By Chad Ingram
It's been a wild and surreal week as thescope and magnitude of the COVID-19 pandemic becomes clearer and clearer toCanadians instructions from governments for people to remain home becomestricter and social activity slows to nearly nil.
I've been trying to see it through the eyesof my daughter and figure out what must be going on in her mind.
As some readers will be aware my wife andI have two daughters the eldest of whom Evangeline is just less than a monthshy of her third birthday. For a not-quite-three-year-old Evangeline has arobust social life. Two days a week she attends Wee Care or “school” as werefer to it. She goes to music class to dance class to children’s programmingat the library and Early Years activities at JDH. She makes weekly trips tothe grocery store with her mom visits her grandparents in Lindsay and RichmondHill regularly and has play dates with friends and cousins. “Where are wegoing today?” is typically one of the first things out of her mouth in themorning.
More than a week ago now all of thatsuddenly stopped. Evangeline doesn't go anywhere and she's of course veryaware of it. How do you explain to a toddler what's going on? How do youexplain to a not-quite-three-year-old why she can't do all of the things she'saccustomed to doing?
“Because the whole world is sick” shetells me something I'm going to guess she heard from her mother and notAbigail her not-quite-one-year-old sister. And while that's obviously notliterally the case it makes it easy for her to understand. And given whatwe're learning about the rate at which asymptomatic people can spread thevirus thinking of ourselves all as sick and acting like it is probably apretty good idea.
The big outing of Evangeline's days now isa walk down our rural road to see the horses in a nearby field. She watches“the news man” – I've learned this is her name for Prime Minister JustinTrudeau – talk to the country each day. We have more living room jam sessionsand have stocked up on art and craft supplies.
While any toddler is obviously going to getstir-crazy in our current circumstances at least toddlers are easilydistractible. A little bit of candy can go a long way. Same with rationedChristmas gifts that are again brand new. And because they are incapable offathoming the pandemic toddlers are still able to be in the moment andcontent to be there most of the time.
I find myself trying to adopt parts ofEvangeline's mindset as I long for a “normal” that now seems like a luxury.