Mairi lives with her son Michael who is 4 years old.
Images from Mairi and Michael’s discussion.
Have you talked about coronavirus with your child? What does he understand about it?
He didn’t have much of an understanding, especially when everything went into lockdown and we went for a general walk and he had to understand he couldn’t go into the park. So, he understands, well we call it the big bad virus, so I would say it’s the big bad virus to explain things, so he knows that now. If something is closed I can say oh it’s the big bad virus. He doesn’t understand its Covid-19 but that there is a virus going about. I don’t think he worries about it, it’s more just not understanding why he can’t do things – so like play outside. Or go to the soft play. So I just have to keep repeating it’s because of the virus.
What was the immediate impact on you both when lockdown began?
The impact on both of us is that, well I was working and going to work stopped. Nursery stopped as well for him. He has been coming to (early learning setting) for just over 2 years, and previously where we lived before where he stated going when he was 8 months old. I don’t drive or anything and so we were just stuck. At the time I was trying to start up my own business as (job) and everything just got put on hold. I had just moved to this new house, and so family weren’t near, just face-timing. I just felt that the first two months of it all were face-timing everybody. So I kept working in the job I had, doing Zoom meetings but also dealing with Michael in the house. My employer was very understanding. I got furloughed later on just for 3 weeks, but I’m back working now.
The main support I lost was my mum. She helps a lot. I couldn’t get that support and it was just Facetime. It’s definitely been intense.
But during lockdownthe toughest thing was losing routine. He was just not getting to jump about, burn energy off, he was bouncing off the walls, going to bed later, getting up earlier, started not wanting to eat himself and wanting me to feed him, being in my bed, everything was just kind of starting to deteriorate with it. I think it was just because he was with me 24/7 and clingy. Touch wood, he has got much better, but I can’t get him out of my bed. But coming back to nursery he has been absolutely fine. I thought he would have been a bit funny but he couldn’t wait to get back.
Was there anything about the period of lockdown you have both liked?
Yes, we have a garden, and he has a wee tablet where he watches YouTube or play games. But we did a lot of arts and crafts and making things. Like rock painting, we’ve got the rocks we painted – the Covid period!
I think what he liked is over Covid I got offered a key worker like role, so for a front line worker I did childminding, just for the one child his age so he had someone to play with 3 days a week through a 6 week period of lockdown, so it was great he had a playmate and friend. He is in his picture that he has drawn for you. We went a lot of walks. But the tricky thing for me was childminding, working only at home, watching the two kids.
Overall how did lockdown affect you?
I will say that when I did that 3 week furlough I realised that even at home while working, well if I hadn’t had the opportunity to work I don’t know what I would have done, because the slack of doing nothing felt like it was getting worse and worse, no routine. I felt like my mental state was going a bit down. It made me think if I wasn’t working what could have happened?
How has it been being back in nursery?
Michael wasn’t worried at all. I was because before Covid he was in and out of hospital with upper respiratory problems anyway. So it was a fear I had, with his immunity being compromised, him being around other kids again and catching something. And well, he never had to go back into hospital but he was back in nursery for two days in nursery and then off for the week and he was on antibiotics and it was just because he was socialising with other kids. He didn’t need a Covid test, it was tonsillitis he had.
Have you got any concerns looking ahead?
It’s just a worry about lockdown again, that’s what everyone is talking about. Is it going to go back to square one just as we are getting that normality back again. We’re back to work, shops opening again and seeing family. I worry about that all stopping again really. I’d worry about not seeing my family, I feel like I’ve just started seeing them all. I’d worry about my boy not understanding, not seeing granny again, he couldn’t understand why he couldn’t hug her. When we weren’t allowed to touch, he didn’t understand. His gran worked though Covid and so she has to restrict what she can do. He didn’t understand why he could do one thing one minute and then not the next. And if the parks close again he is going to wonder why he could go back and then not now again. It’s like taking a sweetie away from a child!
What would help in the coming months?
That’s a tricky question. This is an important year for his development. Michael could go to school next year. I feel like him having time off nursery could slow his development down or make him less ready for school. So, that’s a slight worry. I don’t want to keep him back for another year just because this has happened, but if that’s the circumstances then I would have to look into keeping him back.
Do you know if the school he would go to is thinking about this already?
I’ve not heard anything but speaking to someone here at nursery about it it’s still a bit early to decide. It might be though that if we go onto lockdown again it might know him back a little bit. And he would be a young start, at four and a half, so the question is do I keep him back, or just go for it? But we’ll know, if he’s ready, if he’s not he’s not.
I am 4 years old. This is me and my friend in my drawing. And in this drawing are people who work here in my nursery. We wash our hands with the soap because of the big, bad virus. Things closed. I couldn’t go to the soft-play or the park. I am happy now it is open. I bounce on my trampoline. I jump in the sky. I like my bike.