I was going to write about how difficult the boy has been lately. Defiance, tantrums, and disrespect are just the beginning. He also thinks he’s always right and won’t believe anyone that he’s not unless it’s disproven by another source. For example, he recently insisted that summer comes before spring, and nearly threw a fit when I tried to tell him otherwise, and STILL didn’t believe me until I pointed it out to him in a book of his.
But then tonight he asked me something that made my heart skip a beat.
We’d actually been having a nice evening, playing with blocks and walking outside. Out of nowhere, he turns and asks, “Mommy, do kids die?”
I was momentarily stunned–not the question you expect from your four and a half year old son.
“Why do you ask, honey?” I inquired.
“I was just wondering. Do they?”
I have a general policy of not lying to children, but trying to tell them the most appropriate truth for their age. “Well,” I said cautiously, “Sadly, yes. Sometimes kids get sick and die.”
“Oh. Mommy, do you ever want me or my sister to die?”
Holy crap. “Never! I love you both so much, it would make me so sad if you died. It would break my heart! I don’t want you to die until you’re a very very very very very old man. Why are you asking this?”
“No reason. I was just wondering.”
I couldn’t get any more out of him than that. He doesn’t know any kids that have died, certainly hasn’t seen any movies that feature kids dying. Still, the whole thing shook me up a bit.
As I thought about it more, I think what happened is this–we’ve been watching a lot of nature videos lately, and of course, something always gets eaten. Tonight we watched one where a lion killed and ate a baby zebra, and I wonder if that got the wheels in his head spinning and making the connection between baby zebras and baby humans. So much for Discovery Channel being safe watching ground.
How do you all deal with the little ones asking about the big D?