Death & Dying…

March 19, 2010

Moira has been obsessed with death and dying lately. Maybe it’s her age, maybe it’s that she’s a little more macabre than most kids, but it’s creeping me out and I’m having a lot of trouble answering some of her very deep questions. A few months back she asked, “Mom, when do people die?” I explained to her that some people die at any age if they get so sick that the doctor can’t help them or that some people die at any age if there is some sort of accident “BUT,” I kindly told her, “most people don’t die until they get really old and their bodies get too old to be alive anymore”.

She replied, “Like Big Moira?” (Big Moira is Kev’s Grandmother, who little Moira is named after).

Thinking she thought I meant that Big Moira was old, I said, “Yes, like Big Moira.” She began crying and I thought she was upset about the prospect of Big Moira dying so I hugged her and consoled her.

I thought nothing more of the conversation until a few weeks later when I told her we were going to see Big Moira for lunch and she elatedly screamed, “YOU MEAN SHE’S STILL ALIVE?”. It just goes to show that exceptional communication skills (which is one of the skills listed on my resume) are UBER important in parenting. Jody gets a big fat F on this one.

Yesterday Kev and I took the kids for ice cream and while we were sitting having a nice family conversation Moira up and asks, “If you and Daddy BOTH die, who’s going to take care of us.” Thinking this is going to open up a can of worms I’m not quite ready to deal with, I answer honestly anyway, “If Mommy and Daddy both died, you and Theo would go live with Aunty Erin (my big sis) and Uncle Kyle.” She added, “And Willem and Edie.” I said, “Yes, that’s right.” At this point I’m bracing myself for the deluge of questions like: how will you and daddy die? Or tearful outbursts like: I don’t want you to die! Instead she replied, “Okay. But before you and Daddy die can you quickly give me Aunty Erin’s phone number. Maybe you could write in on a piece of paper and fold it up for me.”

Maybe I should put an emergency phone list together, just in case!


Kids say the darndest things. Moira is constantly telling me things I would really rather not hear. Take this morning for instance. I was drying off after my shower and our conversation went something like this:

M: ‘Mom, your belly is WAY bigger than mine.’

J: ‘My head’s bigger than yours, my elbows are bigger than yours, my nose is bigger than yours; it’s because I’m just bigger than you.’

M: ‘I know you’re bigger than me, but your belly is WAY, WAY bigger.’

Nice. Or the time she asked me, ‘When I’m old like you will I have two chins like you do?’ Or when she asked me to turn around in the shower so she could see my bum and then said, ‘Yup, it’s a big one!’. When I was pregnant with Theo I had bad skin. Okay, that’s a bit of an understatement. I have bad skin when there are no spawn growing inside me, I have HORRIBLE skin when there is life within. (Just one of the countless things on my excel sheet titled ‘Reasons why two kids are enough.’) Anyway, she stopped her usual babbling to stare at my face for a while and then started pointing to all my (ahem) blemishes saying, ‘polka dots, polka dots, polka dots’. She’s so kind. Some of the cute things she says are not insulting (thankfully). Like the time she woke up with hiccups when she was 2 and when I asked her where she got them she replied, ‘I found them on my pillow’. One day her friend Annika told Moira that she looked pretty, Moira matter-of-factly retorted, ‘I AM pretty.’ Her pediatrician’s name is Dr. Martinez but for looongest time she called him ‘Dr. Penis’, to his face! Luckily he’s got a good sense of humour!

For this, and so many other reasons I created an email account for Moira when she was 15 months old and began emailing her every two months. Sometimes the drafts sit for a while and I’ll add to the message as she does things or there is a significant event in her life. The emails usually gush about how much I love her and all the funny and adorable things she does and says. I did the same for Theo. He actually got emails from birth, so in one measly realm of his youngest-child-world, he wins! The other day Moira was making up songs set to the tune of twinkle, twinkle, I had to stop and watch her while her creative, uninhibited, kid brain worked on some pretty awesome rhymes and really absurd lyrics. Like almost everyone I know, I’ve got a really busy life, but I’m careful to take the time to savour important and poignant moments when they happen. All those clichés about ‘time flying’ and ‘they don’t stay little for long’ are so true and some days I put my head on my pillow and mourn the day that has passed because my babies are another day older, another day closer to not needing me as much as they do right now.


January 18, 2010

Every now and then something happens in your life or in the world that puts things into perspective. It could be a health scare, a death in the family, a near accident, an argument with a loved one, or, in the case of last week, an earth shattering natural disaster leaving millions homeless and hundreds of thousands dead. Last Monday (pre-earthquake) I was in traffic, stuck behind an 80 year old dude who thought  it might be a good idea to head out  for a nice, slow, relaxing afternoon drive. I’m only guessing that’s what he was doing. He may have been ‘racing’ his elderly wife (lying in the back seat) to the hospital because her heartburn was intolerable. Anyway, what I’m getting at is that at this point in my day it felt like I was the only person in the world experiencing the injustice of being stuck behind this guy. The next day a 7.0 earthquake rocked the country of Haiti. Makes you feel pretty shitty. REALLY shitty. About lots of stuff. Kevin sometimes teases me about wanting to move back to Manitoba after living in the Caribbean for 4 years. I point out to him that no tsunami, no earthquake, no hurricane, no terrorists, will ever strike in this part of the world. Our winters are beyond cold (though this one’s been more than bearable) and our mosquitoes in summer are so serious I’m pretty sure there are subspecies evolving each year, but we are beyond lucky!  I digress. Whenever one of those trivial things (like bad drivers, rude people, back talking spawn, a husband how leaves his underwear on the bathroom floor every morning) is bothering me I’m just going to whisper ‘Haiti’ to myself. Perspective. It’ll give me the perspective I need to realize it could always be worse. Much, much, MUCH worse. To donate to the cause click here.