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Week X-13: The next new normal

If you’re thinking you’ve missed a week, you haven’t, there is no Week X-12, put it down to a combination of how I’m actually coping and how much time I have to write. That every time I see the husband he has his phone in his hand, and is doing something pointless on it, is not helping with any of that.

The older two small people have now gone back to school. Though interpret that with a large pinch of salt. They are both there for a fraction of the time they would normally be and I am still home schooling for a vast majority of the week. School continue to set work, though it is neither at the level they are at nor available with time to prepare how to to juggle three children through it. So we mostly do our own thing and then often see elements of it appear in the official pages a few weeks later 🤔 Kamikaze is not really coping with not being allowed to join the school run, and is screaming loudly and insistently on both days we have that. I, on the other hand, am enjoying my walk, without any small people, with some music a few times a week.

Thursday here was very eerie with two at school and a third self-installed with a colouring book in the office for most of the morning. I cleared up and cleaned the whole of downstairs for the first time in three months, and it only took a couple of hours!

Children are in some ways the forgotten part of the relaxation of the rules. As adults go back to work and shops re-open, little to nothing has really changed for most children. School, if they can go at all, is very different, playgrounds are still shut, they still can’t sit on their grandparents knee to read a story; for some they still simply live to far away to see at all.

We’ve had to stand our ground with both school and nursery as lists of things they require to stay on premises has in some areas gone beyond common sense to, frankly, detrimental to mental health. The original specification included things like comforters being left at nursery. We said no. Gerald is like a fifth limb really, and re-entering a world for the first time in most of four months is not going to be done without him. Before anyone bombards me with disregard for others, we have two Geralds and can quite feasibly ensure a freshly washed one goes in and a switch is done again on arriving home. Our normal pattern was always to wash Gerald after the nursery day, because a day in the grips of a two year old surrounded by eight other two year olds?!? Coronavirus is not my biggest concern in that scenario shall we say! The school wanted the sun hats to stay there too. Coats could come home, but not hats. Again we said no. It was a scenario that meant walking to school in one hat, carrying another, to take one in to school and give another one to me to take back home, to then leave me carrying hats back to school to pick them up so they’d be wearing one to come home. Is the hat really that big a risk of potential germ transfer? Compared to the child? That is not staying at school. I said I’d wash the hat and the hat was coming home.

I’ve come close a few times to asking if they wish to keep the child overnight too.

I suspect a lot of the time parents are not going to question the lists, but parents need to realise that the majority of the list is actually preference and not compulsory. In my opinion a lot of it is also being fueled by paranoia and not common sense too.

Getting the children to wear clean clothes each day and wash their hands on arrival makes sense. Restricting the amount of inter-class contact makes sense. A stricter cleaning schedule than they’re using in the actual testing labs, like they’re doing in the husbands offices, not so much. He’s still working from home for the foreseeable future anyway. This week’s edition of Private Eye has an interesting medical column, noting that the risk of a child dying from coronavirus is less than the risk of them dying walking to school. It discusses some of the non academic impact on children of schools being closed. It finished with a poignant question: are we prepared to accept slightly more risk as adults to reduce the widespread harm to children? It doesn’t take a genius to work out where they stand on getting children back into school…

And then there’s been the response to me asking for the next level band of books for Fuddles Keeper. It left me fuming and I still haven’t actually responded. Mostly because I still can’t quite figure out how to do so politely. Regardless of what year group a child is in, they should be able to progress through reading material at their own pace, not some arbitrary average pre defined nonsense. Instead, in last weeks school report I included a photograph of the current bed box reading selection. Neither selection is that of a child that needs less than 50 words in a book…

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But what do I know?

The week ended with a couple of highs though. We got tickets to go to Quarry Bank Mill next week and the eldest did one of those Fathers Day cards that is normal for him and a reminder that it is not me, it is the rest of the world. Navigating life and the school system with very bright children may be a constant battle but it’s worth it to have the small people we have!

Drawn, from memory, at school… and recreated by Daddy when trying to confirm for himself he was seeing what he thought he was 😂

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