June 11, 2020

Parenting within a Pandemic.

“Mommy, tell me what they’re saying on the news.”

A few short months ago my daughter would ignore the TV whenever it didn’t have a Disney movie or Nick Jr. show on the screen. She’d happily occupy herself while I multitasked grading, and had the news muted in the background. She was completely disinterested in the words and pictures moving across the screen.

Now, she asks me to tell her what they’re saying on the news. “Mommy, tell me what they’re saying on the news. Is the coronavirus over yet?”

She misses her preschool, her teacher, and her friends. She misses seeing kids other than her older sister. She misses going to playgrounds, and despite my pre-pandemic anxiety, she misses the Mommy who didn’t make her wash her hands 20 times a day or panic if she brushed a strand of hair from her face while playing in our front yard.

My sweet girl, who was supposed to turn five in July at Disney World, has maturely come to terms with having a Disney party here instead.

The kid who couldn’t wait (neither could I!) to graduate preschool with her friends and sing the much rehearsed song “Kindergarten Here We Come!” will instead have a graduation parade. We’ve asked family and friends to drive by our home next weekend to honk, say hello, and congratulate our little graduate.

We purchased a cap and gown, a yard sign documenting this momentous occasion for any little one moving up in their schooling, and hope she has the best day.

Still, it’s so unfair to her. It’s unfair to everyone.

The most frustrating part of this pandemic is: people need to stop making it about politics, and trying to sneak in agendas that have nothing to do with the science behind this terrible time.

I have doctors in my family. I know hospitals in many places are at capacity. The numbers in our county alone continue to rise, because people aren’t following the safe protocols handed down from our local, state, and national leaders. (Not that they’re on the same page with each other…but that’s an article for a different time).

The basic stuff seems pretty, well, basic:

Wash your hands. Wear a mask when needed. Stay in your own homes. Only leave your house for essential errands.

Stop making this international crisis so chaotic that I have a four-year-old who needs to know what’s on the news.

Many could argue that our children should be shielded from the current media climate, but I disagree.

My kids are both smart enough to know and feel how their worlds have been turned upside down. To me, the fear of the unknown and the anxiety that would cause them is far more detrimental than how we water down and explain COVID-19.

Shortly after my daughter stopped going to preschool, I drew her a picture. I showed her the 11 friends in her class (plus her), their teacher, and all the other classrooms full of people.

I drew a germ and showed her with lines that if everyone has a germ, and there are that many people in one school, they could get sick much more easily than if she were here with just Mommy, Daddy, and Sissy. She got it. She didn’t argue or fuss. She understood with that simple illustration why things were changing and why this was our “new normal.”

We can help our children, and our world grow, by being honest about the predicament we are in, staying as healthy as possible, and being kind to one another.


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