Monday, September 28, 2020

Ben does NOT have COVID.

...But he did wake up Thursday at 4:17am with a fever and chills.

I heard beeping and woke up from my already fractured sleep, assuming that he heard a noise and was turning the alarm off to go outside and check it out. This freaked me out, so I was pretty awake when he came into our room holding the ear thermometer and wearing an N-95 mask.

"I'M SICK," he said. "I think I have IT."

And then we both sprang into panicked action.

Minnie and I left the room instantly. Ben immediately registered online for a test at our community drive up site. When they opened at 8, he was already in line, and I ran into our room (in an N-95) to get my shit OUT. I grabbed a few days' worth of clothes, all of my shower products and electronics and THE VACUUM that lives in our closet (LOL), as well as Minnie's bassinet. I moved into the front of the House with Dorothy and Minnie.

Ben felt terrible-- chills, body ache, sore throat, and Cooper started to feel sick, too-- sore throat and a headache. Our pediatrician's nurse was amazing on the phone. She said she wanted Coop to get a COVID test, but she did not want me to put Minnie in the car with him, and she also did not want Ben to drive him in case for some reason Ben had it and Cooper didn't. She said we should assume they were both positive, isolate them separately from each other, and call her on Monday, by which time we would hopefully have Ben's test results. Since they both had a sore throat, she also said maybe we could get a step test AFTER the COVID test came back. Since this could take 5 days, I of course assumed they would both die of rheumatic fever from strep before then. PANIC THINKING.

It was easy to keep Ben isolated. He stayed in our bedroom and bathroom, and I brought him all food and drink and left it outside the door. BAM! Isolated.

But Cooper? GAH.

We also had a bathroom problem. He ended up using the upstairs bathroom with me Dorothy and Minnie because it was easier for me to keep that one clean after use than it would be to keep the basement one clean OR to share with Harry, Jack, Dorothy, and Minnie because that was too much for me to handle. I had Cooper wear his mask when he left his room, and he ate either outside on the deck (thank god fall waited until today to appear) or in the kitchen after or before the other kids. I wore a mask around him and kept Minnie in the Ergo with the cover over her, but I DID hang with him and took him for walks, etc. because he was so bored and kept emailing that he missed me or dropping in on the kitchen Alexa to talk. He had a Switch that he could play and also watch Hulu on and a laptop for games, email, Zoom with friends and Netflix. Plus one million LEGO. But still, it was hard, especially because he never had a fever. His sore throat got better, too, and his main complaint was a headache and of course BOREDOM.

We all wore masks in common spaces. I made Dorothy stay upstairs, and Harry and Jack got to hang in the family room and their bedroom. Coop stayed in his room. Ben stayed in our room. I slept in Dorothy's bed, and Dorothy slept on a crib mattress on Minnie's floor. It was... a lot.


Ben's fever broke on Thursday night and never returned, and Cooper never got a fever. So, our immediate COVID worries faded a bit, but we still didn't want Minnie to get sick. I slept in a mask, even, and wore one whenever I was near the baby.

On Saturday, at 3:23pm, Ben got a negative result, and he and Cooper were sprung!  But they both still need to stay away from the baby because Ben still doesn't feel awesome (he broke a sweat chopping veggies yesterday) and neither does Coop (following up re: the headache today). While the results were pending, I didn't let anyone touch the baby because I felt like we didn't know who would get sick next, so even having Harry, Jack and Dorothy available to help me has been huge.

The silver lining (besides the fact that no one has COVID my god that was scary even though WE HAVEN'T BEEN ANYWHERE but empty playgrounds and curbside pick ups so we thought it would be negative but holy shit if you can get it at empty parks and curbside pick ups we are all so screwed) is that A) taking acre of 4 kids and a baby no longer feels hard because doing it alone was HORRIBLE and B) I am much more capable than I thought I was and I already thought I was pretty capable.

