Going stir-crazy in quarantine? You’re not alone. Celebrities are cooped up in their homes across the country just like the rest of us. As we collectively navigate this uncharted territory, USA TODAY presents Quarantine Diaries, which give readers a peek into how our favorite stars are spending their time at home.
Today's diarist is "Patriot Act" host Hasan Minhaj, who welcomed his second child, a son, three weeks ago with his wife and is spending his quarantine also helping care for their 2-year-old daughter. While the Netflix show is on hiatus, "Patriot Act" is rolling out original digital content every Thursday titled “Hasan From a Distance.” Here’s what a day in the life of the comedian's quarantine looks like from his perch in a house outside New York City, where the laundry room doubles as his office space. – As told to Andrea Mandell
6:30 a.m. My son is Generation C. They’re the generation of children born amid the pandemic; he was born in the eye of the storm. He is really cute now, his face is starting to fill out. He doesn’t look like Benjamin Button anymore. He was really underweight when he was first born.
My wife is back to work. She works in health management, specifically with staffing and efficiency of emergency rooms and hospitals. Right now their work is more vital than ever and she decided to dive right back in. So what we basically do is we are tag-teaming and switching off, taking the baby or taking our daughter out. We’ll basically pass the baton back and forth. Quarantine now just feels like long-term maternity and paternity leave. All the days and weekends blend together. It’s just about filling the days with activities for our daughter.
6:40 a.m. Mornings are not about when I want to get up, it’s when my daughter wants to get up. She’s 2 and she’s the alarm clock for the house, because I can hear her on the baby monitor. She’s talking to imaginary animals; I hear things like, “Alligator, stay!” That’s when the day’s begun. I lift her up out of her crib, I check the diaper, I see that state of her bowel movements, and we get the day going.
7:15 a.m. Right after that we’ll go into breakfast. She is really into Honey Nut Cheerios with milk with sliced bananas on top. I’m also into that as well. She’s also super into the Everything Bagel seasoning you can get at Trader Joe’s. I put it in her little bowl, she’s like a little bird, she’ll eat it like bird feed.
10 a.m. I have a quick morning window right after breakfast to have a morning meeting via Zoom and Slack. I have a very intimate look into the writers’ lives and the other executives that work on our show. We all know each other’s homes very well now. And we set the agenda for the day, who’s writing what, what stories are breaking and what we’re going to do. We’re still figuring out our date (to come back) to Netflix, but we’re all working remotely on future episodes. Obviously the health and safety of our staff is the most important thing. We’re putting together a version of the show that still has the "Patriot Act" DNA but keeps everyone safe and respects and honors social distancing.
10:45 a.m. I move into my first half of the day of keeping my daughter occupied. I’ve broken it down into sections: backyard, front yard, walking and activities.
12 p.m. By the time I bring her back in for lunch I’ll empty out her pockets and there will be all sorts of things that I didn’t know were in there, like random wrappers, rocks, dirt and sand. I know the CDC guidelines say we need to wash our hands for 20 seconds, but it’s really hard to get a 2-year-old to commit to washing the inside, the outside and in between your fingertips for 20 seconds. Hand sanitizer has been crucial.
12:30 p.m. Once she goes down for her nap there’s a block of time where I can really bang out a ton of work. During the day my daughter is primarily with me, and my son is primarily with my wife. We divide and conquer that way.
How I’m staying sane: I’ve a been a fan of Headspace, I like the 10-minute guided meditation that they do. I check the news once a day and I try to do something physical afterward. I’ll take a walk or do something to take my mind off of it.
3 p.m. My daughter wakes up and we’ll get into another activity. We just got her this play castle. We’ll go in there and read books and play pretend.
5:30 p.m. We’ll do the whole thing: Dinner, bath, books, back to bed. We had daal chawal (lentils and rice) for dinner.
7:16 p.m. My wife and I have a check in right after our daughter goes down for the night and just be like, "How was your day?" And we’ll do that thing that a lot of couples do: We’ll sit on the couch next to each other kind of exhausted, and we’ll do that mindless scroll through our phones for 10 or 15 minutes. And then we’ll get to the next thing we have to do. But that check-in is pretty great. It feels like the end of an emotional workout.
7:47 p.m. I get back to the computer and catch up - I’ll open up Slack, my emails, all the Google invitations I got and go, OK, I need to handle all this stuff.
10 p.m. I know this is weird to say even though we have a show (on Netflix), but I have not been watching a ton of TV. I’ve been into reading. It gets me to fall sleep really fast. Right now I’m reading Salman Rushdie’s “Midnight’s Children.” Just to get away from the news, fantasy and fiction is something that’s been nice to have. Rushdie’s writing is really beautiful, it’s so rich and dense.
I know a lot of people have said this, but as we’ve been navigating this global pandemic being around family, and especially being around young kids, has definitely made me really focus on what truly does matter. I’m trying to remember it’s OK to still enjoy those really beautiful moments: when I’m holding my son or I’m flipping my daughter upside down and she’s laughing really hard. Finding joy and normalcy in the midst of all the tragic things that are happening is really important.
Read more Quarantine Diaries:
A day in the life of my quarantine: Read Jimmy Fallon's diary
A day in the life of my quarantine: Read Naomi Campbell's diary
A day in the life of my quarantine:Read Jameela Jamil's diary
A day in the life of my quarantine:Read LeAnn Rime's diary