My 7-year-old has been in bidud (isolation) since last Friday. A girl in her class tested positive for Corona, so now my Gaya is isolating in her room, receiving meals at her door, leaving her room only to go to the bathroom, and even then with a leopard print mask on her mouth and nose. It’s tough. Her first full day – Shabbat – was particularly hard, with no iPad to distract her, or the arts and crafts that she loves to do for hours. We keep her company as much as we can from outside her room, and she’s mostly been doing great. At first, her big sister was also in bidud – for the third time, so we’re used to the drill. (They couldn’t be in together because they started at different times.)
Anyway, it’s still holidays for the rest of the family, so one of us has been staying home while the other goes out with the rest of the kids. On Tuesday, I took two kids out (to the Biblical Museum of Natural History in the Beit Shemesh area – it was great, but I digress…) and my husband stayed home with our two bidudniks. Gaya had been making videos on the iPad, YouTuber style, offering extravagant prizes and inviting people to ‘like and subscribe’. When she heard us leave the house, she must have felt desolate because her next video went like this:
“You may wonder why I’m crying. It’s because I’m in quarantine and my family just went out to a museum, and I like to be in museums. And I was crying, but then I thought about you (ed: her adoring public!) so I’m telling you. Even if you’re in quarantine… even if you’re in gan and you’re still in quarantine and even if you are very young and you’re in quarantine, you might think “why am I in quarantine? I’m so young, it’s not fair.” And the truth is – life is(n’t) fair, ok?
“If somebody from your class, your friend or somebody, has corona – chas vechalila, chas veshalom – you have to go in quarantine and also take a corona test. And that’s good, else you won’t know if you have corona… and it’s only for 12 days. You can handle that! And also, you have to save your family….. Nobody wants to get hurt. We’re doing this for safety. We’re doing this because it’s good for you. We’re doing this because we don’t want anybody to get hurt. And even if they go to a museum, to a pool to your cousins… it doesn’t matter. You stay home.
“Actually, being alone is fun, because then you can do anything you want, alone. You can make a mess – well, you will have to clear it up, but (shoulder shrug)…
“So, you wear a mask. And if you don’t wear a mask anyplace else, wearing a mask at home will teach you to wear a mask at school. I know it’s not fair. I was crying for over an hour there, because they are going to a museum and I’m alone at home and I have nobody to talk with*…. You can sleep because it’s a (school holiday) and you don’t have any work. Or you can study. Please do something to help your parents. Bye.”
Please G-d Gaya will do her second corona test on Friday and will be out of bidud on Shabbat. But meanwhile, if you or your kids are in bidud, our thoughts are with you. We know it’s not easy, but as Gaya says: ‘you can handle it’! And please, please – wear your masks!
*She wasn’t alone! My husband was home with her, and she did know that – I think she just felt overwhelmed in this moment.