When Kina started her pre-kindergarten year, we bought her a little computer of her own that, while relatively inexpensive, has an actual touchscreen. This has made it much easier for her to navigate her way into class every morning, by actually touching the various pixels on the screen that correspond to the digital analogues of “going to school” (Zoom icon), “entering the classroom” (turning on video), “saying hi to the teacher” (unmuting), and “going home for the day” (leaving the chat). At the start of it, I was concerned that we’d have to hover over Kina all day to mute and unmute her, but she picked up pretty quickly on how to handle her own audio/video needs and has now become sufficiently expert in video chat that she knows how to put her teacher in “full screen” mode.
It is uncanny how similar Kina’s video chat concerns are to my own. She is constantly checking to make sure she’s muted when she asks me for a snack. She has intermittent video issues. She notes when other kids on screen are frozen. She asks her teacher to fix her mic. There’s something very peculiar about how much both our days have changed in the midst of this pandemic, and how central a role video chat plays in our lives. When the internet goes out, school and work both grind to a halt. With Kina’s tappable approach to navigating school, though, she’s further challenged by Zoom’s teensy buttons, and accidentally logged herself off yesterday when she smeary-fingered her way onto the “close” button (the digital equivalent of taking a bathroom break? Skipping school?) when trying to hit the “full screen” button
Close the other window, hit the icon, wait for the teacher, turn on your video, unmute, remute, full screen. Reasonable excuse, hit the wrong button.
At least she wanted to go back. Maybe I need a touchscreen, too.
How, after illustrating an Eric Carle memorial edition yesterday, could I possibly have missed that Lois Ehlert, collage artist and author of Eating the Alphabet (a real Kina fave) and Chicka Chicka Boom Boom (Ehlert’s most widely-known book), also died this week? Two collage artists who specialized in assembling torn paper into mesmerizing scenes for children—one of the most honorable professions, in my opinion. Today’s masthead is for Lois Ehlert.