A COVID-Positive Parent’s Morning

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Chloe Kaplan with her husband — both are infected with the coronavirus — and their son in more open days, which will come again. Courtesy Chloe Kaplan.

“Mommy? Can I please stop watching the iPad now?” My six-year-old son not so gently shakes my arm as I roll over in bed. I check the clock: 10 a.m. Our most reliable and germ-free caregiver has been babysitting him for two and a half hours while I catch extra zees, fighting the virus that has now affected more than 5,000 of us locally.

My husband is asleep in the guest room. Debating my symptoms and deciding it’s worth it, I go for it: “Can you go ask Daddy?” I mutter. My son rolls his eyes. “Mommy, I already did. He said to ask you.”

A day before my birthday, we are on Day 18 of COVID symptoms in our home, having received positive results earlier this week after nine days of waiting. My husband and I are both zonked — each of us with a different hodgepodge of varying symptoms — while our son spiked a fever for 12 hours and miraculously woke up feeling all better.

It has been a trying couple of weeks on the road to recovery as we navigate healing, health protocols, working, homeschooling, trying to stay sane and keeping a marriage counselor off speed dial.

By 10:30, we have all stumbled out of our various beds and made it to the kitchen. We are ready for the daily “Whose symptoms are worse?” check-in, the winner of which shoves the other out of the way before the coffee machine tells us we need to refill the water tank. I take a bite of cereal. Nope, still can’t smell or taste. Ugh. I immediately report this aloud, rubbing it in by saying if I can’t taste a cocktail on my birthday I’ll be devastated.

My husband is torn between feigning sympathy and rushing to announce his biggest grievance, but I can see in his eyes he is somewhat flustered that I still have a symptom he lacks. “Well,” he musters, “I feel like I did another Ironman.” I acknowledge the humblebrag and press the coffee button. Double espresso for me.

It’s time for homeschooling. As a former kindergarten teacher with a son in kindergarten, I feel like I got this. We log onto the portal and are greeted by a prerecorded video of his cheery teachers telling him the day’s writing workshop lesson and reminding him to do his best. “Aha, do your best,” I think, and pretend they are saying this to me.

Just then the school-provided iPad shuts down. I plug it in and it asks me for a password. I shout down to my husband, who is “off-duty” for this shift, asking for the login info. “I gave it to you!” he shouts from three floors away. Suddenly, the desire for an early birthday cupcake from Baked & Wired overwhelms me, despite my inability to taste a thing.

While waiting for a magical fairy to rescue me by entering the password information, I place an order on GrubHub. I even order one for my husband, because at least he can taste.

Sometimes doing your best just means surviving minute to minute, supporting local businesses, indulging cravings you can’t fully enjoy, extending olive branches covered in icing and teaching your child that sometimes life does not go according to plan.

We are all just doing our best, after all.

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