Week Eight

Hugo’s invertebrate pet store in the backyard has, so far, banana slugs, worms, and ants. He has no disgust, he is very gentle with the invertebrates, he improves the structure that he built for them every day (today it is bigger, and made out of firewood). The pets will all be free, he says.

Today he dressed in a button-down shirt, nice pants, a Mr. Rogers-style cardigan, and spy shades (with mirrors so he can see behind himself). The quarantine is really not having any impact on his spirit, which is, as always, resourceful, positive, impeccable, and ready to turn anything into a new opportunity.

Leo sings songs to us, he uses the piano and ukelele, the lyrics are narrations of his life (“it’s a nice day and we’re going outside to play a new song.”) When we bike, he makes observations like “look at those beautiful roses!” I love his songs and observations so much I feel like fainting. So much sweetness.

A raven has staked us out, and visits our porch all day long. He eats the kids’ snacks, he tries to drink my water, and he tries to communicate. He tries to come inside. You can look into his eyes and see him thinking. Yesterday, he grabbed a snack-sized bag of goldfish crackers and tried to make off with them, but he grabbed it upside down and all the crackers fell out. He looked super embarrassed.

I take short walks, I get chubbier, I don’t do enough yoga. When I can sneak away, I go to my office downstairs and sink into the daybed, which I have layered with two mattresses and two memory-foam mattress covers (it expands to be a king). It is comically tall, and feels like the bed from the Princess and the Pea. I read Studs Terkel’s “Hard Times” to learn about life after the last Depression and about Oral History.

I read articles about caregiving, and about social reproduction theory and about the unpaid labor of childcare and housework, and how that undervaluing is at odds with the need for a capitalist society to produce more workers and more consumers.

It’s bad for a business when a female worker gets pregnant BUT it’s also bad for business when women stop having children and eventually there are no consumers. So who does that calculation?

The articles talk about the need to completely restructure society, but few go into specifics, aside from listing what the Nordics do.

Is now the time to do make big changes, now that people are being forced to care for their children and know better how to do it? And jobs are disappearing, and people are less connected to their job identities? And the tenuousness of our old system is being made clear as people just break under the pressure of having to do all things at once, to see how little resilience is built into our lives?

Leo turns 3 on Monday. We’ll celebrate him. And, I did it — I got both my kids from 0-3. I taught them, I loved them, I did 90% of it myself. Some kind of a rite of passage is in order.

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