Who knew when I brought Sam home from the NICU way back in 2010 that my 5 months of house arrest would end up being so useful ten years later.
Now, of course, house arrest has a new name - sheltering in place. That is what Sam, Irene and I have been doing for the past 136 days.
On March 16, Sam came home from the weekend at his dad's house, and the three of us have been together ever since. After a two week isolation period, we added my dad to our extended family (lifesaver!). Yes, we have had conversations with neighbors over the fence. Yes, we have zoomed/FaceTimed with friends. Yes, we even went to my dad's house on the Sonoma coast (with all our groceries, etc in the car).
For many people, physical distancing is a new and foreign concept. For any preemie parent, this is what Flu/RSV season looks like for the first year or two (or more depending on your kids lungs) of having your preemie at home.
I brought Sam home at the end of December 2010. From that day until May 1, 2011, we were told not to go out in public. Groceries - delivery! Diapers and wipes - delivery! New baby cloths - delivery!
You name, it came to my door. (My UPS delivery man, Doug, was the nicest person. By the time he got a new route 2 years later, I felt like I was losing a close friend).
Had you asked me back in 2011 when my house arrest was lifted if I thought I would ever need to use my "trapped in the house skills" again - let alone for months and months on end - i would have told you that you were crazy. And yet here we are.
This time, it is just me home with two kids. I have been playmate, house cleaner, teacher, therapist, chef, confidant, enemy, partner, and solo parent all while working two virtual jobs. So what skills from my last home confinement have helped me this time around:
- There is never enough snack food in the house. Let alone healthy snack food.
- Screen time rules are meant to be broken. Yes, it would be nice if we could keep the kids off the screen, but lets be honest, there is no way to do that AND get everything you need to get done... done.
- If you can get it delivered, get it delivered - but remember to tip well.
- Noise cancellation headphones are a must. This is a new addition for me this time around, and it is the only way I am able to get any work done.
- Breakfast for dinner, and lunch, and breakfast... is OK.
- Make sure you have a good comfortable place to sit and just be. My personal favorite is before both kids get out of bed.
- Find ways to enjoy each other. Dance party, game night, movie night, baking, gardening, set up a tent in the living room... anything that can bring you fun - even if just for a short while.
- Have patience. The home confinement will end - at some point. And when it does, that first trip to Target after dropping the kids at school will be glorious.
PSA: Just a reminder, that if you do go out, please wear a mask!