Currently, in India, quarantines and lockdown to maintain social distancing seems to be the only logical way to try and contain the impact of coronavirus. As with most parents, when I’m not impatiently skimming through my phone or television for the latest news of the impact of the virus on our lives, I’m thinking about another demanding question: How to creatively survive and balance another day indoors with my family and kid?
Now apart from being a dentist, I am also a mother, so in order to protect my little one, we mutually decided that only my husband should be available to provide emergency care to patients till the time it could be managed alone.
I am a Periodontist (Dentist) working as an associate professor at a Dental College and also run my own clinic in Delhi along with my husband, who is also a dentist (Endodontist). Usually, I reach back home after college in the evening and am left with very little though quality time to interact, play, teach and feed my 4-year-old daughter.
Now as health care professionals neither I nor my husband can work from home which is the need of the hour. Colleges and schools are closed down and only emergency services in my college/ hospital are open and the same is the case with our clinic (obviously taking all the necessary precautions) so as to prevent the communication of the rapidly spreading virus. Though, I am utilizing my time to guide and check my post graduate students thesis write up part during this lockdown. Also, college management is coming up with the idea of online teaching and conduct of seminars as well.
Now apart from being a dentist, I am also a mother, so in order to protect my little one, we mutually decided that only my husband should be available to provide emergency care to patients till the time it could be managed alone and I should move to my parents’ house during lockdown period so as to protect my daughter from any infection.
Now, my daughter is really happy to be with me all the time and relish the extra attention she gets. I explained to her about coronavirus and why we all are locked down at her grandparents’ house. She now understands that as we are inside the house, we all are safe from this deadly virus and is not scared. I explained her about the benefits of keeping her hands clean, how to wash them (she counts till 20 while playing and making lather with handwash and then washes her hands) and that she doesn’t have to put her hands around the face (which she unintentionally puts them on face sometimes and needs a constant reminder).
Now comes the major task, a really important and a brainstorming one, to keep her busy and occupied at the same time, because kids get bored very easily. I’ve been trying to do many fun activities with her, but even with my best plans, I find my patience running thin at times because every hour, you need to find a new activity for them. Even on social networking sites nowadays, my attention goes mostly to kids performing any activity and I immediately show it to her and she gets excited.
I understand that in this situation I should not panic and lose patience, though it’s easier said than done. It’s a strange environment for her as well with no school, park, dance class or any sports class
I, along with her grandparents, have made her indulge in many activities like flameless cooking (it’s her favourite), drawing, painting, crafts, board games, hide and seek, indoor cycling on the terrace, gardening, basic exercises, yoga, dance on her favourite numbers, storytelling, some basic experiments of her age etc. Even her grandparents are happy when she’s around and like to play and interact with her all day. She also video chats with her dad and her paternal grandparents daily. Her grandmother (dadi) shows and sends her simple craft ideas which she tries to do and show her back. I allow her to watch her favourite cartoons on TV but only for a limited period of time in a day, which she also accepts with enthusiasm. Nowadays we are also enjoying the online virtual tours of zoos or museums. She also tries to help me with the household chores in the absence of helpers.
I understand that in this situation I should not panic and lose patience, though it’s easier said than done. It’s a strange environment for her as well with no school, park, dance class or any sports class. At times she doesn’t want to follow the schedule made by me for her. She wants me to put down my phone/ laptop and just listen to her. So, I try and leave all my work and just be for her and with her.
In normally fast-paced daily schedules of rushing to get to school and hospital on time, being forced to slow down has allowed me to refocus and spend more time together. I really cherish the time to exclusively spend time with my daughter and my family.
Hope, we all manage to fight together and get rid of this stage soon and get back to our normal lives but utilize this time to make a memorable experience with our loved ones.
The views expressed are the author’s own.