With two weeks under our belt as we distance ourselves socially, I’m happy to report that we have finally found our groove and are settling into a routine. The days aren’t exactly easy, but we are finding a way to make it work. Dessa loves walking Rob over to his makeshift foyer-turned-home-office and often exclaims, “Have a good day!” as she closes the door behind him. From that point on, I try very hard to give Rob the peace and privacy that he needs to work while keeping the kids happy, fed and entertained.
I thought I loved weekends before, but this nonstop time at home has given me an entirely new appreciation for Rob’s days off, so I can find a quiet corner of the house to sit all by myself and do a little work of my own. And on that note, here’s a little recap of how we spent our second week at home in social isolation.
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The first piece of big news is that Dessa became obsessed with my camera tripod after I took it out of storage to snap a quick photo of our family eating lunch together during our first week at home. The tripod has been in our living room ever since then for Dessa to tinker with, and I occasionally put my DSLR camera on it for a group photo and adjust the settings to get the right exposure. Dessa loves pushing the button to activate the self-timer, then running into the frame and join us before it takes the photo. At this rate, she will soon be on the payroll as our official blog photographer. She snapped the opening photo of this post, as well as the family shot below.
Our little Harvey is growing, changing and finally starting to take good naps! This week he shifted from short little catnaps to napping for an hour or more in his crib and the Pack N Play – which has been such a relief. His naps have given me a chance to slow down and breathe, while also giving Dessa a little one-on-one time with Mommy.
Right now, there isn’t anything consistent about his naps. I never know what time he will get tired, how long he will stay down, or if he will insist on someone holding him while he sleeps for an hour. But I can usually count on him for at least one long nap out of my arms each day.
Getting Out of the House
Every morning I wake up and check the weather for the day, trying to figure out the best time to take the kids outside. I’ll have a perfectly-timed plan, but one of the kids always throws a wrench in my outdoor goal for the day. If it’s not Harvey and an unexpectedly long nap, it’s his stubborn big sister who doesn’t want to be bothered with getting dressed and getting out the door. Despite the struggles, we have been able to get out of the house at some point most days and we continue to get lots of use from our convertible stroller. Sometimes Dessa is willing to ride in the stroller and other times she insists on walking, but I’m happy we are both getting a little exercise.
The weather this week proved to be full of surprises – especially when we woke up to a few inches of snow! Dessa loved running and playing in what I hope was the last snow of the season.
Remember the less-than-wonderful slide that I acquired from our neighbor last week? It was extra slippery from all the snow and Dessa accidentally took a face-first tumble down the slide. Thank goodness she thought it was funny, brushed herself off, and proceeded to slide more carefully during her time outdoors. Her slippery snow pants made every trip down the slide extra fast and extra fun.
Two days later, the temperature warmed up to the upper 50s and Dessa had a blast drawing with sidewalk chalk.
Spending Time Inside
Most of our time is still spent indoors and I’ve tried to keep Dessa busy with a little novelty to break up the monotony of our days at home.
I made some unflavored gelatin for Dessa to play with, which I cut into squares and called “silly blocks”.
She kind of liked the gelatin, but only for a few minutes. That activity turned out to be a bust. Next time I plan to make it extra firm and let Dessa use cookie cutters to make shapes out of the gelatin.
We also started to make to-do lists. Dessa loves it when Rob and I make lists, so we’ve been making a few simple lists for Dessa.
I pulled out the bubbles yesterday and both kids light up when we blow bubbles in the house. These no-spill bubbles are pretty much the greatest thing ever. I love that I can let Dessa blow bubbles without supervision and don’t have to worry about cleaning up a soapy puddle on the floor.
The photo below pretty much sums up my time with the kids right now. Dessa took the photo with the tripod and is jumping with excitement, I’m trying to keep the kids happy by blowing bubbles, and Harvey’s rapt with attention while he watches Dessa’s little show.
Dessa has also spent hours trying on “pretty dresses” that I picked up at a big secondhand sale on my last carefree trip out of the house right before the virus started to aggressively spread. She especially loves this dress, which she will probably wear while we watch Easter Mass on TV in a few weeks. It’s not how I envisioned her wearing the dress, but she loves getting fancy so at least I’m getting my money out of it.
Speaking of Easter, Dessa and I made a cute little “stained glass” cross project during one of Harvey’s naps this week.
We also tuned in a few times to Born Yoga Live, which is broadcast on Zoom from a local yoga studio. All the lessons are geared toward children and families. One lesson this week was even geared toward young children and their baby dolls/stuffed animals. Dessa loved doing yoga with her baby.
Most of the time, things at home have been going about as smoothly as humanly possible for life with two small children. We try to keep things light while the kids are awake and shield Dessa from the circumstances happening in the world around us as much as possible. I hate that “germs” have become a part of our culture and that Dessa no longer can carelessly tear through a package that she sees us bring in from the front porch to discover what’s inside. A few days ago, Dessa told me in a very matter-of-fact voice that we were going to go in the car and drive to see grandma. That killed me. Dessa doesn’t complain and is very content to be at home, but she’s starting to figure out that we haven’t seen grandma, the nanny, or any of her friends in a while. Sometimes, very big feelings erupt and I don’t think it’s merely because she’s two and that’s what two-year-olds do.
I’ve had my own share of big feelings, too, and fell apart after the kids were in bed one night this week. So many things are out of our control and it’s hard to stay strong and have faith in the face of it.
One day I made cookies, and today Dessa helped me bake some banana bread. It’s a good thing that daily walks are becoming part of our routine because I just want to eat all the sweets right now.
Our Little Man
As for Harvey, he’s getting bigger and stronger every day. He’s been working on sitting up by himself and is much less likely to tip over than he was a week ago.
The fuzzy hairs on top of his head are also beginning to fill in and get longer.
I’m mostly just thankful that Harvey and Dessa have each other to play with right now. Otherwise, it would be pretty lonely to be the only kid in the house. Dessa is starting to get a little territorial of her toys when Harvey is around, but she still absolutely loves her little brother.
Now that it’s finally the weekend, Rob was treated to a tea party with Dessa and some quality time with Harvey, while I prepared this post to share with you and dropped off some supplies to a friend that is assembling care packages for hospital workers. I’m looking forward to one more relaxed family day tomorrow before we do it all over again next week.
I hope that you and your family are healthy and as carefree as Dr. Dessa and her veterinary patients.