When I first saw the photograph, I thought it should be called “It Won’t Be Like This Forever.” A pregnant mother. A sweet new baby. The return of her waistline. It reminded me in a stark, beautifully hopeful way that life does go on. And change is the one thing we can count on.
We have been sheltering in place for more than a month, now. At the office, we’re working with irradiated N95 facemasks, wearing our scrubs and waiting for the pandemic worries to pass. I’ll admit it. I’m getting restless. And I know the pandemic is a long way from over. I’m on COVID-19 information overload most days. When I sit down to write and think through all that’s happening in our world, I don’t know where to start.
I realized today that I’m probably not just waiting for the pandemic to be over. I am, along with my team at Partners in Pediatrics, creating some ‘new normal.’ We are face-timing our patients most days and although we’ve been doing eVisits for years, it’s quadrupled in quarantine. I’m fixing poison ivy and doing med checks looking at a computer screen. When parents are worried about the baby, I’m looking for signs of serious illness as we speak about the symptoms, but I’m also looking for ways to support the pandemic worries I hear as the undercurrent. You might be concerned that I’m seeing the pile of laundry at the foot of the bed, but really… even if I did notice it, I would think how much smaller it is than what lay at the bottom of a certain bed in my own home.
I’m creating a new normal at home, too. As my family and I enter the second month of “sheltering in place”, we are noticing some really nice changes. What are some of the good things you’ve noticed in your family life? Is it possible to continue them when we can move about in the community more freely? Here’s my list:
- Everybody’s getting more sleep and waking more refreshed in the morning.
- Everybody’s taking more walks and playing outside.
- The stuff in the back of my pantry has rotated, and the stock has turned into some pretty amazing dinners.
- My kids are learning to plan meals and cook more varied foods. Check out the Cooks Illustrated folks teaching fun COOKING with KIDS!
- We’re talking about important issues and feelings at the dinner table.
- We’re finding ways to ‘see’ our friends and family using Zoom, FaceTime, Google Hangouts, Skype.
- We’ve been playing more card games, board games and doing puzzles together. The guys at Gamewright are Rock Stars in my book if you don’t know their cards!
One of the things I have loved about writing the DrDownload blog all these years is that I can write for myself. If anybody reads the piece and finds it useful, then so much the better. When I became a spokesperson for the American Academy of Pediatrics, it came with a reminder to be clear and always identify for whom I was offering my observations. If you haven’t read our work over at HealthyChildren.org, there are some great pointers for helping your children understand this ‘new normal’ as we parent through a pandemic.
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