Sitting, Waiting, Wishing*: A 4th-grader's Journal in Quarantine--Lila Kia-Keating, 4-15-2020

Friday, April 17, 2020
Lila Kia-Keating and her brother
Education and Applied Psychology in a Time of COVID-19

(note the title of this entry was inspired by the song title by Jack Johnson, UCSB alum)

Hi, my name is Lila and I am nine years old. Right now, I am with my family in Santa Barbara, quarantining because of the Coronavirus. For us, this all really started on Friday the thirteenth. It was March 13th, which was Crazy Hair Day at school. Early that morning my mom had made me cupcake-hair. My teacher had complimented me and told me how cute it looked. She said that she just couldn’t bear not hugging me. I agreed deeply and knew that it would be easier to hug if the Coronavirus wasn’t actually happening. One morning that week, one of my friends stated that the stores were becoming toilet paper-less and how crazy it was. One of those days that week, my mom ran to the store while my brother and I were busy in school. She saw people carrying bucket-loads of toilet paper and didn’t know why. However, we found out soon enough because the next time we went to the store it was all out. In fact, so were paper towels and most paper products. The more trips taken to the store, the more I realized that shelves were becoming empty and people were becoming more desperate.

Back to that Friday the thirteenth. When it was an hour until the end of the day at school, I heard two classmates whispering something about school being canceled. I soon found out what it all meant. We all impatiently sat on the rug, no smiles shown on our previously content faces. My teacher announced that other schools had closed already, and that the rumors were true: we weren’t coming back for a while. All of us raised hands or wished we did. Some asked why we had to go. I agreeably nodded, although, I already knew the answer and I was sure most felt the way I did. After the conversation was done and my teacher had gathered all our assignments and books to be taken home, my friend came to me and hugged me hard saying that she simply did not care if we weren’t allowed to hug. Most of us hugged as well, not caring, but being afraid.

The picture at the top of this entry is of me and my brother at our house two days after we left school.

The week of March sixteenth I wrote two poems when I was feeling awful that we couldn’t go to school for more than three weeks, which (at the time) was the amount that my teacher said that we would probably be gone for. It was raining pretty hard at the time when I wrote it. It was raining a lot in general, every day. Here is one of my poems:

Happy As Could Be
by Lila Kia-Keating

Splash, pattpatttt, patterr!
It sounds as if popcorn's being made,
pop rocks popping,
and a shower running,
all at the same time.
It feels warm and cozy,
inside this cottage of mine.
I feel as if the rain is getting stronger,
and the fireplace is taking lead.
The windows holding on tight to the walls,
knowing that their duty is not to let rain in.
The lamp is getting brighter by the second,
holding on tight to the ground.
roaming on the coach finding warmth and when thinking about warmth, becoming warm.
In all of this,
outside the window stands a tree,
calmly getting wet and not caring,
its leaves remain green as before.
The tree is happy as could be.

Writing the poems made me feel better.

Soon I realized that we were running out of toilet paper! Oh-no! So, when we went to the store we always looked for it and even found ourselves stashing up on napkins and one time bought a whole box of tissues that a while ago we would have never needed. We luckily never needed to use the other paper products as a substitute.

About a week later, we finally went to Costco. There, we saw a lady carrying a whole giant package of toilet paper. “Excuse me, do you know where we could find the toilet paper?” We desperately asked. “Yes, right over there in section three.” “Thank you so, so much!” We happily exclaimed. I couldn’t help talking about how kind that lady was and I just couldn’t stop smiling and feeling like the happiest kid on earth. For the rest of the day my face showed happiness and glee.

Lila Kia-Keating finds toilet paperThis picture is of me with the full package of toilet paper feeling…well, desperately happy.

The week of April sixth, I started to do Zoom meetings with my teacher and classmates. The first one was awful because of the poor internet connection. I had to get off multiple times to try to fix the connection. I soon realized the cause of it was that there were so many participants that everyone’s device had to be somewhat glitchy. On Zoom I saw some people start to show their pets. Some even decided to introduce their pets (Pumpkin1 the dog, Fluffy the cat, and Pepper the rat). I felt bad for some of the people that had no pets to show. And I was one of them. My dog, Moku, died and so did my cat, Sunshine, before all of this.

Days before school started, during our “spring break,” I started doing online yoga classes with my mom. I have never done them before and I always wanted to try yoga classes. It was so enjoyable that I did it every single day!

Since online school started, instead of doing yoga in the morning, I have begun to do it in the afternoon. It is so fun, and a great workout.

Sometimes we go on hikes or long walks. Our neighbors recommended this really fun one that we like to go on. It is really peaceful and not a lot of people are there. It is so quiet that you can hear the birds chirp. Yesterday we took a walk before dinner and I especially loved seeing two frogs jump freely into the creek.Lila Kia-Keating jumping in creek

Happy quarantining! Until next time, virtually yours, Lila

1Some names of pets and people have been changed to protect the privacy of individuals.

Lila Kia-Keating is a 4th grader who lives with her family in Santa Barbara. When she isn't reading or writing, you can probably find her riding bikes with her brother or making friends with the neighborhood animals.