Thursday, March 5, 2015
The most depressing homework in the history of homework
It seemed like a great thing: Max had to read a page about Olympic gold medalist runner Wilma Rudolph and fill out a mini research report. We sat at the kitchen table, where we usually do homework, and I helped him read it, discussing points along the way so he could better understand and retain the information.
The page noted that she lived from 1940 to 1994. I wasn't sure Max understood the concept of death, and I'm still not quite sure why I decided to try to explain it to him in the midst of the Wilma Rudolph report, but I did.
I said, "Max, Wilma Rudolph died in 1994, which means she stopped living."
Max looked at me, curiously. He put one hand to his eye. "Eye?" he asked.
I was confused. Then I realized he meant: Did she cry when she died? He'd seen me crying when my dad died in 2011, and he was making that association.
"No, Max," I said. "When you die, your heart stops beating, you don't breathe and you aren't alive anymore. So you can't cry."
"Why?" he asked. As in: Why do people die?
"People often die when they are very old, or if they get sick," I said.
"Ick!" he said, pointing to me and making a coughing sound. I've had a pesky cough for three months now.
"No, I''m OK, Max!" I promised.
Sabrina walked into the kitchen. "It's like you go to sleep and you don't wake up," she said.
Then her face crumbled and she started to cry.
"Honey! What's wrong?" I asked.
"I don't want you to die," she sobbed. "I want you to always be here."
I grabbed her and said that Dave and I would be around for a very long time to take care of her. Then Max's bottom lip started trembling and I hugged him with my other arm.
Eventually we all calmed down, and I helped Max finish his report.
File under: Good intentions gone awry.
:( My six year has the same reaction. He came to me in hysterics one afternoon, saying he doesn't want to go to the sky. I asked him what he meant, and he was afraid of dying and going to the sky (Heaven). I calmed him down, but he became so upset about it that evening, that he made himself sick (literally -- he threw up). He cannot understand why Jesus just doesn't make people come back to life, send them to earth again, and when they die, do it all over again. *sigh* How do you explain that?! He is a very literal kid and it's hard to explain things to him and it's easy to forget to NOT say certain things in front of him. One time I was talking with my husband and said "Do you think we should open up our hearts and ..." I got no further before Thomas began sobbing. He thought we were going to rip our chests open to get to our heart. Oops. I tried explaining what I meant but he couldn't get it; he was too worried that his mommy and daddy were going to die. :\ReplyDelete
Did you ever find out what set him off?!Delete
No. It's like certain things randomly come to him and upset him. His teacher walked him to the door [after school] one day to let me know he had been crying about his grandma. She thought he had a bad dream (nap time is near the end of school), but he said that no, he woke up thinking about his great-grandma -- who died a year and a half earlier -- and it made him start crying. He was very upset and hard to calm down. We only saw my grandma once, maybe twice a year, so it was odd he felt so saddened by her death (she also wasn't the most loving person around). The only thing I can come up with as to why is that he is in sensory overload, but that would explain his over reaction, not what triggered the thoughts.Delete
What's odd about me is that I don't feel very emotional about the death of people around me. I'm not cold-hearted or anything, but it doesn't affect me in that way.ReplyDelete
I'm the same... Aspie hereDelete
Same here! I thought I was the only one.Delete
Wilma Rudolph was born in 1940.ReplyDelete
Oopsie, fixed that typo. Good thing it wasn't homework. :)Delete
Could Sabrina be experiencing that lovely preteen hormonal stage? I remember that it hit me one afternoon that my brother and I were getting older and that he would be leaving the house in a few years and that things wouldn't always go on as they always had... such a weird time of life.ReplyDelete
I think both Sabrina AND Max are in the preteen hormonal stage!Delete
You got a better reaction than my mom did! When my little brother was in 2nd grade (sometime about then anyways!), he told my mom "Mom, you are 35, you could go at anytime!"ReplyDelete
That just totally made me laugh!Delete
Have them listen to this Billy Joel Youtube video:ReplyDelete
It basically explains how he explained death to his daughter DON'T START THE VIDEO FROM THE BEGINNING BECAUSE HE CURSES, however the point Max and Sabrina should listen to is cusefree
Thanks, Justin, will check it out!Delete