Family life in the time of COVID

Eric Hunter
5 min readMar 23, 2020

It’s a strange time.

Masha and I were on top of the crisis early, and have already been almost exclusively indoors with the whole family for a week. It’s a good thing too, cause we might all have it. We’ve all been coughing, and now two people at Masha’s office have tested positive. No fevers for us yet (ignoring Masha’s 99–100 last weekend which went away after some Tamiflu). So, all that aside, the days have been long, and filled with the flurry of activity one would expect from us both trying to react to a drastically and rapidly changing professional situation. Masha’s work days, despite now being entirely from home, have been just as full as before, if even higher stress; and I’ve been busy trying to contact my students’ families to see where they’re at (most fled the city), set up online lessons, and attempting to help my panicked colleagues in my teacher’s organization.

In the midst of all this we have the boys. Sebastian we have to be careful with. They showed him a video at school about the virus, which we think was a mistake: he doesn’t seem outwardly scared by it, but he knows it can make you stop breathing. He is a sensitive kid and there is no way he is not absorbing our anxious energy and uncertainty, especially when we talk about it all the time despite our best intentions. There were two nights when he refused to go to bed at the normal time and it was impossible to know if he was afraid on some level, if he just had too much energy from not getting any outdoors time, or some other unknown reason. So we have to try to protect him and shelter him from as much of this as possible. He’s also been coughing the longest of any of us, and it’s a bit concerning.

Ollie seems to be having the time of his life. You would think he would miss Beverly and his playground friends, and he does ask about them occasionally, but apparently the rest of us have proven to be a sufficient substitute, because he spends the whole day tearing around the apartment at top speed in the greatest humor. His speech is getting more mature every day, and he shocked me yesterday when he walked into a room and said “Hello, I’m back!” not in a baby voice, but for the first time with perfect adult enunciation. He is developing in other ways as well, and keeping us on our toes as he gets into the powdered detergent, stands on the stroller…