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If This Was Our Life Forever, How Could We Make the Most Out of It?
This was supposed to be just a benign 3-day cold. Besides the stuffed and runny nose my kid was cheerful and full of energy. She just couldn’t wait to go back to her daycare and meet her friends again, and I reassured her that this would happen sooner than she thinks.
On the 4th day she developed a fever. She fell asleep two hours earlier than normally, then kept waking up every half an hour for the whole night. I’m still wondering if this was because I was away that evening and it was her dad putting her to sleep instead.
When the fever wouldn’t go away for 3 days we went to see the doctor. She gave us antibiotics and asked to stay at home for at least another week. Well, at least it wasn’t That Famous Bug Running Around These Days That Might Have Serious Side Effects For A Lifetime, but it’s still serious enough. For the last few days I was just putting everything off until my baby girl is healthy again and doing the bare minimum required to survive. Now it’s high time I come up with a better plan.
The previous time I was trying to keep up with everything while my daughter was sick I broke down crying after just 4 days. So this time I kinda gave up, sticking to the absolute minimum with cleaning and laundry, putting all the long-term projects and paperwork on hold, and getting by with either 10-minute pasta or restaurant delivery for now. We sat in front of our screens much more than usually, my daughter watching the same 5 songs over and over again, and I playing around with Midjourney having little brainpower left for anything else. Not my proudest parenting moment, but just a few days like this surely won’t do that much harm.
But what if just few days suddenly turn into two weeks (and hopefully not much more)? In theory we could still keep going like this, but it would almost certainly make us miserable. The more time we’re spending on the couch, the harder it is to find some joy in it. So now the question I’m asking myself is “If this was our life forever, how would I make the most out of it? How would I make it as joyful, playful, and effortless as possible?”.
It’s true we can’t do most of my daughter’s favorite things. But this doesn’t mean we can’t have fun at all. We can’t go out and play in the sandbox, not until she no longer has a fever, but we certainly can play with kinetic sand and build a sand castle on our balcony. We can’t go to the swimming pool, but we can make a tupperware swimming pool for her LEGO family, put it besides her bathtub and have everyone make a splash together. We can’t meet her friends, but we can browse her old photos where they’re playing together, and put them all together in a beautiful photo book.
I can’t keep going with my usual routine while my daughter is sick. I certainly can’t keep going with my usual writing schedule. But perhaps if it wasn’t for this I’d never have a reason to playfully explore what other options we have, what else is possible within our current constraints.
My newsletters usually take at least a few hours to write. Could I write one in 30 minutes? I usually do household chores or yoga while my baby girl is her daycare - can we turn these into a fun game instead? She might be too sick and tired to do some of the things, the photo book definitely was too much for her today, but there always can be something to bring her joy besides YouTube, even if it’s as simple as reading a book together.
My baby girl just woke up, so it’s time to stop writing about all the things we could do together and set up a swimming pool for her LEGO family instead.
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