- My son is 9-months-old and therefore not eligible for the COVID vaccine.
- My wife and I pulled him out of daycare before the holidays in fear of him catching the disease.
- He’s now been at home for over three weeks, the longest we’ve been with him since he was born.
The day my son was born, I was two weeks out of my second dose of Pfizer. My wife and I received boosters in the early fall. We kept our faces masked. Then Omicron arrived in our Brooklyn neighborhood.
Seemingly overnight, bars and restaurants shut down short on healthy staff or awaiting test results. Lines at testing locations looped around whole blocks. We had been cautious, but the baby’s daycare had always been our greatest vulnerability.
The week before Christmas, we decided to keep the baby at home. The virus we had so carefully avoided until now was zeroing in. Our friend down the street was isolating after a positive result; our neighborhood bar closed when the owner’s husband got sick.
My in-laws, home from Florida, offered help. On the second day home, the daycare messaged us to say a parent had tested positive.
Our decision had allowed us to escape exposure.
The climbing numbers made us take refuge outside the city
The positivity rate in Brooklyn continued to climb. Our neighborhood had some of the highest rates in the city. The sirens had returned, but otherwise quiet had settled in. The hot vax summer party crowds had vanished. We fled to my parents’ summer cottage on Cape Cod to celebrate the New Year in isolation.
During the holiday week, friends began reporting cases. One family reported their vaccinated, school-age child brought it home; a mother we know Tweeted her toddler had contracted it despite not attending daycare. It was everywhere.
We remained in the cottage. We decided to skip the first two days of daycare allowing sickness to manifest before we returned. By comparison to our Brooklyn apartment, the tiny cottage had plenty of room for the baby to practice walking with fewer dangers.
Daycare messaged on Tuesday: another parent had tested positive.
Our apartment felt safer than daycare
Back in Brooklyn, our apartment had so many more ways for a toddler to injure himself: bookcases teetering with too many books; Metro Shelving with heavy Le Creuset pots; a metal staircase to the bedroom. Still, chasing our baby around avoiding harm was preferable to acquiring COVID from his classmates, and so we kept him home again.
We were reaching our breaking point. The baby had been out of daycare for almost three weeks. We hadn’t spent this much time with him since his birth.
I worked from my phone while sitting on the floor beside the baby. He passed his time by putting foreign objects in his mouth. We switched roles and my wife sent some emails with him balanced on her knee. We considered when we would send him back.
Another parent tested positive.
I wrote on my phone with the baby napping on my arm. He snored, his chest heaving up and down. It was idyllic, the kind of cherished memory between father and son, except we are in the middle of a pandemic. Halfway through writing a draft, daycare sent a message: a teacher in his classroom had tested positive.
We want to return him to daycare, not because a 9-month-old is missing a critical school curriculum, but because his parents are missing a huge amount of sanity.
The first two weeks following his birth were supposed to be the most difficult. Each month grew easier — he slept through 4 am feedings, the unexplained crying faded, and we found equilibrium in the daily rhythm.
Keeping him home from daycare feels like we’re right back where we started, but we also can’t ignore our primal instinct to keep him safe, healthy, and alive.
Courtesy By INSIDER