This Little Girl Ranting About COVID-19 Shutdowns Is All of Us

A dad from Arizona captured his 4-year-old daughter's tearful explanation of pandemic life, and it's going viral.

By now, parents all over the globe know the struggle that is explaining to the pandemic's shutdowns to their children. But no matter how long this roller coaster goes, the inability to do something as seemingly simple as go to a fast food restaurant play area or a park continues to cause tantrums and tears—for people of all ages. That's one reason a video taken by an Arizona dad is going viral. In the clip, which was originally taken back in March during the initial coronavirus shutdowns, Ben McLennan's 4-year-old daughter Blake tearfully laments pandemic life.

Ben McLennan's daughter Blake
Photo courtesy of Ben McLennan

"The ice cream truck is shut down," says the little girl. "And the water jug place is shut down, which is my favorite place. We can’t go anywhere, not even McDonald’s, and that’s my favorite restaurant." McLennan notes, "You can still go to the drive-thru, you just can’t go to the playground.” But Blake retorts. "Yeah, it’s just really frustrating."

Thankfully, there's one thing that cheered the 4-year-old up: the thought of being able to use her iPad.

Given how relatable the rant is, it's no surprise it has been viewed almost 400K times since it was posted.

"We just sat down with the kids to explain that although spring break was ending, everything was closing because of a virus," says McLennan. "Baseball, Jiu-Jitsu, and when we said dance, Blake lost it. She went off for 7-plus minutes. My wife’s grandfather was a broadcasting engineer so we do our best to capture what we can. About three minutes in I thought, 'I’m going to want to remember this.' While she was verbally processing, I just sat the phone down on the table and tried to engage with her as she walked through it."

McLennan, who along with his wife Rebecca, adopted Blake along with five other children after an eight-year struggle with infertility, says the "little things you take for granted" have made for the greatest challenges for his daughter and their family as a whole. "Even though there are eight of us, we usually grocery shop and do errands as a family," he explains. "Now my wife or I have go out and come straight back. We also miss just time getting together with friends, play dates, etc."

But the bright spot has been a bolstered ability to connect. "Prior to the shutdown we were rushing from on thing to the next," he explains. "Church, school, drama practice, baseball practice and games, Jiu-Jitsu, dance. Now, we have eaten dinner as a family four months straight. We spend so much quality time together."

McLennan is also heartened by the response to Blake's rant. "We are so blessed and grateful for people reaching out and sharing their stories with us," he notes. "We’ve had an overwhelming response of people who have been adopted, worked in foster care, or even just considering foster care." He encourages anyone who loved his daughter's video to consider paying it forward by giving to or advocating for foster care and adoption agencies in their area, such as their organization of choice Arms of Love Foster Care.

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