Our Little was born at the stroke of midnight. We tell her she was born at this magical moment that stands in between time. The witching hour. I told her that every year on her birthday at the stroke of midnight, I come in and kiss her on her nose and say a prayer of thanks for her big beautiful life.
When she woke this morning, on her fifth birthday, she was immediately distraught. Her eyes accusing and her words laced with frustration as she yelled at me,
"I missed it! I missed my birthday! You didn't wake me. You were supposed to wake me!"
In my most calming voice I said, "You didn't miss it. I kissed you and now its your birthday! We get to celebrate all day!"
She was not convinced as her eyes narrowed at me trying to decide if I was telling the truth.
She left the room and then came back a moment later. The lines still formed on her face, the frustration still in her eyes, she scowled at me,
"I'M NOT FIVE! YOU SAID I WOULD BE FIVE, BUT I'M NOT. I'm still four! I weigh 40 lbs. I am supposed to be 50 but I am still 40. When do I turn five?"
Well, I never saw that loop hole coming, so I explained the difference between time and weight and how she has a whole year to gain her 10lbs. (I left out the part where we don't actually want to accomplish that every year. I figured baby steps were in order here.)
She was still not convinced.
The weight thing came back to haunt us a few times today. Each time re-explaining that she can be 40lbs and five years old. I'm not sure where stand on that still. Hopefully the doctor tomorrow can explain it with words she will understand since mine clearly aren't working.
At nap time, I laid her down and she burst into tears. She has currently been obsessed with death. We passed a cemetery the other day and she asked about the grave stones and if people were laying in the ground. I told her their bodies were but their spirits weren't. Everything that makes them alive is still alive in heaven (I went for the easy answer, don't judge me) but it didn't work. She started crying her hysterical cry where you can't understand what she's saying because she is sobbing more than talking. So then I have to ask her a couple times to repeat it because I can't help if I can't understand. Then all of a sudden, the tears magically stop and she is calm so she can talk to me and then the out of no where the tears and sobbing are back. It's amazing to watch actually. I am convinced she has already taken acting classes without my knowledge.
So she is currently terrified of being put in the ground. I mean, downright convinced that they will put her in the ground while she is still alive and the actual act of being buried is what is going to kill her. I understand, she's five, so it's child logic, I am just not really good at these things. Clearly, since in my effort to help her feel better about being buried alive, I actually said, "Well, you can be cremated instead."
I KNOW I KNOW I KNOW! Now you can judge me.
Ever have that moment where your mouth acts before your brain catches up? And it's like you experience the words for the first time as if they DIDN'T come from your head? Almost as if you were a whole other person in the car and you think, "How stupid are you that you just said that?"
Yeah. I know. I get it. If there was one wrong move to make in this conversation, I just made it. "Sure little girl, if you don't want to buried alive, they can burn you to ashes instead."
Way to go mom. There is no way you are winning "mom of the year" now! So much for talking frankly and honestly with our children. Maybe there should be some fine print in this manual that says, "Honest and truthful yes, but age appropriate critical." I think I missed that memo.
So, the wailing got worse. I actually rolled our windows up in the car because I was afraid someone was going to report me for child abuse if they heard her screaming. About an hour later after lots of consoling and trying to back pedal in the most tragic way, I didn't actually convince her that things look good when we die, I just tried to focus on the "Let's live and focus on having a life full of love and fun and family and friends... etc." She either started to listen to me or ran out of steam. I'm not sure which one.
So back to today at nap time.
I laid her down and all of a sudden she started the ugly cry again, (Yes, we all have one and even at age five, it's not pretty. It's actually comical and I have to try really hard not to laugh. One time in the midst of a melt down I excused myself to get her some tissues to help, and even though there were some in the room, I went to another room to get them so I could get my laughter out. I only wish I could secretly record for you. It's RIDICULOUS!) In between her sobs, she tells me,
"I don't want to die and be buried in the ground or burned! (sob) I want to go back to being little. Now that I am five (hiccup) I am big and I don't want to die. I want to be laid on the grass like a flower or be brought back to my bed. (sob) I don't want to be (hiccup) big."
And then at bedtime...
"I wish I was little still. (cry) When I was little, I could go with you everywhere. I have to (sob) go to school now and I am going to (hiccup) miss you. We do everything together and I am going to miss you. We are going to be lonely without each other. I don't want (cry) to die or get big or go to school without you."
So.. we clearly have some issues we need to work on over here. We have some anxiety, obviously, we have a strong fear of death (thanks to me) and we don't like change.
And you know the terrible part? She doesn't even start school for four more months!!! The really selfish and dark hole in my heart wants to scream, "Do I really have to do this all summer?!?!"
My small child thinks her life is over because she turned five today and only death and separation are in her future. Maybe I should make a dream and vision board with her. Find pictures of all the fun things we get to do in the next four months and in then in the next six. You know, give her something to look forward to so she doesn't think it's all down hill from here.
And the next time my child asks me about anything remotely life changing, I'm calling my mom.
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