COVID Safety Squirrels

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COVID Safety Squirrels

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I have an incredibly imaginative six year old son. Since he was three, he has told us each day which identity he is choosing for the day: duck, bird, duckbird, squirrel, bunny, or chipmunk. (This list has grown over time). He doesn’t actually act like that type of animal, or really alter his behavior or personality at all, but will refer to himself as “Duckbird” or “Baby Bird” and expects you to refer to him as such. And every once in a while will respond with a “quack,” or whatever noise is appropriate for that animal identity. For Squirrel (who is now our “house president” - apparently he won an election none of us were privy to), there is an ongoing theme of a Squirrel Parade that shows up and disrupts everything going on. This is not something that came out of COVID, the Squirrel Parade predates it (we live next to Disneyland and in a pre-COVID life went to the park at least once a week - the kid has seen a lot of parades). However, the Squirrel Parade has definitely evolved with the pandemic. It is remarkable how COVID has seamlessly become part of a kid’s imagination. The Squirrel Parade, which always included King Squirrel, the Throwing Nuts Squirrels, and the Trumpet Squirrels among others now includes the “COVID Safety Squirrels.” When we asked my son who they are, he said they’re the squirrels that hand out masks and hand sanitizer and make sure everyone social distances. It wasn’t strange to him, just another part of the parade. I guess for little kids this isn’t strange to them. I mean, it is. But it’s also not. Just another thing to learn along with multiplication tables. Put on a mask and keep your distance, and the parade marches on.

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This item was submitted on April 22, 2021 by Kathryn Jue using the form “Share Your Story” on the site “A Journal of the Plague Year”:

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