he wants to follow his old path and he seems confused by the change. And he's having a lot of accidents.

We have him wearing a diaper basically all the time, but then we have to take it off of him when he goes outside. Then we have scenarios like the one that just played out, where he wants to go outside so I remove his diaper and let him out. Then I go back to checking e-mail, feeding the baby cheerios, whatever, and a few minutes later he wants in. He can't really get himself up the little step to get inside, so I lift him up and haul him in the house. He then walks down the hallway and as soon as he steps on the carpet in the living room, he pees.

Clearly I need to put a diaper on him the minute he gets in the house, but I really thought he would go while he was out. It's so frustrating and I feel so bad for him and I worry that things are going to get worse instead of better.

While I'm complaining, I'd like to also say that all I did this weekend was clean up messes that were not mine. Spilled drinks, chewed up stuffies (Clementine IS STILL CHEWING and is officially THE WORST DOG EVER except she's mostly not peeing in the house except I did discover a random spot in the guest room so she must have gotten locked in there), baby food puree, dirty diapers, dog pee, and in spite of this constant wack-a-mole of wiping up grossness and daily vacuuming, the whole house still feels dirty. Five people and two dogs being together at home 24 hours a day just dirty up a house, you know? It's not like you can straighten it up before leaving for work and then come home to a tidy living room.

Relevant side note: Do you know what I hate? Blanket forts. Like just leave my pillows and couch cushions where they belong. How dare you want to have imaginative childhood play? I just washed all the throw blankets and I actually don't want them on the floor or draped over dog crates. Just sit quietly on the couch without moving the perfectly fluffed pillows, okay?

(I actually clench my jaw and take deep breaths and let them build their blanket forts but oh my word I just need the weather to warm up so I can send them outside with beach towels to build forts on the swing set and hammock.)

Last night after all the kids were in bed, David patted the couch next to him and said, "Come sit by me." I replied, "I'm just going to sit over here with no one touching me for a little while."

Of course the baby is all over me all day, but when she's not, Coco wants to be on my lap and also has started wanting to kiss me (perfect new thing start doing during a pandemic). It is SO MUCH closeness and I love snuggling them so much but also I get to the point where I want to claw my neck skin off.

David had to go into work yesterday and open the building so teachers could gather belongings and students could come pick up medicines. I kept asking him to tell me more about his day because my day was NOTHING. NOTHING HAPPENED.

Enough complaining. Let's talk about the good things.

On Saturday morning, I had a Zoom meeting with friends from college and we drank coffee and checked in, which was delightful.

The girls want to have a morning meeting, so each day we talk about the weather, the date, the plans for the day, and do an emotional check-in. My favorite thing Zuzu taught me is if someone is describing how they are feeling and you can connect with it, you close your pointer finger and thumbs together in a circle and link them together so they're connected. It's like a silent way to say, "Me too!"

The sweetest thing is that the girls have both been emotionally at a 5 (the happiest) because we're all here together. I am so grateful that they get along so well and keep each other entertained. I expect they'll get a little tired of each other, and it's not like there's never any bickering, but they really are such good friends. It has definitely made the social distancing easier, although they miss their friends from school, too.

Since their schools are just back from spring break today, we will hear more later this week about "distance learning." Coco's school plans to have lots of Zoom meetings, at least with the kindergarteners, so that should be interesting. The girls facetimed with friends yesterday (another pair of sisters the same age) and they were sooooo wild and silly.

So I guess this is our new normal for however long this lasts. My thoughts are with the healthcare workers who are putting themselves out there every day and with the service industry workers who are coping with sudden unemployment. We are doing our part to stay home and flatten the curve. And sending lots of love out into the universe.

And I am really so grateful that we are all here. That we are all home and safe and healthy. That we have a house with a basement that is providing a quiet workspace. That I have a pandemic partner and co-parent I actually like. That we have technology and wifi and streaming entertainment. But it's still hard to sit in uncertainty, and that's where we all are. It could be much worse, but normal life is much better!


  1. Well said! I'm in a pretty similar situation but without a baby (kudos to you) and it's hard! But not nearly as hard as it could be. Solidarity.

  2. I just saw this. We ended up getting a nugget...well 3 (it's kinda like PBK chairs with foam inserts and covers except it is in pieces so you can make it into a couch or chair or whatever. It has been our saving grace for quarantine time. When Ethan and Matthew are fighting too much I can redirect Ethan to making a fort and he will sit in it with his tablet and chill out. Plus they can make jumping obstacles and stuff too for active play. They are kinda pricey though but wash and hold up really well.

    Hang in there, looks like you guys are doing awesome!