Copywrite October 23, 2020
“The impact on the kids is now undeniable: regression of skills, halted development, and perpetual childhood. We were all told over and over that the kids were fine, that when they got it, they recovered quickly and had no long-term effect. That was wrong. Children may not have died as much as the other age brackets, but the long-term impact on them is definitely more severe. About 75% of children who got it under the age of 15, have life-long Covid-Kid symptoms. The younger they were when they got sick, the greater demand on society they will have. We have a whole generation of kids that will never grow up or contribute to society.”
“Turn the TV off Gerry,” Mom said as she entered the room. “I am not up to hearing it at the moment. I heard enough about it from the doctor today.”
Dad pressed the off button on the remote and the room went silent. I just continued to play with my toys on the floor, while Mom cuddled up next to Dad on the couch.
“The brain scans confirmed it?” Dad asked. “He’s a Covid-19 Kid?”
“Yup,” Mom replied as she watched me play. “No question about it. Those same strange legions seen in the lungs of adults are seen all throughout his brain. They even scanned his bladder and bowels, where they found them too.”
“Oh my. What does that mean for his future?”
“The doctor says the Pull-Ups may be the wrong approach, feeling we should just put him back in diapers and accept he will never gain full control.”
“He’s 10, we can’t put him back into diapers.”
“The doctor says the research is clear. No child with the Covid legions on their bladder and bowels regains the control they lost.”
“But he was seven when he got Covid. He was fully toilet trained.”
“Well, mostly at least. Like most seven-year-olds, he would at times wait a bit too long and then urgently need a bathroom. There was the occasional accident, so I guess he wasn’t FULLY toilet trained. But, none of that matters. Covid stripped away all brain connections that were forming at the time of infection. The maturity and development boost kids go through at age six, taking them out of that Preschooler perspective on things, well, that was just stripped away from him. Essentially making him a little kid again. That is the regression the news was talking about. The Covid kids all lost the brain connections that were being created or firmed up. For Luke, that means he lost the six-year-old skills taking him back to the Preschooler way of life. At age nine, he was supposed to go through another maturity and development stage. He didn’t. That is what caused the doctor to order the tests. Even kids with Intellectual Disabilities continue to develop and gain skills at these periods of brain development. Covid Kids don’t.”
“Luke,” Dad directed. “You’re doing the Pee-Pee dance. Go in and go potty.”
Mom followed me down to the bathroom. As I sat down on the potty, Mom looked at my Pull-up.
“Looks like your rocket ships have faded,” Mom commented as she took my pants and Pull-Up off. “Maybe the doctor is right. Going back to diapers may be the best option.”
Mom got out a new Pull-up from the cabinet under the sink, “You done?”
I looked down. I wasn’t sure if any got in the toilet or not, “Yeah, all done.”
Mom had me get up, wipe with a baby wipe, and throw it into the trash. I put on the new Pull-Up and got my pants back on. I was told to wash my hands. As I ran off to go play, Mom told me not to run.
As Mom sat back down on the couch, “I saw the new Pampers at the grocery store today. He would love them. They have Disney Junior characters on them.”
“Pampers? They would never fit Luke.”
“Obviously, you haven’t been paying attention. Almost all of the Baby Product companies are now making all their products for kids of all ages, resizing them for bigger kids. The Covid-19 Kids want and need the baby items. Luke would fit in size 9 Pampers.”
“So, we just treat him like a Preschooler for the rest of his life?”
“He will be functioning at that level, so the doctor says, Yes.”
“But he is still getting bigger.”
Mom smiled down at me, “He is my big baby boy.”
“He used to complain when you called him that.”
“Back then he didn’t view himself as a baby. I guess that says a lot right there, doesn’t it?”
“What would the school say if you put him back in diapers? Would they even let him in school?”
Mom chuckled, “I was talking with his teacher last week about his transition to Middle School at the end of this year. The district has decided that they are going to create Covid-Kid classrooms, in addition to the regular Special Education classrooms. They will have two types; one for kids in diapers and one for toilet trained kids. His teacher said, if Luke got diagnosed a Covid-Kid, he would be in the room for kids in diapers. Whether we put him in diapers or not, the school feels he belongs with the other kids who are.”
“What are they even doing with him in school? He isn’t learning to read or do math.”
“They have him learning a Preschool Curriculum, but the schools are finding that the Covid Kids just are not getting new stuff into long term memory. They can learn new material, but never reach mastery of it. They lose it as soon as they move on to another topic. His regression when he got Covid stripped away all skills that he had not mastered. Educators have learned a lot from these kids about the difference between learned and mastered skills. Now that they can see how important it is to have kids master a skill, there has been a big shift in education to get as many skills to mastery by the end of a school year, instead of teaching as much as possible in a school year. The problem is, with the Covid Kids, no one has figured out how to reach mastery with new skills, or even if it is possible.”
Mom watched me playing for a bit before continuing, “The doctor said scientists have identified a special coating on some brain neurons that is not there on others. They believe this special coating develops as a skill reaches mastery with a person. Someone who learns to ride a bike will always know how to ride a bike, even if they don’t get on one for decades. Covid-Kid brains have significantly less neurons with these special coatings. Some believe the Covid-Kids can no longer develop this special coating, preventing any new skills from ever reaching mastery. When the kids got sick, it is believed that the illness stripped neurons of this special coating if it was not fully developed, not a mastered skill. It took away things they were learning, had just learned, and even stuff that was biological development or maturity which the child was gaining. Luke was six when he got it, just out of the stage where he changes from a baby Preschooler to a Big Kid, but since that new development and maturity stage was not firmly established, he lost it.”
