.....and it will take about that long to tell this story......
Last week our family was out on the deck enjoying a nice summer evening. My husband noticed that the abundant population of bluejays were eating our dog food. These birds, I have been told, are a nuisance. He decided that he was going to thin them out. After returning from the basement with his gun, he begins shooting these birds. My daughter is not fond of loud noises, to say the least, so she retreated into the house to wait it out. After the killing spree was over she returned, along with a fascination of guns. She kept saying "Daddy let me shoot....". As a mother this made the hair on the back of my neck stand up. My greatest fear is something happening to my children.....and if it could be made worse, it would be that this "something" would be "something" that could be prevented. This gun fascination prompted me to sit my daughter down and have a talk with her. (Can you have a talk with a 3 year old?)
I explained, although I am unsure as to how well, that guns are VERY dangerous. I emphasized that she should NEVER, NEVER touch one. EVER! (My husbands guns are put up, out of reach, out of sight, in an unoccupied section of the basement. Once the children are able to play unsupervised, they will be locked up. ) But these days, you just NEVER know what your kids are going to encounter, even at the age of 3. I told her that guns kill people....and then in her language I said....."you could die". Now I know that this sounds extremely harsh to be talking about death to a 3 year old, but she is very dramatic and speaks frequently about death. For example, when her baby brother is about to put something in his mouth she will say..."Mommy, he is going to choke and DIE!" Once again, I do not believe she is capable of fully understanding death, but she does refer to it often.
So, in my quest to be a wonderful mother/teacher/leader etc.....
This weekend I saw a dead field mouse outside in our front yard. Apparently the cat had gotten the best of it. I told my daughter that there was a dead mouse outside.....She could barely contain her enthusiasm and excitement to see it. She is intrigued by gross stuff (including her brothers' poop/puke/messes as well as any bleeding owies we obtain) and ran out to see the mouse. I then went into my spill about it being dead and going to be with Jesus....she thought it needed to see its mommy and daddy and that it was sleeping. After about 5 minutes of trying to explain what it means to be dead, I decided that I would bury it. Ah Hah! This will drive home the point, I thought.
So I went to the garage and emerged with a shovel in hand. My husband couldn't contain his laughter. He had just finished ridiculing me (good natured, of course) about the fact that the ground was hard as a rock due in part to the drought we are in and that there was no way I would be able to dig a hole. After I came out determined to prove him wrong he pointed out that I was going to have to dig a bigger hole now..... Looking up I spot our dog running proudly towards us, carrying in his mouth a prize.....A DEAD RABBIT. So I put the rabbit AND the mouse on the shovel and off we go to have a mass burial. My daughter was really stumped now. Here I was telling her the rabbit was dead, yet his eyes were clearly open?
Obviously I couldn't dig a hole, however while enjoying this "lesson" being taught to my daughter, my husband pointed me to a pile of old dirt, hay and horse poop. It was fairly loose and on top of the ground so I shoveled some off and laid it on top of the carcasses. We said a prayer for Jesus to take care of the bunny and the mouse and I went to put up my tools. As we emerged from the horse lot and entered the yard my daughter forged ahead saying something about dead animals. I no more than had put up my stuff we she returned happily saying she had found a dead bird......... Yes, we buried it too.
.....Last night I was cooking and I heard the door close. I waited for her to return in a timely manner. It seemed as if a reasonable amount of time had passed....I went to the deck and hollered...again and again and again....no response. My heart is quickening. I run to the front door and yell her name. NOTHING! I run through the garage....and there she is! Our conversation is as follows:
"What wrong mommy?"
"You answer me when I yell for you!"
"Because I worry."
"Why you worry?"
"Because you could get hurt."
"I not hurt."
"I know, but I worry that you could get hurt, (and then probably not the best thing to say to a 3 year old...) or killed." ---Before I get hate mail....I know I shouldn't have said this...it was just my big fear surfacing.--
This stumps her.....then she furrows her brow and says, matter of factly...with her arms outspread, looking around...
"There no guns out here. I not get killed. Guns are not out here."
I GIVE UP! You can't win.......