Parenting is hard. You sometimes make mistakes. Like, taking your eyes off the baby for a second and he/she ends up playing in the toilet/falling off the couch/chewing on your phone charger. Or maybe you give your child a piece of candy once to keep them quiet and then realize that it's going to bite you in the ass for the rest of your life when that child expects candy for good behavior ALL. THE. TIME. Or perhaps you accidentally tell a four year old that he is going to die someday. Oh wait, maybe that's just me.
It's not my fault, totally. After having two pets kick it (and one nearly right in front of him) combined with some unfortunately baby bunny carnage a few weeks ago, Calder is well acquainted with the concept of death and that's even before annoying neighborgirl came into the picture. Allegedly she once told him that he was going to die when he turned six. ALLEGEDLY. Thanks, neighborgirl. This disturbing thought was apparently too much for Calder and he spent several weeks spending every bed time whimpering from his room about his imminent demise. We'd do our best to convince him that he wasn't going to die. Tuck him in again, fetch water, sit and hold his hand, offer reassurance after reassurance. Sometimes it worked. Sometimes he just upped the timeline to sixteen and started all over again. Other nights he would just mourn the losses of Sammy and Elby.
How sad and troubling, yes? Well, maybe at first, if he wasn't half smiling now, every time he wandered back out of his room and muttered, "I'mgonnadiewhenI'msixorsixteeenandImissSammyIwannastayupandcuddlecanIhavesomemilk?" Nights and nights of reassurance had resulted in Calder holding the nighttime trump card. We had to capitulate or else. I mean, what kind of parent forces their child back to bed to contemplate their own mortality?
I do apparently. Once night, after not even trying to look sad and having to be put into bed for the umpteenth time, Calder relaunched into his spiel. I was tired. I was cranky. I wanted to go to bed myself since it was after ten and I knew the baby would be up to eat again in a few hours. So I finally broke and said, "You are not going to die when you are six. You are not going to die when you are sixteen. You are not going to die until you are very, very old. NOW GO TO BED."
"... I'M GOING TO DIE!?"
"How old? Like, a hundred? Is that old?"
"It's older than Mommy."
"Is it older than Gramma?"
"Way older than Gramma."
And... it worked? Lately he's stopped being so doom and gloomy when we tuck him in at night. Sometimes Calder will still try to play the bedtime game by throwing Sammy and Elby's names around but now I have a good answer: "You'll see then again when you are 100. Good night." In the end, I think it was actually for the best. Calder is too smart to lie to and I don't feel comfortable doing it anyways unless we are talking about Santa. Now I just have to hope that he doesn't realize that Mommy and Daddy aren't immortal any time soon. I once told Calder that someday he would grow up and move into his own house (no really, I am the worst) which resulted in a freakout. I had to promise Calder that he could live with me forever just to get him to stop. I hope he changes his mind about that by college.