Monday, September 3, 2007

Parental pop quiz

We are at the restaurant. We are eating fajitas. My parents are eating enchiladas. Z. is eating ketchup. Z. states:

"I'm afrwaid of dying."


She clarified: she, herself, was afraid of dying herself.

And what, my friends, would you have said to that?

We told her she wouldn't die for a long, long time. We told her about how our Diva Dog was ready to die and wasn't afraid of dying.

She seemed okay with that. She went back to scooping up ketchup up with fries.

I guess we passed. But it's hard to tell.


niobe said...

I would have probably asked her questions to try and figure out what exactly it was about dying that she was afraid of. Because there might have been something very specific and concrete that she was concerned about.

Or I might have agreed with her, "That's right. Dying is scary."

But that's just me.

Phantom Scribbler said...

Not just you, Niobe!

I think you passed, too.

Julia said...

I think you passed.

Kids are very interesting with these things. Most of the time this is like another thought, like "fries are good with ketchup," "the seat is hard," "I am afraid of dying."
She may not be able to explain what exactly scares her, but if she does bring it up, it may be good to ask her, as Niobe suggests. You may get another opportunity sooner than you'd like-- this material repeats, and usually in the pop-quiz format.

kathy a. said...

yep, you passed. niobe has good thoughts, too.

Magpie said...

I've had that question - sans ketchup, from the backseat. Or more precisely, a statement: I don't wanna die!

It turned out that some kid at daycare had told her that she was going to die.

I told her it wasn't going to happen for a long time.

And you, yes, you passed. But expect the question again.

S. said...

This morning we had a conversation about it that made it clear that 2 and a 1/2 (and 2 days) is not a time in your life when you're real clear on tense and time. She was talking about how she didn't cry when Diva Dog died, and I told her she was little when that happened and she didn't understand it yet. She said she wasn't little, and it became clear that she was talking about the event of last week, not last year.

I think maybe she thinks dying is the same as burying ashes. Clearly, I do have some questions I need to ask her next time it comes up. Which is bound to be soon.

kathy a. said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
susan said...

I'd probably have said pretty much what you said, or maybe said "oh, what made you think about that?" or something along the lines of what Niobe said. My former dept chair died last December, and CG has been full of comments about him, and we visited a cemetery where Politica's aunt is buried while on vacation, so between those two events, CG has been making tons of random associations about people and pets who are sick and/or dying. I'm always amazed at how deeply kids make connections, yet how quickly they move off them, too.

Whatever's on her mind, she's talking about them, so that's goo.

S. said...

kathy a., thank you for the thoughtful comment--it was good perspective for me to think about this coming up not just in the early childhood years but all the way through. I mean, it's not like I'm good at coping with death at 36, so I don't expect this to get all tied up and resolved for her. But I'll be parenting her through it for a long, long time, god willing, and that was a good reminder. AND I apologize a million times for deleting the comment that just inspired so many words from me, but it had my whole first name, which I need to keep off the blog for hiding-from-google purposes. Don't feel bad! You're not the first person to goof!

Susan, I was so surprised she said it! But she's starting to tell us a lot more about her feelings, the past month or so. It's a big relief to realize each time she does it's a tantrum avoided.

kathy a. said...

apologies, my friend -- must have had a brain fart about the name.

my baby girl [18 now] lost her first beloved when she was 3.5 -- her caretaker died suddenly of an aneurism. and then all the rest, the hardest being her friend and former classmate, and the fun grandpa. we have talked really a lot about death, over the years. i'm not sure that is the best thing -- it is how it worked out.