I’ve been lucky during the COVID-19 pandemic to not only stay healthy, but have the ability to work from home. It’s not that I don’t like coming into the office, I just love being around my kids a lot.
It’s still exhausting, however.
On our production days, instead of getting 8 to 12 hours to sit in front of the PC focused on my work and chatting with my boss, I have laughing, crying, screaming kids that like to bang toys on every surface or watch YouTube at full volume next to me. It can be hard to focus. When I get into a groove, I always seem to get pulled away to change a diaper, give a baby a bottle or put a child down for a nap.
We have four kids, but two of them are still doing the “at home” schooling. One of them stays up in her room all day, making token appearances for lunch and dinner just so we know she is still alive. The other struggles to keep focus, instead wanting to play video games, watch TV and play with his younger siblings. I don’t like yelling at him, because I was the same way and likely would have been bored out of my mind during a pandemic at the age of 8.
During this stay-cation of quarantine, I’ve had little chance to get out of the house for my job at nights — something I truly miss. Being under the lights, or breathing the brisk air of spring while competitive sports are being played in front of your eyes is an amazing feeling, at least from my viewpoint.
But I am trying to be optimistic and see this stay-at-home order as sort of a blessing. I get to hang out with my kids every day. I get to interact with my 5-month-old boy and my almost 2-year-old daughter. I’ve been able to watch them hug and kiss. I’ve watched baby Roman work on his hand-eye coordination, and happy reactions to all of the most basic excitements in the world, like someone smiling at you. I’ve watched my toddler Vivian who loves sports more than anyone else I know fill the void by singing and acting along to Frozen every day. She has also discovered a love for drawing and coloring, and has gotten really good at using utensils to eat her food. Her babbling is becoming more and more conversational vocabulary. I keep a running list of words and phrases she’s saying, and she’s not just on par with other kids her age, but ahead of the curve.
I’ve been able to take long walks with my kids almost every day. The bonding has been out of this world and I feel even more connected to them than ever before.
Also every day I have been able to share so much time with my wife. Since we got married, she’s been a stay-at-home mom, which I know is not her favorite thing in the world. She’s a doer, but she also takes being a parent very seriously. For me to be home for nearly two months at this point has been another blessing because the burden of feeding four mouths 15 times a day, changing diapers and doing dishes and the laundry is not all on her.
In a way, our family is kind of pulling together to get through this all. None of us have experienced anything like this, and the world has gone more than 100 years since a global response to a pandemic was this large. It’s confusing to us adults, and the children know something is amiss, but are also running through confused feelings of not being able to help or comprehend. They are looking to us to do what’s best for them, to nurture their feelings and help them learn and grow without their school teachers. This pandemic won’t last forever, and we’ll be able to open everything back up and try to get back to our “normal” lives once again.
I just hope that those in charge make the right decisions, and that those that don’t agree with the speed step off the gas and let the experts handle it. You know, the whole “respect authority” mantra. The whole conservative part of “slow change for the betterment of society” thing, and not the “I can’t believe I have gone two months without a haircut” first-world problem tripe.
Is this too preachy? Sorry, I know I should stick to sports and nonsense, because real-life information comes from YouTube videos and shared memes without context, and not from experts who have dedicated their lives to keeping us safe and healthy.
It’s a sunny day outside, I’d better go grab my tinfoil hat for our walk, you know, so the 5G windmills can’t transmit my thoughts to the aliens in Bill Gates’ basement.
— Adam Krebs is a reporter for the Times and can be reached at email@example.com. He really encourages conversation and debate about the size of tinfoil hats.