I try not to spend much time on this blog whining about COVID, because I’m sure everyone has enough of that, but goddamnit I’m so sick of this. With an under 5 at home, I have to be especially cautious, but I also have to balance concern for her health with her own developmental and social and emotional needs. It’s very hard to evaluate these tradeoffs because we have so little information about the long-term effects of COVID infection in babies (or in anyone, for that matter). From most things you read, it seems to be genuinely mild for most young kids, but with every variant, they have to wait and see again, and overall, we have no idea to what extent long COVID is a thing for anyone (and particularly for very young children with no other health conditions). Luckily, Edith is really too young to need to socialize with other kids, and I’m hopeful that things will be more stable by the time she is, but if it isn’t, I will have to make some tough choices.
Emily Oster’s newsletter has been a godsend for me in terms of providing sober, objective summaries of what factual information we do have. Some people hate Oster because she was bullish on reopening schools, but I think she had perfectly reasonable points about it, so that doesn’t bother me (it’s possible that I didn’t see the stuff that really made people mad, I don’t know). None of these decisions are clear-cut or simple, and we’re harming a lot of kids in different ways no matter what we choose to do, so I don’t understand people who act like there’s only one reasonable solution and everyone who doesn’t agree it’s the best one is wicked or insane. Closing schools has caused a lot of irreparable harm to children of all ages and to families that will have long-lasting effects; I can understand making a case that it was still better than the alternative, but I can’t understand feeling that it was so clearly and unequivocally the right call that you become furious at anyone who feels differently.
Anyway, my guiding principle on what to do with Edith is that if Austin is stage 3 or below, we can basically go about our lives. At stage 4 and above, we hunker down. This has less to do with whether she’ll catch COVID and more to do with how available emergency/hospital care will be for her if anything should go wrong (COVID or otherwise).
But man…we’ve been in stage 5 for fucking forever. I want to take her back to Baby Gym. I want to go out to eat. The other night, I considered going over to a “ladies wine night” in my neighborhood (I know, I know, I don’t recognize myself either) and after I had talked myself through all the usual rationalizations I would have for not doing that and convinced myself to do it, I realized, “oh fuck, it’s still COVID!” I couldn’t go to a stranger’s house and hang out indoors maskless with 11 women I don’t know who might very well not be vaccinated and surely all had kids in care or school, what was I even thinking.
I realize this is small potatoes and I have no right to complain about COVID’s impact on my lifestyle or my family’s safety given how incredibly privileged we are to be relatively insulated from it, and how devastating it has truly been for most people. That’s why I usually don’t write about it.
But all that said…WHINE! 😦