What a difficult time this has been, and continues to be, for parents, kids and families. I’ve seen it first hand in my own family. But as a children’s entertainer, my vantage point is one that encompasses many families of all kinds, colors, faiths and lifestyles. Suffering is suffering, no matter what group we fall into, obviously. But children are a different matter for me. Just the idea of suffering kids is kind of counter intuitive to me as a parent (and human being) And, as a kids entertainer, my career (and each party) makes me responsible for creating an environment where kids have as much fun as possible and laugh and express themselves and yes, experience joy.
Of course we here at Kids Parties New York (as all entertainment businesses) have been hit hard by the pandemic. No one was getting kids and family together by mid January of 2020. That was tough. There was a brief clearing but then Delta and now Omicron set us back on our heals again. And it’s okay. We understand entertainment is the farthest thing from people’s minds when it is life and death. As it should be. There is however something to be said for children’s mental and emotional health. Kids need to express themselves, expend energy and laugh. With other kids. It was such a boon to have ZOOM over these long months of separation and entertain kids on line. Not optimum, not even close. But it worked. Children have such a capacity for fun and goofy-ness that it really wasn’t that difficult to engage them (with the use of some really great, unique and colorful puppets). And there where a few in person performances, all done with the requisite precautions.
There was one day camp out in Queens that arranged for me to visit the kids of the camp outside, spaced appropriately apart and masked. I did a really high energy show from the back of my hatchback. It not only worked but it was a boffo show. Never better. Everyone had a great time, participated from their spots, criss-cross apple sauce. Under tough circumstances, it worked. And it was 10% me and 90% the kids, as it always is. It didn’t matter what us grown-ups had to arrange, work out, compromise or struggle through. Kids show up receptive with enthusiasm, imagination, energy and a willingness to suspend dis-belief. No pandemic or logistical nightmare can withstand that.