When my son fractured his wrist in a recent bike ride, I realized how much technology had been keeping him connected during COVID. An only child during COVID sounds like the beginning of a research study. During the time of COVID, only children were observed in their natural habitat,unable to leave their natural habitat, raised in confinement without peers.
Since the beginning, I wondered how this isolation was going to affect my son’s mental health. I have kept in close touch with other moms and exchanged isolation with kid’s stories. The siblings are fighting. The youngest or loudest sibling winds all final battles. The only children are bored. The kids are sick of bike rides. Some kids are having playdates. Some kids won’t leave the house. Some kids are visiting relatives. Some kids are not. It seems particularly difficult for teenagers and kids under five.
I recently read that only children are the most prepared for this because they are used to being around their parents all the time time. They are used to entertaining themselves.
As much as I wish my ten-year-old son was reading and drawing and inventing during this “break” as I have weirdly named it, he’s a video game kid. I was once opposed to talking to other people on the headset he uses, but now, the headset has become a connection to the world. He talks to people all day long. He laughs and strategizes and engages. Or he did. Until on a bike ride, he tried a crazy trick and fractured his wrist. For two days, he laid on the couch and watched Tik Tock and the Simpsons. He was depressed. I said “This is a blessing in disguise. We can make art now and read.” He said, “Do you hate me?”
Adaptation being what it is, he figured out how to play video games with one hand. So my dreams of taking him to the Olden Days disappeared. But he’s also reconnected. And he’s happy. And the world is a strange place right now. And I feel conflicted about these games but I’m old and he needs his people as much as I need mine.