Like many thousands of other children right across the UK, our kids have recently gone back to school after a prolonged period of home learning due to Covid-19.
We were inundated with emails and letters from the school explaining the different procedures that would be in place to ensure the safety of our kids from the virus with all the details of one way systems in school, lunch at their desks, not mixing with children outside of their bubbles, wearing PE kits on PE days as no changing was allowed and a million other instructions.
We read it all and we were more than ready to embark on the start of Year 4 and Year 7. Well, honestly it was about as ready as any parent can really be trying to return their kids to school after a 6 month absence. Add into the mix that Sproglet is transitioning to Secondary School and Gremlin feels like she barely had a chance to get to know anyone after a change of Primary School following a house move last year, you can begin to imagine that life was a little bit more interesting than usual in our home.
There was lots of reminding them that God looks after us and already knows what happens in our future alongside all the practical parenting of adopted children and reminding them that they are special, valuable, braver than they imagine and well able to overcome challenges as they have already demonstrated so often in their short lives.
So off we went armed with new backpacks (which they were allowed to take in for school), packed lunches, mini bottles of sanitiser to use alongside the countless amounts of handwashing referred to in all the communication. We were ready! They were both prepared for distancing, restricted breaks and play time and for Sproglet the wearing of a facemask everytime he left his classroom.
They also had all their non-academic qualities in their thinking. They were going to say please and thank you. They were going to be kind and considerate to other people. They were going to be friendly and make friends. They were going to follow the rules and all the other skills that result in people being decent human beings.
We really couldn’t have done any more to prepare them for the start of school. Day one was great and both kids really enjoyed their respective first days. Day two was a little bit more challenging as they were both tired from the day before but both still really enjoyed their day. We pretty much sailed through day three and I was really believing this could actually be the best start to a school year we had ever had.
And then there was day four. Sproglet woke up with a spring in his step and ready for action. Gremlin has to be dragged out of bed and is complaining that she has a scratchy throat, like something is stuck in it and she has to keep coughing but it won’t clear. She mentioned something vaguely about a headache but she had no temperature so with lots of reassurance and a fair bit of help getting dressed for school, we were ready to go.
Fast forward to the end of day four and Gremlin comes out of school telling me she has been told off for coughing so much, she now has a croaky voice, feels sick, has a headache and simply wants to go to bed. We then have to re-check the Covid symptoms for children and realise that she doesn’t seem to have a temperature and no loss of taste or smell so we think we are in the clear.
We dosed her up for bedtime, decided to keep checking on her and hoping she would make a full and miraculous recovery by morning. By 5am on day five it became apparent that Gremlin had not made the miraculous recovery and was feeling so lousy she only wanted to receive comfort by snuggling up to mummy in bed. That was the end of my sleep and the realisation that having had not a moment to myself in the past 6 months I was about to lose any alone time again because she would not be going to school today.
Sproglet makes it through day five and then we have the weekend. Only problem with that is that Gremlin is completely full of cold and now Sproglet is complaining that his throat it also sore and scratchy.
By Sunday we have one on their way to recovery and one on the downward spiral. Both mum and dad are now nursing the sickly two but it only seems to be mum that still needs to give all the cuddles.
We get to the Monday and Sproglet seems to have made a miraculous recovery and although he isn’t enthusiastic and delighted at the thought of going to school, by his own admission he doesn’t think he’s sick enough to be off. Gremlin by this time is well on her way to recovery but due to her ongoing cough (it’s chesty, not dry and persistent) we have to check with the school whether they are happy for her to return. Fortunately, the school have taken a really sensible view in my opinion and once they have been reassured that the main symptoms of Covid were not present and that we could comment on the recovery they were happy to see her back. They simply asked that she understood the need to cough into her elbow, regularly wash and sanitise her hands and that I should provide her with 2 large drinks bottles so she could stay well hydrated and take sips when her coughing was bad.
So, to the conclusion and the actual point of this story. We managed to get all the way to Wednesday this week before I noticed that my own throat was feeling a little bit sore and scratchy and that I needed to clear my throat as it felt a bit obstructed. This has rapidly turned in to a full head cold and as I suffer with my sinuses, I am streaming constantly from my eyes and carrying a constant tension like headache. I am dosed up to the eyeballs with cold and flu capsules but reassured that it is ‘only’ a cold and not Covid-19.
In my attempts to parent my children I spent their early years teaching them that sharing was a great opportunity to make friends and to invite other people to join in their fun which meant more fun for everyone. I have then spent the last 6 months telling my children that they are now NOT to share especially when it comes to pens and equipment at school, sweets from the same packet, same space in the play ground, toys and benches.
No wonder they were confused! But, why oh why did they feel the need to ‘share’ all those germs with me. Germs are not my friend, they are not more fun when they are shared and they seem to have come from no where when they have observed all the expected rules. It has made me wonder whether all the rules are actually capable of keeping Covid at bay when a simple common cold still managed to sneak its way through all the procedures.
So share or not to share? – I guess that is my question.