Pandemic journal: Day 14

Friday, March 27, 7:49 AM

Day 14 of voluntary social distancing, Day 11 of mandatory shelter-in-place, Day 8 of statewide shelter-in-place

Theme of the week: space

The US now has more confirmed COVID-19 cases than any other country in the world. Since we’re massively undertesting, we probably could have have reported this number days or weeks ago. 

It’s now day 14 since we started social distancing. I’m still not convinced I’m not sick, but I’m feeling better. I suppose my fatigue and achiness could be down to all the dance I’ve been doing, which truly isn’t that much, but it’s way more than I used to do in a week. Plus there’s the mental and emotional strain of the pandemic. And I’ve been getting less sleep, because I’m up early to write but staying up later since I have so little time to myself during the day. And some friends are only online late. I suppose I’ll need to stop staying up… but being present with friends feels especially important right now. 

Yesterday wasn’t too bad. I did some tidying. I had an unexpected conversation with a friend I haven’t talked to in maybe a couple of years, about something I haven’t been able to confide in most people. That was affirming. 

I don’t remember what I did after preschool circle time. Owl probably made more art; they’ve been doing so much of that, I ordered 2 more packs of the paper they’ve been enjoying. There was an afternoon science activity from preschool. At some point in the afternoon they got that bratty energy they develop when I’m setting many limits all at once and which often happens in the afternoons anyway when they start to get tired. They wanted to play with their dustpan and brush, and I decided to let that go, but said they had to wash their hands afterward. They then continued shrieking and playing with it and when I saw them shake it over the table where we eat I swooped, snatched it up, wiped the table, removed the drinking glasses that had been nearby, and carried Owl to the bathroom to forcefully wash their hands; all the while they complained and hit or grabbed my clothes when they could reach. I did my best to channel our teachers’ patience and compassion, but afterward Owl picked up and flung their backpack. I closed the kid gate and left them on the other side, which upset them. I said they were in the red zone and they said tearfully that they were not, they were in the blue zone. They asked for a hug, I said, I’d like to give you one, but earlier you were being unkind with my body. They said they would be gentle. I said I closed the gate because they were not treating their things with respect. Could I trust them enough to open the gate again or should I just climb over it? They said climb over it, which is kind of funny, like, are they acknowledging they are out of control? So I climbed over and we had 2 hugs, with a playful kiss “removal” when I thought they wanted one and it turned out I misheard, and then they went back to drawing in the other room, apparently happily, and soon returned to show me they had cut me an adorable little heart. I felt proud of myself for handling the outburst without losing it myself. Afterward I put my headphones on and settled into the happy chair for some quiet time of my own, but I think Owl felt more connected to me after our moment together because they kept coming back to show me their art or tell me about it, and it was interesting to hear their process but also of course it was a constant interruption of whatever I was trying to do, and after awhile it wore on me. But I did try once again to channel the teachers and give my attention so I took my headphones off when they approached, and tried to really listen and make reasonable remarks. It seemed to be pretty connective for Owl and I was still able to get some space on the noise and constant input. 

I sent a fair number of check-in messages yesterday, mostly unresponded-to so far, but I didn’t expect replies right away and I was glad for the ones I did get. I was glad to feel resourced enough to send these, after Saturday when I felt like all I’d done was check in on others without anyone doing the same for me. 

Words painted on a store window requesting customers to socially distance while in line

After E “came home” from work I vegged out more fully for a bit before going for a 25 min walk. I’d been really stuck with fear and anxiety and inertia all week and hadn’t gotten out at all, and it felt glorious to be outdoors. I didn’t bother to put on a bra. I decided I didn’t care. And it was fine. Then I came home and did dance class and it made me so happy (as opposed to Tuesday when I was just tired). It’s helping so, so much with my mood and energy and movement. I’m so grateful.

After dance E had made veg and rice and salmon (the salmon was my idea; I’d defrosted it 1-2 days earlier) and I got a text reply to my check-in with CA, saying she’d broken down crying earlier, so I offered a call and she said yes. 

I’m a little concerned by how fast the ink in this pen is running out. I only refilled it a week ago. I guess I’ve been writing a fair bit. I ordered more refills last week; I think I ordered 10, which seemed excessive at the time but maybe it isn’t. They’ve arrived already, along with some extra journals, and are now sitting out in our hallway with our other parcels, decontaminating…  

Sending loving thoughts to those who are finding their ongoing mental health challenges exacerbated by the pandemic, or those who have developed new challenges during this time.