Resilience is the frequent adjective I’ve used to describe children throughout covid. “They’ll bounce back!” “They’ll jump back in to the things they’ve missed.”
And I’ve been lucky with Harry that he threw himself back in to his social life. He didn’t blink at returning to preschool (albeit with some challenges around sharing toys, having had everything to himself for the last year). He didn’t seem phased by the time away from other littles.
Today however I saw the ripples of lockdown; the inevitable impact of being locked away from society. A hesitancy. An uncertainty. Most definitely some nervousness.
Those who know us and those who’ve followed my blogs for a time know that trains are life. He wakes up talking about them. He plays with them incessantly. He watches any train-related televisual treats. He goes to sleep dreaming of them.
Our nightly routine always features a couple of books and then before bed Harry tells me “let’s have a little chat.”
“What do you want to chat about little man?”
“What’s your favourite train?”
Yep. Nightly we compare the merits of diesel versus electric. Freight train versus the ‘Epping train’. And the big debate: Polar Express versus the Hogwarts Express.
So today, armed with anti-bac and masks, we headed off on our first adventure for months.
This last year, before he starts school, was supposed to be our year of discovery. With London on our doorstep, we were going to revisit all of the museums and attractions on our doorstep. We’d ticked off so much in his first two years but now he has the vocabulary to engage and the ability to ask questions (sooooo many questions), I was excited to venture out!
Sadly it’s not been possible but today marked our baby steps back out in to the world.
I’d promised him a ride on the central line to go and get an ice cream. Not quite the Natural History Museum but after solitary confinement in the garden for so long, I felt like Christopher Columbus of mum world.
Strange thing were afoot as we approached the station on his scooter though. Hands went over the ears. “No, no, no, I want to go home.” Whaaaaaat!
He had a proper little meltdown. And I couldn’t quite get to the bottom of what was upsetting him. Even dangling the carrot of an ice-cream didn’t seem to persuade him.
Reluctantly he got on to the carriage with me but rather than lose his mind with excitement every time a train passed the other way as he used to, he sat snuggled up to me.
He didn’t seem to be able to voice his worries. But it humbled me and made me realise that despite the fun we’ve had, despite the ease with which he seems to have adapted, the big, wide world opening up again is clearly more daunting than I’d realised.
They listen. They hear the words covid, death, germs, lockdown. They see the masks. The signs everywhere. What does a three year old understand of it? How does it go from “Boris says no” to “let’s go!”
After spending an hour trying to find an ice-cream shop open pre-midday, we secured an McD’s McFlurry. It appears all was forgiven and forgotten as he got stuck in.
So the moral of my blog today: go slowly, go gently and don’t be too presumptuous. We are all adjusting to this crazy time but imagine doing so without the vocabulary or understanding of politics, science and medicine to get to grips with it all.
More McFlurries may be necessary.