When the COVID-19 quarantine started, I thought “How hard could this be?” This time last year, I was concerned about the lack of time I was spending with Alex, my 2-year-old daughter. I was trapped in a cycle of work, sleep, repeat. Although at the beginning of sheltering in place, I would be home with Alex around the clock, I had a partner in my husband. Later, we learned he’s considered an essential employee, and while his schedule has been incredibly flexible, he still has to travel, attend meetings and physically process paperwork. You know, like the caveman days. That leaves me with our daughter for most of the day.
Initially, I wasn’t going to let quarantine punk me. I accounted for each hour of the working day and created a curriculum for Alex. Once my husband was home and settled, he would take on the toddler. That was short-lived. First and foremost, we are all suffering from insomnia. Bonus: Alex is still teething. Most days, she wakes up pleasant, but there is usually a fight to get her to eat breakfast and every meal after.
We’ve thrown the curriculum out of the door, replaced it with an hour of learning, a lot of reading and getting outside. We take daily walks, bike rides and drives. Due to Alex being sibling-less (and bossy), we have to color, dance and play tea party with her. We usually don’t mind because we want her to know she’s loved and safe.
My heart breaks every time Alex tells me she misses school, her teachers and friends, or when she has to end a FaceTime call with her friends or she sees neighborhood kids she can’t play with. She says sorry a lot. We find it unusual for a toddler who never thought she was wrong pre-pandemic, and above my husband and myself, I want her to be OK.
Spending most of my waking hours with a toddler means I am unproductive. It takes longer than expected to complete assignments, clean or finish laundry. My decrease in productivity should bother me but it doesn’t. To stay sane, I have begun to pray daily and meditate. I am grateful for each day I am alive and healthy, and I finally have time to give thought to the person I want to be when we make it to the other side of this.