Isolation Journals

It’s 8:00am and I’m listening to The Daily’s new podcast about COVID-19 while you play on your musical mat. The song to your play mat is on repeat. The words change a bit, but it’s got a sort of bouncy beat that always hits on the rhyme. I know the lyrics by heart, but I mix them up a lot because of their bland adaptability.

In case you should every read this and get the urge to jog your infant memory, there’s a lot of singing about animals playing. My favorite line to chime in on is, “Maybe you – could be – a purple monkey in a bubble gum tree.” That line sounds oddly sexual to me?? I can’t understand why, but you know – it’s got that Disney feel to it.

The bouncy beat is a strange contrast to the news Michael Barbaro is reporting on the recent spike in New York City’s death toll and President Trump pulling funding from the World Health Organization.

The world is a crazy place right now. You’re going to hear that phrase a lot as you grow up. It usually comes from people who reminisce on “the good ole’ days” and think every new invention brings humans one step closer to becoming robots. I’m not one of those people, so you can trust me when I say it. 138,487 people across the world have died from COVID-19; 28,593 people have died in the U.S. alone. Women are giving birth without their partners in the room, families are saying their last goodbye to loved ones via FaceTime, morgues are running out of space for dead bodies, and every event everywhere has been canceled (school, March Madness, CHURCH, and even the summer olympics).

Your dad works in a COVID unit at the hospital. He wears a surgical mask when he holds you, and I am forever dousing our apartment down with disinfectant spray. I kept hand sanitizer in every bag, pocket, basket, or crevasse I find. I spend a lot of time reading the news and even more time deciphering infographics about COVID stats. There’s a shortage on toilet paper, of all things, and I can’t buy a packet of yeast even with a million dollars. I go to the store once every two weeks, and when I get home I strip my clothes to shower immediately. Our family can’t visit, and I worry about how you’ll bond with everyone when the Stay Home orders are lifted. It’s a weird time to be a new mother.


Your coos are getting louder now, and your eyes scan the room in a manner that suggests you know a lot more about this place than I do. Your nursery has become a sort of Secret Garden in the midst of this scary pandemic. Soft stuffed bunnies, shelves full of sweet children’s books, and the smell of Dreft are under a constant glow from the thick yellow curtain that hides the flood light outside. I like to think this is how your thoughts look now. I hope you don’t feel my stress or hear me expel the litany of worries I share to friends over the phone.

Anyway, I have to answer emails now. I’m working from home with the rest of the world, so that means I get to hold you in my left arm while I type with my right. It takes a lot longer to get things done this way but the good news is – we’ve got no reason to rush.