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Zoom Birthday "party"

Title (Dublin Core)

Zoom Birthday "party"

Description (Dublin Core)

For this journal entry I plan to discuss the changes this pandemic is bringing to children and parents, and continue to discuss how their voices are silenced in this archive.
My son’s sixth birthday was the other day, and I decided to host a Zoom get-together for him with his closest friends from school. It was awkward for me to text some moms I have not seen in ages because we do not go to the park anymore for play dates. This group of moms and kids would meet up on Fridays at this park the kids fondly called the “fish park” because it had a play structure with a big fish designed into it. The group got to be quite large at the beginning of 2020 with around eight families participating. As I write this, I am feeling very sad and missing those days when we were all together. We often would each bring something to snack on and share as a group. We were all there to help each other and of course socialize. It was a nice social group. It was also a friendship formed based on our children’s connection to each other. So, when the pandemic hit and play dates were out of the question, some of us drifted apart for a while. I remember when we first started learning about COVID-19, this was the hot topic of discussion in our Friday meetups. We debated and discussed and worried. They all thought I was crazy, I am sure, for going out and stocking up on food back in February because an official from the CDC told people to even back then. Later, they started to realize I was right and followed my lead before it was too late and the grocery stores started emptying out. Four of us formed a text group and have kept in almost daily contact with each other this last year. A lot of our conversation is supportive while we try to get through these challenging times as moms of small children. We share our worries and fears. We share our joys and survival tips. There have been lots of laughs, too. It has been a blessing to have this support group this year. We even met up in a park one Sunday morning last fall and spent the morning catching up. We were of course masked and sitting in chairs well over six feet apart. All these moms have made the same decision to keep their children at home. One mom decided to home school her children because she could not get adequate resourcing for her son who has autism and as a former teacher, she decided to take it on herself. Being online for school has been especially hard for children on the spectrum, I have been told by a few moms with children who are, because mainly their routine is messed up. Two of us have our children in the flex program and one moved hers to a new completely online school our district created to serve families during the pandemic. The flex program was for parents who are wishy washy on deciding whether to send their kids back to school. It is for us parents who were too scared to send their kids back so early (and had the privilege to keep them home) and optimistic that the virus would fade away enough and our kids could return relatively safe. It is not looking good that our children will return at all this year. Every quarter we say, oh maybe next quarter, and then the virus spreads in our community and the numbers tick up and we keep them home again. Anyway, the point is that my two kids have been home this entire time, almost a year, out of a brick-and-mortar school and not socializing with other kids in person. It has been very hard for them. They miss seeing their friends desperately. Obviously, a birthday party was out of the question so I decided to set up a Zoom “party” for my son yesterday to celebrate his birthday and so he could see his friends’ faces for a little bit. It did not work well. First off, I muted everyone to announce the plans and then could not figure out how to unmute everyone and that lead to tears and frustration. Kids kept leaving and coming back. Some would not participate in the games I tried to arrange. We played charades, would you rather, and did a little scavenger hunt by sending them to find objects of the various colors of the rainbow. My kids were not having it. My son was out of sorts which is not like him, and my daughter was so upset with me because I would not let her interrupt the games to play a video from her screen. So, she was pouting, and my son was pouting for some unknown reason. I think he was overwhelmed and just fatigued by it all. This is not what he wanted for a birthday party; I am sure. But I tried. I did the best I could with the circumstances, and I know some of the kids had fun even if the birthday boy did not. The bottom-line is that Zoom birthday parties are hard—harder to facilitate than in-person birthdays and wow do I give props to teachers who are doing this every single day. My son’s kindergarten teacher makes it look so easy! But I know it is not. I already had tremendous respect for teachers, but my respect has grown even more after this experience. I am very thankful for all they do for our children. They should be honored.
The problem with this archive is the potential for silences. As I discussed last week, children will be silenced in this archive unless an adult writes their experiences for them. I am writing this story about this Zoom party for the archive and it is getting included, but it is still from my perspective. My son is not sharing what he felt during the party and how he has felt this year collectively. We may never know what he was thinking during the party because little kids move on and forget. At the very least though I have shared this experience from my point-of-view, which I am sure is a replication of thousands of parents and children’s experiences all over the world—at least the ones who have access to the internet and Zoom.

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English
English
English
English
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English

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English
English
English

Date Submitted (Dublin Core)

2/11/2021

Date Modified (Dublin Core)

2/16/2021

Date Created (Dublin Core)

2/11/2021

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This item was submitted on February 11, 2021 by [anonymous user] using the form “Share Your Story” on the site “A Journal of the Plague Year”: https://covid-19archive.org/s/archive

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