About 6 weeks ago, we entered our apartment. And there, with the exception of a few forays to get food and necessary supplies, we stayed. And, in fact, it was pretty much only me going out, so Rasa and Monki, they really stayed. Monki hadn’t left the house since the 13th of March (remember, we talked about that).
We had our masks and a box of disposable rubber gloves, we got our groceries delivered, lined up outside the door like wounded soldiers, the delivery guy playing a positive version of “ding dong ditch.” We sterilized everything that came in to the house, all the packaging, double and triple washing the fruits.
It wasn’t enough. We still got sick. At first we thought it was a cold, caught from Monki’s kindergarten (c’mon, we all know what a hotbed of germs those places are!). But as time went on, Rasa, who got the worst of it, was really struggling. Still, we didn’t go to the hospital or even want to consider that it was (the disease). Lithuania, at the time, was making it difficult to get tested and if it wasn’t (the disease) then going to the hospital might be a sure way to actually catch it.
So we rode it out.
I got off easy, with only mild cold symptoms. Monki was middling. She was sick but didn’t let it slow her down…much. Rasa was having a hard time breathing though, so she rested a lot, and we all worried until she started feeling better. We still didn’t want to think it was (the disease) but it was starting to look likely.
We still don’t know if it was, but we (and our doctor) are laying 6 to 5 on it. Maybe one day we will get tested and find out for sure. But for now, we’re all back up to fighting trim, so that’s a check in the win column.
Of course, when this all started, we knew we were going to have to work from home. I was going to have to take my classes online, so we needed to find a way to let Monki know not to interrupt when I was teaching or Rasa was in a meeting. She already knew about my office on the 6th floor and mommy’s office on the 5th and that we rode the elevator to get there, so we made offices all over our apartment. Each door was an elevator, complete with buttons, and we would “go to work” when we needed to. Now, 6 weeks later, the numbers are still up and when I’m in the office, with the door closed, I can see her standing in the “elevator” outside the closed door, coming to a stop on each floor, seeing that my office isn’t open, and leaving again. It’s very cute.
During this time, we’ve also taken up some arts and crafts, Rasa has become an expert at figuring out how to make things like masks and horns (and whatever else is required of her) out of whatever is at hand. Need a garage for the toy cars, no problem, we have an empty tissue box. Monki wants to be a butterfly or ladybug, cut up a painted paper plate. She’s really just been amazing (and she’s doing all this while still taking care of her several research jobs and writing her dissertation, all after Monki goes to bed!). And this doesn’t even include her newest skill as a beautician, cutting my hair down to the skull!
We also bought an exercise bike so we could get some sort of physical activity in (I miss my long walks to school) because pacing the length of the house (which I did to compete in a 10 day virtual race) just wasn’t going to cut it in the long run.
But then, last week, on our 4th anniversary, we decided to get out of the house. We put on our masks and gloves and headed out to a park about 15 minutes drive from our place. It was delightful! We kept our social distances and let Monki ride her scooter through the nature. The only major issue she had was when she discovered there were a lot of bugs in nature. This did not sit well and caused some tumultuous screams of “bugs!!!” but in the end, we got it worked out and she was okay with it all. In fact, she was more than okay, she even let a wild lady bug crawl on her hand! (wild as opposed to the domestic kind we’d found in our old apartment).
The success of this trip led on a few more outings, back to the same park once, then to a gorgeous swampland…well, it was supposed to be a swamp but since there wasn’t much rain or snow this year, it was just a bit marshy and not very swampy at all. But Monki loved it! She was able to run around and climb over trees and she really wanted to wait for a tree to fall, but we convinced her it probably wasn’t going to happen while we stared. “A watched tree never falls” right? Isn’t that how the saying goes?
All of this, though, led up to today, May 1, May Day, International Workers’ Day. Basically, a bank holiday. So since Rasa didn’t have any online meetings and my classes were done for the week, we decided to go to a closer park where, for the first time since getting it for the holidays, Monki could ride her bicycle outside!
This was a pretty big deal for her. She’d been practicing in the living room for the past several months and getting pretty good. Sure, she couldn’t actually grip the handbrake overhand, but that was a small thing (like her hand), but we’d be with her. So we carried the bike down the stairs and across the construction sites (the city is taking advantage of not having as many cars/people on the road to get some much needed roadwork taken care of) and to the newly redone sidewalks across the way.
She, with her little helmet, pedaled her heart out. She learned all about stopping at the intersections, looking both ways, and then walking her bike across. She learned how to stay on her side of the roadway and ring her bell so she could get past people who were in her way. She also learned, much to her dismay, that if she didn’t have that little helmet (which, might in fact be too little) she didn’t ride anywhere.
So here we are. Staring out into the looming summer, still under quarantine, still afraid to go outside without a mask, to stand too close to another human being. We don’t know how long this will last, but we’re all coping as best we can. Monki likes to watch her kindergarten teacher on YouTube and asks periodically when she can go back. Rasa and I still have work to get done, books to write, comics to read (okay, that one is all me), and shows to binge. Monki probably won’t remember this at all, but it’s a scary, unique time to be alive so I’m jotting down these notes for her, and for us.
It’ll be interesting to see where we are 6 weeks from now.