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Caring during Covid-19: Annabelle’s Diary (Saturday)

My name is Annabelle and I am a mother and parent carer for my son Vincent (5 years) and daughter named Vala (11 months). Whilst he is still on the waiting list for a diagnosis assessment for the second time, he has been characterised as Complex Special Needs. Just like any regular parent, you do anything you can to help your child. But in our household, it can mean anything from helping him dress, reminders to eat and being gentle with his baby sister. Every day is different, whilst it can mean the same routines and reminders, it can also hold hope and a new possibility. Even when we struggle with his behaviours and traits at times, we still wouldn’t have him any other way.

Saturday.

Well we had a very interesting morning, at 12am Vincent woke up absolutely boiling hot and red cheeked. His asthma started flaring making him cough more, which made us freak out a tad. I called 111 to ask for advice on what to do if you suspect somebody having coronavirus, to be awaited by an answering machine – saying unless the person is physically unable to do anything then mild symptoms can be helped with cold and flu over the counter products.

I grabbed the Calpol and after about 5 minutes of Vincent refusing to take it, managed to sway him to in the end. An hour later he’s cooled down, smiling, giggling and calling daddy unpleasantries. Yep, back to his own self!

He fell back asleep around 2.45am, and both kids woke up at 6.30am. I was under the impression that Vincent would sleep in a little bit longer, especially if he were sick. But no, he’s up, and ready to take on the day like normal. Vincent is rarely sick.

Whilst making the kids’ breakfasts, I groggily searched what would cause a child’s temperature to rise during the night, to come to the conclusion he had overheated.

I bring in their breakfast juggling Vala in one hand, two plates in the other with a tea waiting on the kitchen side. Yawning every couple of minutes, in my mind I secretly ask my children if I can borrow some of their energy.

Last week I had made a list of many types of activities that Vincent could pick from, even if he manages to concentrate on them for five minutes. The best activities he loves to pick are arts and crafts, playing with his trains, traffic lights and cars and his Lego. But those are just the small toys. When he likes to dress up as a traffic warden, he goes around with a child-size traffic light and stop signs that he was given at Christmas. Sometimes it’s hard to continue for long with that role play, especially if you need the toilet!

I think what I miss for Vincent the most at the moment is taking him outside for most of the afternoon, and him being able to go to school. He’s an outdoorsy little boy. He enjoys going to parks, the old railway track and woodland areas. And he loves socialising with everyone he sees.

I understand the need for isolation and social distancing during this pandemic. But I worry more about how it will affect my child from being isolated from the outside world for so long.