The Virus Diaries: Kids

March 20, 2020 at 5:14 pm (Cat pics, Food, Fully Sick, general life, Mum Stuff, Writing Ranting)

I just had someone call me for a medical survey and I was WAY too excited to talk to someone outside of my immediately family. It’s been =almost= six days.

Whatever “it” is, I’m losing it.

 

 

Unimpressed cat is unimpressed.

 

 

 

 

 

I managed to get both kids outside for a bit today (TJ is a ball of energy at all times; Louisette… takes after me). And we’ve all showered, and the kids have both done some book learnin’. I am winning at life, and I’ve survived a whole week of home schooling.

Proof Louisette went outside today:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Louisette also had stomach cramps today, which means our family is 4 out of 4 for having SOME kind of illness (probably a very minor gastro episode). So the question of, “Should I keep my kids home from school?” is moot for us, because everyone everywhere agrees that if your kid is sick at all they should be home.

But here’s some general advice from five experts, most of whom reckon schools should stay open and non-sick kids should stay at school (for the moment; things can change in an instant of course).

I find it absolutely astonishing that kids are not (currently) identified as the major disease vectors that they usually are. It goes against everything I know about children, hygiene, and infectious diseases. Noting for the record that I am NOT an immunologist and so you shouldn’t listen to me, allow me to give you an extremely fresh example…

TJ had a bath today. When it was time to get out, I did what I always do, and asked him to squeeze out his facewasher and give it to me so I could put it straight into the washing machine. He fished it out, started squeezing it… and then shifted his head underneath the dripping cloth so he could drink his own bath water.

It was like my very own real-life reenactment of this infamous scene from “Man Versus Wild”:

Not so cute now, is he?

 

Ah, who am I kidding? He’s still cute as pie.

Extremely gross pie.

 

 

 

 

 

When it comes to the question of, “Should I keep my kids home from school?” the answer is YES if your kids are the tiniest bit sick with anything.

(You’re probably aware that a lot of people have COVID-19 and are infectious without having any symptoms at all. Fun! And that kids tend to have much milder experiences with this virus than adults, which is good in the sense that no-one wants kids to die. Ever.)

Resource of the day:

Ten questions to ask yourself when considering keeping healthy kids at home.

1. If my kids are home, is there someone who can stay home with them, who is NOT over 60 years of age or otherwise immunocompromised?

My answer: Sorta. I’m immunocompromised but I’m also their Mum. If I wasn’t writing this blog or chronically ill I’d even be able to keep up with my work (with a certain amount of “The Lion Sleeps Tonight”-related disruption).

2. Does keeping my kids home cause an essential worker (eg a health or store worker) to be unavailable?

My answer: Nah; we’re good.

3. Will my children fall behind at school if I keep them home?

My answer: Yes, a bit. But not as much as most since they’re both enthusiastic learners and Chris and I both have teaching experience. Primary kids require more input from parents while older kids are more likely to take time off school as a chance to go and see friends (which is clearly even worse than having them at school) but can also, theoretically, do homework to keep up. I think two hours a day is plenty of time for high schoolers to keep up with schoolwork. If your kid definitely can’t do school work for two hours a day at home (or can’t be trusted to stay at home), that’s going to be tricky.

4. Are my kids or any other members of the household at higher risk?

My answer: Yes, me.

5. Will my children suffer from the social isolation?

My answer: Mine barely saw people in the Christmas school holidays, so they’ll be absolutely fine.

6. Can I keep this up, possibly for months?

My answer: Looks like we’re going to find out :-/

7. Do I want to take a conservative approach while evidence is not 100% clear?

My answer: Yes. Although it does look like the evidence so far suggests kids are way less dangerous than usual germ-wise.

8. Is isolation going to risk the mental health or harmony of my family?

My answer: Yes, a bit, but we’re all pretty good at coping with this sort of thing (introversion helps, plus experience with my chronic illness, plus all of us are screen addicted in a big way).

9. Can the parents still work and/or earn money?

My answer: We’ll take a hit, but fundamentally yes.

10. What if the schools are all shut down completely and your isolation period is longer than you would have chosen?

My answer: At least I wouldn’t feel like this was all an over-reaction on my part. Plus we’d have official school resources to work with. In any case, if this goes on for months we’ll cope—one way or another.

Bonus kittypic.

Recommended donation of the day: Who do you know who is a single parent? They often have less secure working arrangements as well, so check they have food and toilet paper and (if you’re up to it) offer to mind their kids for X number of days (making it clear if you are/are not able to mind sick kids).

Recommended personal action of the day: Pick one area (cleaning the bathroom, washing bedlinen, washing towels, cleaning doorknobs) that you probably don’t do quite as often as you should, and choose what your new normal will be. Something sane and manageable eg I theoretically wash our bathrooms every week (that’s what I did before I got sick) but it’s more like twice a year in reality these days. Official guidelines are to wash the bathroom every time someone uses it (definitely not gonna happen—apart from anything else, us diabetics pee about 20 times a day), so I’m going to make the effort to clean the bathrooms once a week. But no more than that, or I’ll be overwhelmed and definitely fail.

Recommended hoarding item of the day: Go and see your dentist while you can. (Lockdown guidelines will allow essential visits but not checkups.)

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