Pandemic journal: day 12

Wednesday, March 25, 7:52 AM 

Day 12 of voluntary social distancing, Day 9 of mandatory shelter-in-place, Day 6 of statewide shelter-in-place

Theme of the week: space 

I’m finding myself increasingly on edge as reports come in about what COVID-19 can look like in the early stages. NOT that I think I, or anyone in the house, has it, but it’s like reading medical advice online; one becomes hyper-aware of all the possible symptoms one is already exhibiting. Like my mouth tastes weird this morning; does that mean something? People are saying loss of smell and taste is one early symptom. Owl fell asleep yesterday during my Meetup; they don’t usually nap like that unless they’re sick. I’ve had the occasional very mild and short-lived headache — probably explained away by all the screen time — and right now I’m a little dizzy. Also, digestive upset. All incredibly mundane now that I write it all out. Really all so minor, and reasonable given the change in routine, as to be barely even worth mentioning. But I’m still anxious about it (as is also very natural). We’re very close to the 14-day mark of sheltering in place… surely we can feel safer after that? 

Owl and E are up now. Owl has adapted well to this notion of Mama writing in the mornings (though maybe that’s because it means more time with Papa), thank goodness.

I had a chance to talk very, very briefly with N yesterday, and she said Z has some kind of bug and she herself has a tickle in her throat. She’s strong and not in the at-risk groups. Again: I’m trying not to freak out. 

Yesterday was pretty good, though tiring because of an extraordinarily packed schedule of Zoom events: Owl’s preschool birthday circle at 11, a dance class for me right after, AGB’s birthday party right after that, another preschool activity at 1, a Meetup hangout at 2:30, SD’s birthday party at 4:30, another dance class for me at 6:15. And in between I also baked and frosted a dozen cupcakes with Owl’s help (for the three birthday parties), made flatbread, simmered beans, washed dishes, folded laundry, put away clean dishes, tidied the dining table, and helped Owl sort a pile of old artwork. I suppose Owl falling asleep during the Meetup helped me manage it all. It was stimulating, but all meaningful as well, especially Owl’s birthday circle; I was so moved by their teacher’s love and care in preparing their special song, their special birthday story, featuring Anansi and a shy, quiet, small deer who outsmarted him (chosen with Owl in mind, I wonder? Owl reads that way at school: small and quiet). Owl was utterly happy, and even more giddy with excitement when we tuned in again 2 hours later for the afternoon activity, laughing and joking with their friends, willingly doing the activity, volunteering to speak. My presence wasn’t even needed; I was able to fold laundry while staying nearby. That was a nice break. 

Flatbreads on a plate

I was surprised by how much happier and more connected I felt with Owl while we baked the cupcakes. I think I need to build in more time together… more quality time. But it’s very hard to motivate myself to do so when we’re together ALL DAY already.

The grown-up birthday parties were fun. Large video chats are awkward since everybody talks at once (or a few people dominate), but still, it’s amazing that in this moment it’s still possible to meet new people, especially when I’ve been hearing their names for years from my friends. 

Yellow cupcakes topped with chocolate ganache, on a rack

I had a funny all-things-converging moment as my Meetup Zoom was reaching the end of the allotted 40 minutes for free accounts*; people seemed interested in continuing so I was setting up a new call to post right after the first one ended, and then I heard the doorbell, and then a knock on the other door, and then my phone rang and I was thinking someone REALLY wants to deliver this package so I was trying to excuse myself from the video chat while still making sure I caught the timing on setting up the new one, and then the phone call wasn’t delivery at all but was N whom I’ve been trying to reach for days. I left my Meetup to fend for itself (which felt rude) while I talked to N (alas, also for only a few minutes while G napped). I hope we’ll get more of a conversation soon… and I hope she’s not sick. 

In the evening, after dinner, Owl was very quietly occupied with one of their activity books so E and I were able to hang out in the kitchen and talk while doing the cleanup. I even finished all the dishes and counters and had leisure to consider what to eat the next day, so I ended up soaking beans and washing spinach and beet greens, which gave us a head start for today. I thought, why don’t we do this more often? It doesn’t feel so impossible… but E pointed out that Owl usually has more demands in the evening. 

A bowl of cooked Rio Zape beans

Sending loving thoughts to those whose celebrations have been cancelled due to shelter-in-place. 

*I’ve since upgraded.