The Pandemic from the Perspective of a 5-Year-Old

room3 | Peace at home Felt-tipped pens and metallic markers … | Flickr
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by Jonah Weber

We’ve been in this pandemic for just over a year now. We’ve heard perspectives from plenty of essential workers, folks working from home, and even parents stuck at home with children. But what about the perspective of the kids themselves?

As an 18-year-old, I’ve found this past year to be incredibly difficult. Online school is not the easiest. Going from seeing some of my closest friends five days a week to zero days a week has been so painful. Even with access to social media, video calls, etc., it has still been one of the loneliest years I’ve ever experienced.

It’s hard to even imagine how this past year has been for a five-year-old. When I was five, I never wanted to be by myself. I only wanted to be around classmates from pre-school, random kids I met at the park, or with my family. If I was forced to stay inside, only being able to be around my family, I would have been hysterical.

Because 5-year-olds, for the most part, probably don’t have a personal laptop or a smartphone to Zoom, FaceTime, or Google Meet with their friends. They don’t have social media to share with the world the hobbies they’ve picked up from staying in the past year.

I was lucky enough to interview a 5-year-old who is a family friend of mine. Her name is Clarus. She’s an only child and lives with both her parents and their dog, Nene Bay. I asked Clarus a few questions on her experience with being in quarantine, the feelings that came along with it, and her thoughts on being in-person school now.

A heads up: Clarus refers to Covid and quarantine as “The Sickness.”

The Double Space: Do you remember how much time you spent staying at home inside the house and in the backyard this past year? Was it a lot or a little?

Clarus: I don’t know.

Did it feel like you were at home a lot?

Uh, yeah.

Do you remember what it was like before you had to stay home because of “The Sickness” and the sort of things you’d do?

I’d go to school at church. But I forgot.

Is it kinda hard to remember sometimes?

Yeah it is.

That’s understandable. Have you enjoyed the amount of time you’ve been at home? Is it fun?

Uh-huh. Sometimes I have my days off from school now.

So you’re back in school now. Did you miss it?

A little bit.

Does school feel weird or different from before? Or is it kinda the same?

It’s kind of the same. It doesn’t have the same playground now. This one has swings and the one at my mom’s church doesn’t have swings.

When you were staying at home so much, do you remember the kinds of feelings you had?

I was feeling bored. I did have to watch a lot of TV and eat a lot of snacks.

What do you think your favorite snack was?

“Puffcorn.” It’s kind of crunchy, I’ll get the bag and show you.

Oh, it’s like “Pirate-Booty!”

It’s not “Pirate-Booty.”

Other than being bored and watching TV, do you remember any of the things you’d do while you stayed at home?

I’d sometimes play games with my mom and dad.

Do you miss how much time you’d spend at home, or do you like it more now when you get to go to school?

I like being at home and going to school. I missed seeing people and I have friends at school.

Do you feel more happy now than bored?

Yeah I have more happy feelings now!

At school, do they ever talk about “The Sickness?”

Well, I do have to stand on dots when I’m in line.

Do you have a favorite thing about staying at home? Other than the TV and snacks, of course.

Well, I do like playing with toys here. They don’t have toys at my school because of “The Sickness.” I think because there’s germs on the toys I was going to play with.

Do you know about the vaccine?

Oh, the shot. I’m too scared to have it.

Oh, well I think you have to be an adult.

By the way I’m not an adult, I’m five years old.

story time (sold) | 2004 | David Carmack Lewis | Flickr

Over the past year, when reading and hearing about mostly adults perspectives on being in quarantine, a common experience was boredom, snacks, and TV. It’s interesting how a lot of adults had those feelings, as well as a five year old. To me, it’s a reflection on the pandemic that we’re still dealing with. This past year has been a moment, or era in history where so many people in the world, from all different ages, are dealing with the same thing.

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