Hello from our little corner of the world. Life is very different these days and we are doing our best to manage all of it without alarming Dessa or losing our minds in the process. The overwhelming thought that I have is that this whole situation is mostly the same business as usual because we usually have a pretty low key schedule, but it’s also incredibly different because we never go anywhere to see anyone and the news reports of Coronavirus are so scary right now. I thought I’d pop in to share a quick update about what our new “normal” looks like. Many things have changed and our lives now look and feel different than they did at this time last week. I recently posed a question for Crazy Together followers on Facebook and Instagram asking what kind of content they want to see on the blog in light of our current situation. The response was overwhelming and everyone seemed to agree that our typical content brings a much-needed feeling of normalcy during a scary and unprecedented time in history, so I wanted to let you know that I am going to try and share as much as I possibly can while juggling two little ones at home.
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Rob and I are trying to keep things as normal as possible for Dessa. These are uncertain and difficult times for adults, but she is not equipped to handle the anxiety that comes from knowing too much. Fortunately, our TV is never on during the day, so Dessa doesn’t see or hear any news reports and we rarely discuss news headlines in front of her. We sometimes make an occasional vague statement (“5 more cases in Michigan” or “the temporary hospitals in China have closed” or “the local grocery store got a dairy shipment.”) but we are quickly learning that Dessa still picks up the little things we say and we are trying to cut back our discussions even more in her presence.
Thankfully, Dessa doesn’t know anything about the sickness going around and the word “coronavirus” doesn’t exist in her vocabulary. (If she did, she would mention it.) We are trying desperately to keep it that way and keep Dessa in her happy little bubble for as long as possible. I recently bought Dessa a toddler-friendly pair of plastic scissors (they don’t have any metal blades), gave them to her on Monday and Dessa has been cutting and cutting and cutting ever since. She started by snipping the edges of paper, then realized she could cut all the way across a piece of paper. Today she started cutting on top of a line that I drew on the paper with crayon. At this rate, Dessa will be cutting shapes with precision by the time we are done social distancing.
When the world around us was shutting down for the sake of social distancing, Rob and I made the decision to have our nanny stay home for a few weeks. We are thankfully in a financial position to still provide her salary for a few weeks while we wait to see how everything unfolds. Since Dessa doesn’t know anything about the events happening around us, I’ve had to get creative with my explanations for why things are different. So far I’ve told her that nanny is on vacation (lies) and that the park that she loves visiting on our neighborhood walks is broken and needs to be fixed (more lies). Dessa is much too smart for her own good and when she started asking about going to “a different park”, I had to tell her that all the parks are broken. Hearing about the broken parks has been very sad for her and after a few days, she started begging to go down the slide when we took our daily walk through the neighborhood.
Dessa is missing out on so many things that she loves right now, I tried to make up for the absence of playgrounds by getting a small slide for her to play on in the backyard. (I always swore I would avoid having giant plastic toys in my backyard at all costs, but these are desperate times.) I noticed that our neighbors two doors down had a small slide in their backyard that never gets used by their kindergarten-aged son. On a whim, I sent the wife a quick text offering to purchase the slide if they no longer wanted it. She texted back a few minutes later saying that she had checked with her son and he would sell it to us for $6 since he is 6 years old. What a bargain!
In hindsight, it’s really not the greatest slide for a 2 and a half-year-old. Dessa is already too big for it and just sort of awkwardly moves down the incline, rather than smoothly sliding down. Even though Dessa is decidedly too big for the slide, she loves it anyway and doesn’t seem bothered by the fact that she can’t actually slide her way down. Since it’s not the most effective slide, Dessa has begun to climb all over her new piece of playground equipment. I moved it away from any rocks, fences and hard surfaces in the yard to add a safety buffer. She already fell off the slide once and hasn’t gotten hurt. I’m just hoping my rough and tumble girl continues to stay safe while plays with her new toy.
Despite the sad questions about broken parks, our daily walks have been nice and I am so thankful to finally be outside in the fresh air with the kids. Sometimes I wear Harvey in our Ergobaby 360 carrier, and other times I put both kids in the stroller. I am so incredibly glad that Rob and I chose to invest in a Baby Jogger City Select stroller instead of a traditional double stroller when we planned for life with two young children. I have used the stroller dozens of times in several different configurations for one or both children and it has been a lifesaver. The stroller is compatible with our Graco infant carrier for the car (which is how Harvey had previously gone for stroller rides) but Harvey just started to sit in the second seat like a big kid in the Baby Jogger stroller. Dessa and Harvey love looking at each other while they go for rides and it adds an element of novelty to our walks.
We are keeping our distance from anyone and everyone that we possibly can right now. Rob leaves the house occasionally to check the mail at his office or pick up a few groceries, but that’s about it. Each time he returns from a trip away from home, Rob washes his hands, throws his clothes in the dirty laundry and takes a quick shower before he does anything else. We are trying our best to stay as healthy as possible right now.
With Rob working in the house and no nanny for support, the two of us have been working to find a schedule and a system that works for our family. The current plan is to set our alarms for 6am so I can work on the blog before the kids wake up. Rob also wakes up at 6am and does a little work or scrolls through social media until the kids wake up. At that point, he feeds them and helps get their day started. I take over responsibilities for the kids after I’ve had a chance to get something accomplished, at which point Rob “goes to work” for the day. We had to get a little creative to find a functional workspace for Rob that gives him a little bit of peace and privacy. The foyer for our front door seems to do the trick. It’s small, out of the way, and fairly private. Our front door is original to the house and the room is very drafty, but a space heater warms it up nicely. Rob has has a video conference call each morning with with his coworkers, then goes about his typical lawyer business throughout the day.
We’ve only been juggling our new work-from-home way of life for about four days and we are still getting into the swing of things. I pray that we can set a routine quickly, but our schedule is still pretty unpredictable. This morning Dessa wet the bed at 4 am, which in turn woke Harvey up and threw a wrench into our entire schedule for the day. We turned off the alarm because both of us were up from about 4 am-5 am, then I was back up with the kids at 7 while Rob got a little extra rest. And the rest of the schedule just unraveled from there.
Despite the numerous challenges of having all four of us at home all the time without any visitors, we are holding up fairly well. It helps that we are homebodies so we have a higher tolerance for this time at home than most people. I’m also incredibly glad that the weather is finally warming up enough to take Harvey outside for an extended length of time. It was a long, isolating winter for us because I was longing for fresh air and exercise and Dessa needed the chance to run and play, but it was too cold to bring Harvey out. I also enjoy the fact that we can all have lunch together as a family, but my favorite perk is that Rob gets “home from work” earlier than ever before since he just has to work through the entryway for his commute.
Now that the weekend is upon us once again, I’m excited to not stress so much about our daily schedule and just try to maintain the household tasks while enjoying our time together. Last Sunday, our family gathered upstairs in the playroom to watch live Mass from Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament in Detroit. Dessa was very confused to be going to “church” upstairs, but it’s just another aspect of our new way of life these days. I think we may change things up and stream Mass from a different church in the Archdiocese of Detroit. It may be the only change of scenery our family has for a while.
I sincerely hope that all of you are faring well in the face of our new challenges. Thank you so much for taking time from your very busy day to spend a little time with our family. We appreciate your readership now more than ever and are going to try our hardest to keep sharing fresh content to help get all of us through this crisis.
Wash your hands, try not to touch your face, keep social distancing and stay healthy out there.