They were just holding hands…

The day started early today. At 05:00 in the morning. Or perhaps a bit earlier, at 03:00. Perhaps yesterday never really ended. It’s hard to tell. It was one of those nights were our boy Rafa was up all the time. It’s been a while since he was sick.

If there’s one thing that has been an upside about the latest series of lockdowns, it is the fact that Rafa could not bring back any nasty stuff from the day care. When he still went to day care, he would have a different rhinovirus or flu type every week, if not twice. For him this meant a lot of goo oozing from his nose, but overall very little impact on his functioning throughout the day. It was the nights that were killing us. A blocked nose is difficult to accept when you try to sleep and you don’t have a clue who’s pinching your nose all the time. Or at least that’s what I tell myself to accept the situation. A fun side effect of the day care viruses? They seem to be out to get the parents. The toddlers are just tiny transport vessels. Makes sense that they’re not affected much. Effective viral spread works best with hosts still being active.

I have several people working with me on various projects that required highly planned sampling of time series, and also required me to work with other people in the same room. Even though we distanced always, that only does so much if you spend hours in the same room, even with doors and windows open. Let’s keep it that October-February have been exceptionally busy on that level. I could not get sick, so day care and its viruses were a problem. So in a twisted way, the lockdowns were a blessing in disguise.

So since December last year, Rafa has been at home every day. And he has been a charming little chap. Usually very cheerful and happy. Always happy when one of us enters the room after a work shift. Obviously, he does not like being alone, so there’s always one of us with him, except when he has his afternoon nap. It takes a bit of creativity and an alternating schedule, but we generally managed these lockdowns very well. In fact, the lack of day care sickness almost made me feel relieved when the Centre for Families sent us an e-mail late February with the very urgent request to keep your kids at home for as long as possible, even though the day cares were officially open, just so that the spread of the virus would be limited that way. We actually didn’t mind not being sick all the fucking time. And so we continued…

That all went well, until yesterday evening. Poor Rafa was not so happy. Today, even more so. A completely different kid. The cheer turned into sadness. I spent most of my morning holding him, while walking around in circles in the living room. He wouldn’t have it any other way.

Admit it – This is the cutest thing you have seen all week!

Now what surprises me in all of this, is that he rarely sees other kids up close. There’s one neighborhood girl that always holds his hand on the playground (I think they are in love), but they haven’t been very close to each other for a week. In addition, her and her parents are also pretty well-distanced from everyone else. So Rafa did not get sick from other kids, I think… We have been outside, but far out of reach from other people and nasty virus particles. Except a round of shopping. He must have picked it up either in the supermarket, probably from the shopping cart handles, or from the swings in the playground. From surfaces. I always thought that aerosoles would be the main responsible pathway for transmission of these pulmonary viruses. Now I’m convinced otherwise. All these kids, licking every surface they can and passing their oozing viral loads on to the next. Disgusting little humans. I’m pretty sure they are huge in transmission of Covid-19, but somehow, everyone is so quiet about that…

Anyways, note to self. Do not lick door handles, Robin! Another note. Go to bed early today, you’re tired!

Published by Robin Heinen

Father of two | Husband | Entomologist and Ecologist | Postdoctoral Researcher @ TUM | Traveler | Coffee Addict

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