Yesterday our just-gone-two-year-old grandson eased out of our goodbye cuddle to give me a kiss – and he forgot that I was wearing the helmet. That minuscule expression on his face which said “WTF!!” for a fleeting instant followed by the usual visor kiss. THAT is shielding.
Me working upstairs – been WFH for a decade or more – with the sounds of Mrs Paul downstairs being “Nana” again – the sounds of grandson and Nana noises (just like every day in “the before”) wafting upstairs again – that is shielding.
Planning ahead and getting my lunch upstairs before Mrs Paul became Nana in our house … all the routines and risk assessments … the putting things where they need to be before, during and after this little chap spent the day with us again – THAT is shielding.
Mrs Paul has given me so much in the past twelve weeks. When our daughter asked if Mrs Paul could look after Oliver yesterday (like every day in “the before”) … I know how much more relaxed Mrs Paul is in our home rather than theirs (especially with them WFH still). Fast mental risk assessments are part of our lives now. So I said deffo at our place – and then Mrs Paul and I went through the details and risk assessment.
THAT is shielding.
Anyway … with (recently acquired) washable-boiler-suit and helmet, I had cuddles downstairs before his midday nap. And – as discussed when risk assessing – took him upstairs to put him in his cot … All those “the before” going-to-bed routines he and I have:
Two steps up the stairs he yells “NANA!!!” and jams his face between the bannister thingies (and Nana duly obliges and they kiss with the bannister thingies between them) … into “his” bedroom again (for the first time in forever) and the lampshade swatting (it has dangly bits) … the “Achoo … achoo … “ routine with the wall-light-pull-switch off-on-off-on … then the finale … switching the big light off … pushing the door shut … all still in my arms … and finally into his cot … realising the green “all ok” lcd on the helmet is a new addition to life … realising it made no difference to him at all … and the gentle back-rub in the dark … feeling him falling asleep (the helmet fan blocks out his “going to sleep breathing”) … tip-toeing out of the room … easing the bedroom door shut … stripping off the boiler suit/sanitising the helmet/showering and changing – all of THAT is shielding.
NOT popping in to pick him up when he wakes – that is shielding. Watching his confused face as we both wait for Nana to come upstairs to lift him out of the cot instead of me (in the before) – that is shielding. Hearing those noises floating upstairs again all afternoon – that is shielding. The gorgeous little chap forgetting I was wearing the helmet when giving me a goodbye kiss – THAT is shielding.
The UK government has given me twelve confusing weeks to learn how to live NOT with shielding, but to figure out LIVING with this virus AND staying safe. THEY told me my shield was bricks and mortar and bleach and sanitiser and isolation. They HAD TO – they don’t know me or my “condition”. All they knew back then was I would likely die if … I thought the same … I haven’t changed my mind much since.
All I know how to do is to “live with” and keep on living. I think that’s my job not the government’s. It has been this way my whole life. It’s how we brought-up our children to think – how we as children were brought-up to think. So why should “shielding” be any different.
That’s why for me and our family … all of THIS is “shielding” … all of “this” is adapting to making it living as usual.
That is my definition of shielding.
(best bit – we get to do it all over again tomorrow … NANA’S BACK!)