These kids were totally unimpressed by the solar eclipse


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Carolyn Robertson

posted in Parenting

This week's solar eclipse was billed as a once-in-a-lifetime event. In anticipation of the moment when darkness would paint a streak across the country, thousands of people flocked to witness it from the path of totality. Some parents pulled their kids out of school to watch it. Others celebrated with eclipse pancakes and homemade cereal box viewers. One mom went so far as to wear an eclipse-specific wardrobe with her family (yes, really).

The point is, the solar eclipse was a very big deal. Unless you're my 7-year-old daughter, that is, in which case it fluctuated between being a terrifying health hazard and a complete letdown. Here's how the eclipse played out at our house...

Like many families, we'd been talking a lot about the eclipse in the week or so leading up to it. My youngest, Amelia, feigned minimal interest until the night before, when I reminded her and her big sister not to look directly at the sun while it was happening. She immediately dropped her fistful of Shopkins.

"If I do look at it, will I die?" she asked.

I explained that no, she wouldn't die, it could just damage her eyes.

"You could be blind forever," my 11-year-old added helpfully.

Cue an hour of tears and panic.

"It's fine, honey," I told her. "You can go outside, you can play, you can do everything you always do. The only thing you can't do it stare directly into the sun."

"But what if I have to stare at it?!" she wailed. "What if I can't stop? And then I'll be blind!"

Eventully, Amelia decided that she would wait out the eclipse in her bedroom with the blinds drawn and a blanket over her head. You know, just to be on the safe side.

solar eclipse

The next day, the big day, I managed to talk her around and by the time I left for work she had agreed to venture out and witness the eclipse -- with her eyes glued to the grass -- with Grandma. I took my coffee break outside of my office and watched as the sky dulled and shadows sharpened, felt the temperature drop as the sun's rays were blocked. When it was over, I called the kids.

"Well," my 7-year-old declared as she took her turn on the phone. "The eclipse was the worst ever."

My immediate thought was that like some others, she just couldn't stop herself from staring at it, but fortunately she exercised a modicum of self control. It turns out she just thought the whole thing was lame. I mean, what a colossal waste of time that could have been spent sorting her Shopkins for the 10,000th time.

I guess it's my fault. We weren't in the path of totality - I just love saying that, it sounds so amazingly sci-fi - so things didn't get quite as dark as I thought they would. I may have said that day would turn into night, that streetlights would flicker on, that birds would take to the sky and baby squirrels would curl up and go to sleep. It was something along those lines. In the end, it just got a little bit cool and kind of shady, and that's not enough to blow the mind of a 7-year-old.

It turns out she wasn't the only kid out there who was left feeling a little underwhelmed by the experience. Take a look at these funny reactions...

Those are all pretty good, but the prize for the most disappointing solar eclipse day would have to go to the students of Missouri's Grain Valley Schools High School:

What did your kids think of the total solar eclipse?

Image by iStock

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