quarantining with child

This pandemic is a tragedy.

This pandemic is hard.

This pandemic is testing us to our limits.

However for me, thanks to my stable situation, which it's a privilege on its own, it's also been a time of opportunity. I've been living a smaller, quieter life. I have time to slow down and look around and actually observe.

I find I am increasingly noticing the small details of the world through the eyes of my toddler. Like most small children, my son points out objects and events around him all the time. Spending our lockdown mostly within the confines of my mom's house and garden, our attention is focused on a small physical area. He is showing me that there is not much square footage but there is so much to see.

Having to repeatedly explain the function of everyday objects allows me to really appreciate the tools we use and how they help us. It allows me to feel gratitude for the resources we have. Isn't it amazing how our lives are enriched by access to seemingly ordinary things like sunscreen, tweezers and blenders?

We are stretching each activity, each moment to fill our days. This means we spend longer seeing, touching, thinking about and talking about each item. I find I am commenting more frequently on the texture of objects. I'm really feeling the playdough, the grass, the towel.

In the garden, we are taking a drink then watering the plants. We poke around in the dirt while the birds and bugs do the same. We find green shoots struggling out in the unlikeliest of places. It's astounding how immersed you can feel in nature even in a city.

Engaging with wildlife and examining the tiniest creatures takes up a lot of our time. We watch ants scurrying and hurrying and I'm empathizing with how hard they are working to provide for their colony. Before, I never truly examined the mechanics of their legs and the speed at which they change direction.

The birdsong seems louder now. Have you noticed this? I'm not sure if it's down to less traffic noise or animals getting bolder as we humans curtail our activity. Either way, the air in the garden is filled with a multitude of melodies. My son is learning the names of different birds and also how to stay quiet and still in an effort to see them.

The natural world is filled with wonders and we can use this time to marvel at them. The buds on the trees are unfurling with fresh green leaves. Butterflies flit from plant to plant and dance around each other. Flower petals open to reveal dusty pollen in all the colors of the rainbow.

It is my privilege, as a mom, to open up the world to my child. To show them the riches on offer. This doesn't have to mean hiking to the top of the tallest mountain or trekking across continents. Right now, this means revealing the beauty of every day and the joy in humble normality.

I know not every mama will have the luxury of time and space and my heart goes out to you. For many of us, life has got louder and busier, not smaller and quieter. Trying to continue to work while schools are shut and childcare is unavailable is crazy.

You're doing an amazing job, whatever your situation. I hope you can still find a few moments to pause, focus on something small and take stock.

Even if your days seem busy, without travel, classes and social engagements there might be a gap for you to fill. I recommend laying down and watching the clouds drift overhead. You might be surprised at how much you really see.

They say necessity is the mother of invention—and nothing makes you more inventive than motherhood.

Sometimes that means fashioning a diaper out of paper towels and your older child's underpants (true story). Sometimes that means creating an innovative and life-changing weighted baby sleep sack and totally crushing it on Shark Tank. Tara Williams is the latter.

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Why do all of my good parenting or baby-focused inventions come after they've already been invented by someone else? Sigh.

Like the Puj hug hooded baby towel, aka the handiest, softest cotton towel ever created.

Safely removing a wet, slippery baby from the bath can be totally nerve-wracking, and trying to hold onto a towel at the same time without soaking it in the process seems to require an extra arm altogether. It's no wonder so much water ends up on the floor, the countertops, or you(!) after bathing your little one. Their splashing and kicking in the water is beyond adorable, of course, but the clean up after? Not as much.

It sounds simple: Wash your child, sing them a song or two, let them play with some toys, then take them out, place a towel around them, and dry them off. Should be easy, peasy, lemon squeezy, right?

But it hasn't been. It's been more—as one of my favorite memes says—difficult, difficult, lemon difficult. Because until this towel hit the bathtime scene, there was no easy-peasy way to pick up your squirming wet baby without drenching yourself and/or everything around you.

Plus, there is nothing cuter than a baby in a plush hooded towel, right? Well, except when it's paired with a dry, mess-free floor, maybe.

Check out our favorites to make bathtime so much easier:

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As told to Liz Tenety.

Around the time my husband and I were turning 30, we had a genuine conversation about whether or not we wanted kids. I was the hesitant one because I was like, "Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa. Let's just hold on. Okay, let's talk about this. Because we love our life. We like traveling. Is this what we want?"

My husband said, "Let's ask our three most pessimistic, crabby friends who have kids whether or not it's worth it."

And every single one of them was like, "Oh, it's unmissable on planet earth."

So when I got pregnant, I was—and I'm not ashamed to say this and I don't think you should be—I was as connected with the baby in my belly as if it were a water bottle. I was like, I don't know you. I don't know what you are, but you can be some gas pain sometimes, but other than that, we're going to have to meet each other and suss this relationship out.

But all the cliches are true that you just know what to do when the baby comes out. Some of the times are hard, some of them are easier, but you just gotta use your gut.

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