Before we masked.
Jack, on his way to write haiku by a pond.
Alert baby
My Friday night while my husband isolated, 4 kids slept, and the baby hung out with me
Minnie, upon waking up Sunday

She is smiling but I cannot get one on camera.  They're not very regular yet, so stay tuned.
Jack, helping me make an apple pie
Harry and Minnie watching football.
Cooper opening a bday present he forgot about
(the other part of the present)
Was an apple pie worth this disaster?
Cooper took these shots of Min



Thursday, September 24, 2020

Minnie Marigold Is 6 Weeks Old

Minnie and Dorothy, both disdainful
Cooper loves Minnie

Minnie looks like her dad-- big surprise
Those cheeks!
Sister time
Post-walk bundle
I can't help myself
Lunch picnic
Minnie's mohawk
Omg her fat little face
porch beer
She can't believe how big she is either

A rare nap somewhere besides me


Wednesday, September 23, 2020


 I have been dreading writing this post for awhile-- in the abstract since her stroke in 2016 and more pressingly since 9/18/2020. But, anyway, here goes:

My Bomma died last week. The same day as Ruth Bader Ginsberg, in fact, softening the blow of democracy's death for me at least. She had COVID-19, was feeling OK on our last family Zoom, and took a turn on Thursday, going pretty quickly after that. My aunt got to don PPE and be with her, after not being able to visit since March, and the staff at her lovely nursing home said goodbye.

I live-streamed the funeral in the orthodontist's parking lot, which is so classically 2020 I cannot even. Shiva was on Zoom. It's all so apocalyptically sad.

Bomma was 91 and lived a lovely life. She was a wonderful grandmother and made all 9 of us feel like the favorite grandchild.

Here's my FB post about her:

When I was 4, my grandma and I were at Adventureland riding that ride that runs above the park like a ski lift, and I asked her for a piece of gum. She handed me a square. I assumed it was a beige chiclet, but she gave me the same thing she was chewing— nicorette. I kind of liked it.
Once, at dinner, she accidentally ordered me a pink lady instead of a Shirley Temple. I didn’t actually drink it, but I bet would have liked it, too.
Playing Scrabble, she taught me all of the dirty words. ALL of them.
She also taught me how to shop sale racks— it’s an art— took me for my first pedicure, sewed me a closet full of frilly dresses, sent me off to grad school with a cozy flowered afghan, quilted for my babies, wrote letters in her finishing school penmanship back and forth with Harry when he was learning to write, sported a Bomma license plate for years because that’s what I— the first grandchild— called her, played endless hands of Skip-Bo, stood in line outside a West Des Moines K-Mart for hours to score my first Cabbage Patch Kid in 1983.
I loved to watch her in plays my whole life. Auntie Mame was my favorite because she WAS Auntie Mame as far as I as concerned. Glamorous. Irreverent. Charming. Not to mention my favorite person to talk to on the phone for hours.
She met Minnie once via Zoom, which is the only way we’ve been able to see her since March, and today, we lost her to COVID.
I was so lucky to have a grandma like Bomma, who told my friends about the time the hem of her nightgown got stuck on the garage door when it was going up and all the neighbors knew she was natural red head, had 4 closets full of clothes and shoes and walls and walls of purses on hooks, and always kept a full cookie jar for her grandkids.
When my kids have kids, I hope I can be equally fabulous, magical, and wonderful, but those are pretty big (and surprisingly trendy for an old lady from Iowa) shoes to fill.
But seriously. Who gives nicotine gum to a preschooler?

Here she is as Vera in Auntie Mame (yep, played both parts, years apart)
And with me and my mom FORTY YEARS AGO at my other grandma's house

Her memory is already a blessing, but that doesn't mean we miss her any less.

Thursday, September 17, 2020

5 Weeks of Minnie Marigold

Minnie went to 3rd grade!
We played Cards Against Humanity Family Edition
She is such a sweet sleeper. But she almost never sleeps during the day, meaning shit is in shambles.
Her hair just naturally goes like that, which is amazing.
Oh, Minnie. What did we ever do without you?


Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Minnie is one month old!

What can I say? She is a delight.

Sometimes she is fussy from 4pm-whenever she falls asleep.

She's growing fast.

She smiled twice at Dorothy today.

She smells delicious.

She will not be put down.

She's wonderful.