Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Tough Talks

Dear Ian,

There comes a point in parenting when us grown ups realize our babies aren't babies anymore.  For some, it's that first step.  For others, it's when their little one heads off to college.  I guess for me, today was that milestone moment, as you and I had to have a couple of grown up conversations.

This morning, we came downstairs to discover that your pet fish, Pluto, had passed away.  Poor Pluto had been battling something called Fin Rot, or as the fish professionals call it "Ick."  We were trying hard to make him feel better, but I think his case of the "Ick" was just too far along, and he ended up not making it.  So, this morning, you and I had to have the Death Talk. 

I reminded you that Pluto had been sick for a little while, and that sometimes when animals get sick, they just can't get well again and sometimes they got to Heaven.  I told you that I was very sorry, but Pluto had gone up to Heaven, where he now feels much better.  You seemed a little down, but I think you got the concept and understood what I meant and what was going on.  Just a few days ago, we added another fishy friend to our family, (you named him Nemo), and you said that even though Pluto was in Heaven, you were happy because you still had Nemo.  You seem to be handling it all ok, but let me tell you, Mommy is doing everything in her power to keep Nemo swimming along with us. 

I didn't want to go into too much detail, and maybe my explanation seems a little too simple, but you're not quite three, and I wanted to keep things honest yet not too involved for you.  It was a strange moment for me; here's a grown up conversation that could potentially be a little scary for you.  I really struggled with how and what to tell you.  But I think we managed pretty well, and hopefully my explanations answered your questions without freaking you out about the whole thing. 

Similarly, Daddy had an experience with a grown up conversation with you the other night.  The two of you were getting ready for bed, and while you were in the shower, you educated Daddy about your "boy parts."  Daddy nodded and agreed that yes, indeed, that was what they were.  You then proceeded to tell Daddy that girls only have "booties."  They didn't have boy parts like you, they just had a "booty."  Your poor Daddy.  In this situation, I have some experience.  After all, Mommy has been teaching little people like you for years.  My typical answer is that boys have boy parts and girls have girl parts and that's what makes us all different.  Cut and dry, end of conversation until another day.  According to Daddy, he sorta sputtered his way through something similar, but listening to him retell the story, I could just FEEL his discomfort with that topic.  He did a good job, though, and in true You style, you moved on to the next topic of interest without much more of a to-do. 

Little Man, how do we keep you innocent and carefree when the world you live in is becoming more... well, more?  Your scope is expanding, and new situations arise every day.  Don't get me wrong, Mommy and Daddy are professionals at limiting your exposure to things that we don't find appropriate for little people like you, but situations like this that are just everyday life - and death - are becoming more grown up.  And therefore, Daddy and I are having to grow up our parenting.  Here's hoping we're doing an ok job. 

We love you so much,
Mommy and Daddy

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