When Coronavirus Comes to Daycare

w: Johnathon E. Briggs

w: Johnathon E. Briggs

When Coronavirus Comes to Daycare

— May 27, 2020 —

Three days before Memorial Day weekend, the coronavirus pandemic touched our daycare.

With more than 1.7 million people in the U.S. infected and 100,000 deaths, I guess you could say (to echo Effie Trinket from “The Hunger Games”) the odds were ever NOT in our favor.

The email last Wednesday from the daycare director read in part: “We recently learned that someone in our center has been diagnosed with COVID-19…The local health department has been informed about this concern and has recommended our center close for at least 72 hours, effective immediately. As a result, we ask that you please pick up your children as soon as possible.”

I hopped in my car and rushed to the center to pick up my daughter, along the way thinking, “72 hours? That sounds awfully optimistic.” Sure enough, a follow-up letter announced the expected: the center won’t reopen until June 4 (maybe).

Just like that, my wife and I joined the ranks of the millions of parents who find themselves working from home with kids during this pandemic. In the words of comedian David Arnold, “it ain’t for the weak.”

Case in point: After wrapping up an exhausting day of teleworking while parenting, my wife and I tried to unwind that evening by watching a movie, unaware that our curious daughter had snuck away with her EpiPen (grabbed from a shelf) and accidentally punctured her thumb with the auto-injecting needle, leaving streaks of blood all over the pillows in the family room to say nothing of her pink button-up sweater.

Besides a bruised ego, no serious harm came to our daughter; I just have a new growth of gray at my temples. Fun times.

via GIPHY
As we adjust to new circumstances, I take comfort in a line from a now-viral employee memo sent by Parks Canada, an agency of the Government of Canada: You are not “working from home.” You are “at your home, during a crisis, trying to work.”

We’re just thankful we have the option of daycare. Many parents don’t even have that.

Thanks to my wife’s work being deemed “essential” by the state, our family can tap into the limited number of daycare slots reserved for healthcare workers and other essential employees. (The fact that she is a bankruptcy attorney and people have been in constant need of her services tells you all you need to know about the dire economic state of America.)

There’s a fragility to what seems stable in this Age of Corona. This virus disrupts any inkling of routine we may have gotten attached to or reliant upon. It is the ultimate disrupter.

As parents, we’ve tried to maintain some sense of normalcy for our daughter in these unusual times. Kindergarten was effectively canceled mid-March, but at least she could engage in e-learning and play with friends at daycare. And she still met with her friendly autism therapists a few times a week.

When the autism clinic canceled all in-person therapy sessions last month, our daycare center remained a source of stability, even as the coronavirus continued to upend everything the world over.

Now the center itself is temporarily canceled. Despite the bevy of public health precautions, we learned this week that a total of five people in our daycare have been diagnosed with COVID-19, underscoring the reality that no place of human gathering is risk-free.

We continue to monitor our daughter and ourselves for any of the telltale symptoms of infection (fever, chills, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, loss of taste or smell, etc.). Thankfully, to date, we remain in good health.

On the desk of my home office is a printout of six “Daily Quarantine Questions” by photojournalist Brooke Anderson.

Among them: What am I GRATEFUL for today?

Another: How am I getting OUTSIDE today?

The third one reads: What expectations of “normal” am I LETTING GO of today?

 

 

I let go of any expectations of “normal” at the start of the pandemic, but didn’t know I would also have to ditch the expectations of my “new normal.” There’s a fragility to what seems stable in this Age of Corona. This virus disrupts any inkling of routine we may have gotten attached to or reliant upon. It is the ultimate disrupter.

Life, of course, goes on.

The day after our daycare closed for deep cleaning, my daughter’s kindergarten class celebrated the end of the school year with an online graduation ceremony on Zoom. Her teacher presented a sentimental slideshow entitled “The Graduates” that included a look back on highlights from the school year (“Remember Apple Exploration Day?”) along with two photos of each student: one from their first day of kindergarten and one on their last.

My daughter became giddy with delight upon seeing photos of herself on our iPad and hearing her teacher tout her accomplishments, from learning how to pronounce new words to the progress she’s made as a reader and speller. “You’re going to have an amazing year in first grade, I just know it,” her teacher said.


After the ceremony, the students were asked how they had celebrated the last day of school. Some shared they had favorite meals, memorable outings with family, or received gifts. But if there was a prize to be won for Best Answer, I would have given it to a little boy named Colin who said with excitement: “I got two new face masks that my grandma made.”

I almost burst out in laughter at the innocence and honesty of his response but had to hold it in for fear of being heard on video chat.

At that moment, a Quarantine Question came to mind: What am I GRATEFUL for today?

I am grateful for the ability to laugh, in spite of it all.

 

Father on,




 

Share this:

1058 words

5.27.20

Johnathon E. BriggsHusband • Dad • Wingtip Shoe Enthusiast • On @GoodMenProject • #BlackDadMagic • ΑΦΑ

One thought

Your email address will not be published.