“What do we do?”
Mom cuddled up to Dad and looked down at me playing, “After the doctor confirmed the diagnosis, I think we just have to accept our new reality. Luke will forever be a Preschooler.”
“I’m not in Preschool,” I stated. “I am in 6th grade.”
“Yes, Lukey sweetie,” Mom responded. “You’re a big 6th grader.”
“Yeah, a 6th grader in Pull-Ups still learning the letters of the alphabet and the sounds they make. Learning to count to twenty in math, and needing help with fasteners.”
I smiled at Dad’s description of all the wonderful things I could do.
“If you’re seriously considering putting him back in diapers, are you thinking about any other baby items?”
“I never stopped using lidded cups, but I have seriously thought of going back to bibs with him.”
“He does make a mess when eating.”
“Your Mom wants to give us a stroller for his Birthday. I think I will tell her to go ahead and get it. If he is going to stay at this developmental level, there is no need to push him to be a Big Boy.”
“Trips to places would be easier with him in a stroller. He’s too big to pick up and carry when he gets tired and whiney.”
“I think I will also stop telling him to leave his stuffed animals in the car. Seems like a silly battle if we accept that he is going to stay a Preschooler forever.”
“I guess you’re right there. Preschoolers carrying around a stuffed animal is normal.”
“There’s a kid in his class at school that still uses a pacifier, but most Preschoolers have given those up. I don’t want to re-introduce those unless I have to.”
“He was really addicted to those things as a baby. He was what, four, before he finally gave them up completely?”
“Yeah, when upset or tired as a three and four-year-old, a pacifier was still the best way to calm him down. He never used one beyond his third birthday for other purposes though, so I’m not planning on bringing those back.”
“Ahhh, I see your logic now,” Dad expressed. “Pull-Ups, bibs, lidded cups, strollers, and carrying around stuffed animals were all common and accepted when he was three and four. If he has regressed to that level, I see why you are considering them. Diapers weren’t though.”
“No,” Mom confirmed. “We had him out of diapers shortly after his third birthday, but he was in and out of Pull-Ups until he was almost six. With the Covid Legions on his bladder and bowel, the doctor said he will never gain full control. If that is reality, either we are constantly on guard in toilet training mode for the rest of our lives, or we just put him back in a diaper. Yeah, there are times that he can go a few days without any accidents, but then there are weeks on end where he has several accidents a day. Not sure it is worth stressing him out on toilet training if he will never master it.”
“I don’t exactly like changing poopy diapers,” Dad commented.
“Yet, we deal with one of those on most days even with him in Pull-Ups. Diapers will do a much better job of containing the mess.”
“Our eleven-year-old, diaper wearing, preschooler,” Dad stated. “I guess I will just need to accept that. Just not sure how we’re going to handle it when he’s six feet tall.”
“We should probably look into a changing table big enough for him.”
“I wonder how much that will cost.”
“Less than the back problems we will get by changing him on the floor or his bed.”
“Okay, okay, good point.”
“At least he doesn’t need a crib,” Mom commented. “Many of the kids who were two years younger than him when they got Covid, regressed back to a stage where they still need a crib.”
“Yeah, I guess things could be worse,” Dad smiled at me.
“The doctor said the typical regression was 2 to 5 years. Luke was six when he got sick. If he had lost five years, he would be functioning at a one-year-old level.”
“I can’t even imagine raising a one-year-old for life,” Dad commented. “Luke can at least talk, walk, and feed himself.”
Mom gave Dad a hug and then helped me clean up my toys before taking me back to my room to get ready for bed.
As Mom zipped up my footed PJ’s, “Well Kid-o, tomorrow I am going to buy some diapers for you, and we will switch to diapers instead of Pull-Ups.”
“Susan wears diapers with rainbows and unicorns on them,” I stated. “Will my diapers have rainbows and unicorns?”
Mom smiled at me, “Probably not Lukey. Susan is a girl and wears girl diapers. You are a boy and will wear boy diapers. Boy diapers don’t usually have unicorns and rainbows on them.”
“Why? Boys like unicorns and rainbows.”
Mom chuckled, “Yes they do Lukey, but girls like them a lot more than boys.”
Mom lifted up my sheets and blanket so I could climb into bed.
“Am I going to Preschool next year? That why I need to wear diapers?”
Mom tucked me in and ruffled my hair, “No silly. You’re going back to diapers because that Yucky Covid-19 bug made it so you can’t learn to use the toilet. So, we will just stop Potty time and just put you back in diapers.”
“Okay,” I said as I snuggled down into my pillow, hugging my stuffed Panda Bear.
After reading me a bed-time story and kissing me on my forehead, Mom said, “Good-night Lukey.”
“Nighty Night Mommy.”
Mom turned on my star projector music box and the baby monitor. She then went to the door and turned off the light. Leaving the door open just a crack, she left as I dozed off to sleep.