“I want to come with you to the hospital, see my stethoscope and mask, mommy got it for me”
That was the sweet sound of my soon to be 4 year old daughter waiting for me after a busy hospital call.
She was dressed in a doll white coat, a stethoscope on her neck and a matching face mask that mom got her on amazon.
She was seeing people with masks every time the TV was on. These days before she goes to sleep she prays “for daddy, mammy, and Mikel”, her younger brother.
This pandemic has caused so much worry, fear, anxiety, pressure , stress, the trauma of being isolated, inability to sleep well, concern about access to basic things like food, financial wellbeing and on and on ,irrespective of who we are , where we live, whatever is our status professionally or financially. Everyone is affected including the little ones. It is even more challenging for a health care provider as we juggle with the fear of being sick, infecting your loved ones or not be able to care for them.
Schools closed and many working remotely from home, many parents would struggle to protect and nurture kids through this pandemic.
Being creative and having a schedule to stick to would be helpful. Mom is using this time of home stay to teach the kids some Amharic.
We decided not to turn on the TV and avoid discussing about the pandemic in front of our children.
This past Sunday while celebrating Coptic Easter, we dressed them up with Ethiopian traditional dress and spend the time together eating Ethiopian food.
It paid off.
All day what she talked about was going to see her nephews and nieces in Ethiopia. It must have brought some memories from our last visit during the Ethiopian New year.
During this time of crisis we all have to step up and turn off the noise, try to relate and be concerned, and while doing all the appropriate things that public health practices recommend, we as parents and health care providers need to project a sense of pragmatic optimism be it at work in the front lines or when we get home paying special attention to the little ones who may not appreciate the facts but may feel unsettled when they see us anxious or worried.