The Scene: Little Ninjas, picture 20 little boys in blue pyjamas (with belts) rough-housing and rolling in the background
The Players: Me, Mr 3
The Conversation: Went like this.
Mr 3 (apropos of nothing): Mum, why do people die?
Me (distracted): They run out of puff.
Pause. I suddenly realise this is a Serious Conversation.
Me (hastily): Oh, and they’re really, really old.
Mr3: So, not just tired.
Mr3: Where do people go when they die?
Me (wishing The Builder was on hand, wishing anyone was on hand): They go to Heaven.
Mr3: Oh, like Harvey.
Harvey is my parents’ dog who died last year.
Me (hoping to end chat): Yes.
Mr3: And Dead Bird.
Me: Dead Bird?
Mr3: Yes, Dead Bird is next to Harvey under the trailer. They’re together.
Pause. I suddenly recollect the dead bird found in the parental garden one morning.
Me: Oh yes.
Mr3: It’s nice that they’re together.
Mr3: How can they be together? Harvey is in Heaven and Dead Bird is definitely under the trailer.
Me: Oh look! Mr6 just did a roundhouse kick!
I have come to the conclusion that I am terrible at the Big Chats. The Serious Conversations. Other parents seem to know exactly what to say when these subjects come up. I’m just desperate to avoid nightmares (there have been a lot of people behind Mr3’s curtains of late and I don’t want Dead Bird to join them).
Does everyone feel like this? I try for age appropriateness, but I don’t want to lie. And that makes for a difficult tightrope. Any tips on walking it would be most appreciated.