My kids ask the most random questions. Out of nowhere they'll ask me about snot. Or why does that man have boobs. Or why the skin-colour crayon isn't the colour of anyone's skin in our family. Or who makes cars. Or why do I wee sitting down, out of my bum. Or what's the word on the street and where is it.
Not long ago, Stefan threw this one at me from the back of the car while I was driving. It's where my boys and I have some of our best conversations. I suspect it's because I'm a captive audience. How do you handle the tough questions? I like to give just enough truth to feel as though I'm teaching them something, without feeling too uncomfortable and then distract them. With chocolate. Yes. I'm an awesome mum.
S “Mum, why do we breathe?”
M “Because the air has oxygen in it and we need oxygen in our body to keep us going” TICK
S “But you can’t breathe when you’re dead”
M “Well, no because that’s how we know when someone is dead. They stop breathing." TICK
S “No Mum, that’s not why. It’s because you’re underground in a box and you can’t breathe under the earth in a box”
M .....silence. UH OH
S “Is djido [grandpa] in a box?”
M “yes” SHORT AND DIRECT
S “Is he in the ground?”
M “yes” DO NOT ELABORATE
S “I want to get him out of the ground. What if he’s trying to breathe?”
M “He’s not trying to breathe honey. Djido is dead and it’s ok for him to be in the ground.” TICK [but hands are sweaty]
S “Well, I don’t want him there alone. I want to get him. Can we get everyone up out of the ground?”
M “No Stefan, we shouldn’t bother them. It’s why there’s a saying that goes “Rest in Peace”. OH FFS! HAVEN'T YOU HEARD OF PET SEMETARY????
S “Mum. They’re not resting and they’re not in peace. They’re dead”
M “Do you want some chocolate?” SIGH... JOB WELL DONE.