A real story by a member of Kensington Mums
Perhaps I should take you through a whistle stop tour of my story to begin with. I guess my story begins in 2008 when I was pregnant with twin girls and my husband and I were planning to move to London from Dubai so that he could pursue his dream of getting his MBA degree. Plans never are very straight forward – The MBA happened, and the move happened, and my daughters were also born too early at just 23 weeks. One baby survived – Layanne. She is our star and princess. She has literally taught me everything I know. I won’t bore you with the details of her 9 month hospital stay and I will fastforward the story.
We went on to have 2 healthy happy babies in 2011, our son Jad was born, and in 2014, our family was complete when our daughter Jena Mai was born.
Our story during lockdown
So, today in the COVID-19 lockdown, I am home with an 11 year old with special needs, and a 9 year old and 6 year old! Fun times! I won’t lie, the first 4 weeks were brutal! We started our lockdown a week before the UK schools closed. Layanne is in the high risk and vulnerable category due to all her medical conditions, so it was a no brainer for us to keep the children home.
Taking that decision was tough, I knew that I would be the main carer for all the children and at that stage we weren’t even sure how homeschooling would be, what would our days look like? Pretty much the same questions every parent had.
So with Layanne’s condition, she pretty much needs help with everything and needs 1:1 support, which is a big challenge when you have a 6 year old with the attention span of about a minute. So the first few weeks, It was very challenging, and the children may or may not have watched too much TV to save my sanity. Layanne found it very difficult as well as she really thrives on her routine of waking up, going on the school bus, going to school, coming home, dinner and bath and bed. Her world was literally turned upside down overnight. The school was great at sending social stories for the children to try to make sense of the situation. Honestly, it was difficult to explain to adults, we couldn’t make sense of it all, it was just an effort not to project our worry and anxiety onto the children.
Once Easter break was over, life was normal- well, a new normal. The children all had access to virtual school. My 9 year old is pretty much self sufficient now, he can log on his own and he will ask for some help during the day, but he is mostly independent. For Jena, I need to sit with her and go through each lesson with her, and for Layanne, I have a carer come in every day 12-6 to give her some structure and to continue her learning and her physiotherapy routines.
I think the tough part of the lockdown is over, and we are now in a new normal routine. Having the crucial help that we have for Layanne has been my saving grace, for Layanne and for me. Best of all, I think it has been great to get to know more about my children, and to spend more quality time together as a family unit has been amazing, even though they drive me crazy sometimes!