Don’t Casually Mention That You’re Going to Die to Your 3-Year-Old,

I made a huge mistake last night. I have been trying to get my kids to stop yelling at each other. Here’s a sample from last night:

Sass: “Buddy, give me the toothpaste.”
Buddy: “No, you have to say please!”
Sass: “No I don’t! Give it to me!”
Buddy: “No,┬áSass!”

I interjected and started giving the kids the right words to say. This is something I’ve been trying to do. Instead of saying “be nice” I’ve been giving them the words, such as “Buddy, would you please hand me the toothpaste?”

After this exercise I went into a whole thing about how, as both and sister, they’ll always have each other so they should be good to each other. Then I continued, like an idiot, to say that when we’re gone, they’ll always have each other. My questioning 3 year-old asked what I meant, so I proceeded (STUPIDLY) to tell her that when Daddy and I die, they’ll always have each other.

Dumb, dumb, dumb. I know better. I don’t know what I was thinking, telling the girl who freaked out for a week about our house falling down, telling her that her parents are going to die.

At bedtime she started crying and clinging to me, which she does from time to time. I asked her a few times what was wrong and only got “I just want you,” which, again, typical Sass. But I kept prodding until she finally blurted out “I don’t want you to DIE!” Shit. Shit, shit, shit.

So, I did what you’re not supposed to do (hey, I was on a roll), and told that we weren’t going to die. I didn’t say never ever, but I knew that if either of us were ever going to sleep again, I needed to assure her that we are not about to kick the bucket. Then I went on to tell her that God protects us. This really seemed to calm her down and reassure her.

I’m pretty mad at myself for making such a dumb mistake. I didn’t mean to scare her and I felt so bad when she was crying and clinging to me. The reality is, people die. Sometimes parents die and leave behind little kids. But my little girl doesn’t need to be scared every night about something that could, maybe, possibly happen. I want her to feel safe and secure, unaware that her world, anyone’s world, could crumble at any moment.

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