It is 08.00 am on Friday 19 February 2021, one hundred and seventy-one days from the start of the 2020 – 2021 school year.
Ugh! Mum and dad have come to hate the school holidays!
We are all now well aware of the damage that children have been suffering as a result of the prolonged social isolation from their social peers when their schools were closed last year – disturbance of their mental health and wellbeing and disruption to their learning leading to poor educational outcomes. And, we all remember, all too vividly, the ups and downs of our own period of home schooling: having to get our heads around our Child’s curriculum; finding out what was available on-line (and any good?); spending a lot of time into the late night preparing for a home session the next day; having a tough time settling Child into any sort of daily 1 to 1 teaching routine; failing miserably at times to separate the parental job from the teacher job – (you’re my dad, NOT, I repeat, NOT my teacher!); the incessant pleas, all very persuasive and well-argued, about watching cartoons or telly (‘but, dad, please, I AM SO, SO BORED’). Our school lockdown continued for most of last year’s summer term. We eventually made good, steady progress with the learning, but it also carved an indelible ‘never again’ mark on all our psyches, Mum and Dad and Child.
Today, we are 14 days into our half-term school holidays, with Child returning to school after this week-end. The ‘holidays’ have instantly reminded Child of her lockdown experience. This really disturbed her, making life a living hell for all of us, with Child showing the way and mum and dad trying to keep up with their young whirlwind. She just cannot settle to any comfortable, relaxed, holiday-type pattern of behaviour – she is constantly hyperactive, not able to focus on anything for more than a few minutes, suffering bouts of not sleeping well followed by excessive tiredness, all spiced up by the odd unprovoked meltdown. Mum and dad are exhausted just watching this going on, being pulled every which way, anytime of the day night, as we try to cope and stay one step ahead – impossible! Yesterday evening, Child herself very ably put it in a nutshell, expressing all our feelings in a neat one-liner to her mum – ‘Mum, all I want to do is sit down and cry, and I don’t know why’.
We’re nearly through it, but where do we go from here? We’re already dreading the next two-week school break at Easter! How on earth are we going to survive another ‘holiday-from-hell’? We have to do something but what? If we go anywhere for a break, we simply expose ourselves to catching Covid – how on earth do we stay safe? WE ALL HAVE ONE BIG UGLY PROBLEM TO BURY BUT HOW?
How is dad’s vaccination going?
It is now nine days since my first jab. I was all geared up, ready to fight my way through all the reported side-effects. In the event, it was like a damp squib, not even the least pain anywhere, including the injection site, no fatigue, no temperature, nothing – everything continues in good working order. I must say I began to wander whether I had landed up in a clandestine placebo cohort! All I can say is – I hope not. So, the second jab, if they don’t run out of the stuff before then, is in twenty days’ time.
So, what does dad’s vaccination change in our family set up?
The big plus I get protected, so that I can die eventually of something else, that’s really good news for me and my family. Other than that, our Covid compliant life will continue as usual until the all clear is sounded, when the whole world population has been vaccinated, just before Armageddon!
By John Saunders
World Health Communication Associates (WHCA) & INSPIRIT Creatives UG NGO,
MediaWise and MediaFocusUK
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