Everyone’s sharing their coronavirus impact tales online and they’re all so similar, right? We’re just chilling in our sweatpants, baking bread, drinking wine in a paranoid frenzy. I prefer these gin sodas myself. But here’s something we don’t often think about: How is coronavirus impacting my kid?
My 5 year-old has driven me to the brink of madness. I could rant on and on about the television I’ve watched or the number of times I destroyed her in UNO or the meltdowns I’ve endured, but let’s think about my daughter for a bit because she’s gonna grow up mentally impacted by this COVID-19 stuff.
She’s Getting Pissed About Staying Inside
This is where we all started, right? We wanted to take our kids to the playground but now it’s got that CAUTION tape all around it and we somehow have to explain that it’s not a murder scene but a potential death scene because the virus might be all up in the crevices of the slide, yo.
I take my daughter out when I work up enough mental fortitude to do so. It’s tough because I have a lot riding against me:
- I live on a steep hill (walking sucks!).
- I don’t drive (because I’m eco-friendly but also like to torture myself by walking a lot).
- My backyard isn’t child-friendly (no fences and lots of pine needles!).
- The weather has been TERRIBLE.
- My son is still a baby and can’t do anything but like, sit there.
Four years is big enough an age gap to make outdoor adventures difficult. It’s only gonna get harder when my boy starts to walk because those pine needles, right? So usually I stay inside and now daughter is hella mad a lot of the time.
“We can’t go out because of the stupid stupid stupid stupid stupid virus!” is her typical mantra.
I do hope that we’ll be taking advantage of the outdoors more when this all blows over.
She’s Nagging ME to Wash MY Hands
We definitely watched those Disney COVID-19 parody songs a myriad of times. It’s already ruined the lyrics she’s memorized from The Little Mermaid’s “Part of Your World”.
Instead of “Wish I could be, part of your world…”, she always sings, “Something unseen, COVID-19!” in the bath now. It’s great!
She only sort of understands the hand-washing thing. As a result, I turn on the nagging mom WASH YOUR HANDS talk consistently. I make her sing Happy Birthday twice, which was great when my son’s birthday came around mid-April. I got into the practice of nagging her to wash her hands. It became a joke, some fun.
Now? When I use the bathroom, she yells at me.
“MAKE SURE YOU WASH YOUR HANDS, MOM!”
“DID YOU WASH YOUR HANDS?!”
“WASH YOUR HANDS WITH SOAP!”
I mean, we’re all going to be washing our hands to the point of eczema for the rest of our lives, but are my daughter’s hands going to be stripped of flesh by the time she’s a teen? Because they’re dry AF and she hates putting on lotion.
She’s Obsessively Cleaning Her Toys
The obsessing with cleanliness doesn’t stop at hands, folks! Now my daughter is obsessed with cleaning all her dirty toys. If you’re a parent you know that nasty film of juice-Cheerio-hand-gunk that gets on top of everything plastic. She’s noticed it too. And she likes to shut herself in the bathroom now so she can wash them all.
I like this time because it allows me to churn out the beginnings of a new blog post, but often times I don’t realize what she’s washing in there, and she’s already washed a couple of battery-operated toys. Her toy drill? Washed. Her toy Ariel camera? Water got ALL UP IN THERE.
My husband managed to open up the drill and dry out the inside. The camera seems to have fared okay, but I opened it up and left all the pieces out on the table to dry and THEN she get into the pieces and ripped a couple of the cables off the circuit board. I think they’re fixable. I have a soldering iron and enough high school electronics knowledge to make it happen.
But the ambition? Do I really want to hear Ariel tell me how beautiful I look for the 12,394th time my daughter takes a pretend picture of me? Fixing that camera is the last thing I want to do at the end of the night when I get time to myself.
She’s Attached to My Hip
I’m not joking. If I bring myself to her level at any point during the day, she latches onto me like a spider and NEVER LET’S GO. The end of the night is always a struggle because she wants me to stay in the bed with her and begs and begs and begs every night.
Now, props to all you parents who do the co-sleeping thing and enjoy it, but I just can’t with that noise. I stay up late and I need my own sleep and on the few occasions where I do sneak into my daughter’s room to spend the night, she WAKES UP, like wide awake, and we just lay in the dark and talk about stuff like adult onesie pajamas and how stupid it is that grown up people wear them as “day clothes”.
While nice, these moments don’t exactly help in us getting sleep, which all my nurse friends tell me is essential in keeping up that coronavirus immunity.
My daughter and I have bonded quite a bit (usually while my son is napping). I’ll play games where I’ll hold her up feet and pretend she’s a superhero, or I’ll let her cling to my leg and I’ll try to do leg-lifts. Dumb stuff, but fun stuff. Problem is that she now CLINGS and REFUSES TO LET GO until I snap, or rather, until I have to have that face to face discussion with her once again about respecting people’s wishes.
I love that we can be so close. I was never very physically close with my parents growing up, so this kind of interaction will benefit my kid. BUT, I need my space sometimes and I also appreciate being able to cook dinner without a 5-year-old clinging to my leg 24/7. There are limits, man.
This is likely the biggest way that coronavirus is impacting my kid. I have a friend who lives a few doors down with a 2 year-old boy who we sometimes try to play with on a social distancing basis. It’s tough. We’re not perfect. The kids get too close sometimes but we do our best.
We need that social connection, right? My kid needs it, most of all. Before all this, she went to preschool and had friends and lots of social time. She misses school and church and our usual outings. So now, those evenings when we get to go outside and play with bubbles for 20 minutes? That’s the best part of her LIFE right now.
The other day she tried to invite her new pal to the house. Like INSIDE the house, and later in the evening I had to explain to her that we couldn’t do that because of the virus. And she was like, “Oh no! I lost control! I forgot about the virus!”
That was hard. I told her it was okay. I gave her a hug. And you know, she gives me hugs a lot too. When I’m sad? When I’m ranting? Those times when my anxiety gets the best of me and I shed a few tears? She comes and gives me a hug.
“When you’re sad, I get sad, and I want you to feel better.”
This is what my 5-year-old does now. This is how the coronavirus is impacting my kid. The emotional intelligence she now possesses?
The impacts aren’t all terrible.
Are you a parent?
Is coronavirus impacting your kid? What things have you noticed? Are they good or bad and how has your relationship chanced with your kid since things got real?