Input comment
Input name Input email

Click To View All Comments

Person of Interest: Lola Dada-Olley – Not Your Mama’s Autism Podcast

A Fatherhood Flashback on My Daughter’s Birthday

Preparing for a School Year Like No Other

© Legend - A Handcrafted Misfit Theme

Copyright © 2019 — Blank Canvas Studio, LLC | No use without permission

About

Few may know this, but twice as many dads of newborns today are now in the 40-plus age group, compared to the 1970s. Six weeks before my 40th birthday, I became a first-time father, hence the title of this blog.

This life-changing moment made me think about my own dad, who became a father at 44. As my parenthood journey unfolded, I noticed that most of my friends had become parents earlier in life yet, here I was, changing diapers and battling sleep deprivation at (nearly) 40. I told my wife, “Parenting is definitely a young man’s game.” But is it really?

Where most of my friends were preparing for their children’s middle and high school graduations, I was mastering the art of the swaddle, perfecting the one-hand baby wipe, and learning to decipher my daughter’s gurgles and whimpers. It occurred to me that I had so much more to offer my daughter at the sure-footed age of 40 than I did at, say, 28, when I was still coming into my own.

Fatherhood@Forty: Dispatches from the Parent Hood™ is a creative outlet to share my experiences and connect with other (relatively) late-in-life dads.

Here are a few factoids about me, Johnathon Briggs, the editor behind this blog:

  • I’m a former journalist (Los Angeles Times, The Baltimore Sun, Chicago Tribune).
  • I love exploring Chicago and the Midwest with my family.
  • I remain on a constant quest to stay fit.
  • I support charities that fight HIV, uplift families affected by incarceration, and ensure African American boys graduate from college.
  • I’m a comic book geek (mostly Marvel, but a bit of DC and Image Comics).
  • I’m a child of the ‘80s, so please expect occasional references to the Golden Age of Hip-Hop.

As a reporter for daily newspapers, I had the opportunity to interview fascinating people and to test out great products and brands for my readers. I hope to do the same for you as I blog about the moments that make up this adventure called fatherhood.

Feel free to tweet (@fatherhoodforty) or email (fatherhoodforty@gmail.com) me if you’d like to collaborate or have ideas for a blog post.

Father on,

P.S. Check out The Art of Conversation podcast interview I did with Art Eddy from Life of Dad.

 


Disclaimer: Fatherhood@Forty may contain affiliate marketing links, which may result in commission on sales of products or services I write about. My editorial content is not influenced by advertisers or affiliate partnerships. This disclosure is provided in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR § 255.5: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.
Share this:

Person of Interest: Lola Dada-Olley – Not Your Mama’s Autism Podcast

What I’m Reading: My August List of Books

A Fatherhood Flashback on My Daughter’s Birthday

Preparing for a School Year Like No Other

What Are Dads Made Of? A Dad-Lib For Father’s Day

Person of Interest: Robyn Price Pierre – Creator of the FATHERS Art Book

The Weight of It All: Reflections of a Black Father on the Killing of George Floyd

When Coronavirus Comes to Daycare

Person of Interest: Rob Palkovitz – The Fatherhood Researcher

Existing While Black is a Pre-Existing Condition

View More

About

Few may know this, but twice as many dads of newborns today are now in the 40-plus age group, compared to the 1970s. Six weeks before my 40th birthday, I became a first-time father, hence the title of this blog.

This life-changing moment made me think about my own dad, who became a father at 44. As my parenthood journey unfolded, I noticed that most of my friends had become parents earlier in life yet, here I was, changing diapers and battling sleep deprivation at (nearly) 40. I told my wife, “Parenting is definitely a young man’s game.” But is it really?

Where most of my friends were preparing for their children’s middle and high school graduations, I was mastering the art of the swaddle, perfecting the one-hand baby wipe, and learning to decipher my daughter’s gurgles and whimpers. It occurred to me that I had so much more to offer my daughter at the sure-footed age of 40 than I did at, say, 28, when I was still coming into my own.

Fatherhood@Forty: Dispatches from the Parent Hood™ is a creative outlet to share my experiences and connect with other (relatively) late-in-life dads.

Here are a few factoids about me, Johnathon Briggs, the editor behind this blog:

  • I’m a former journalist (Los Angeles Times, The Baltimore Sun, Chicago Tribune).
  • I love exploring Chicago and the Midwest with my family.
  • I remain on a constant quest to stay fit.
  • I support charities that fight HIV, uplift families affected by incarceration, and ensure African American boys graduate from college.
  • I’m a comic book geek (mostly Marvel, but a bit of DC and Image Comics).
  • I’m a child of the ‘80s, so please expect occasional references to the Golden Age of Hip-Hop.

As a reporter for daily newspapers, I had the opportunity to interview fascinating people and to test out great products and brands for my readers. I hope to do the same for you as I blog about the moments that make up this adventure called fatherhood.

Feel free to tweet (@fatherhoodforty) or email (fatherhoodforty@gmail.com) me if you’d like to collaborate or have ideas for a blog post.

Father on,

P.S. Check out The Art of Conversation podcast interview I did with Art Eddy from Life of Dad.

 


Disclaimer: Fatherhood@Forty may contain affiliate marketing links, which may result in commission on sales of products or services I write about. My editorial content is not influenced by advertisers or affiliate partnerships. This disclosure is provided in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR § 255.5: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.
Share this:
Scary Mommy
The Mighty Contributor
Copyright © 2017-2020 Blank Canvas Studio, LLC | No use without permission