The Homosexual Union Conversation Went So Much Better Than The Dead Dog One

Remember when I bragged about my parenting skills last week?

Oh, Internet, look at me! My kid is so saturated in tolerance and love that she cares more about squirrels than my explanation of why Gus has two mommies.

Well, I can’t win them all.  Our friend Gus, of the two-mommy fame, is someone we visited last Labor Day weekend.  Much about Gus and his family impressed my children, including his vast array of Sesame Street toys, his indoor trampoline, and his two large dogs.  The dogs scared the piss out of my children, who had yet to acquire a love and appreciation of our canine friends.  Over Labor Day, the kids slowly came to tolerate the presence of big furry animals lurking around them at the dinner table.

Turns out, however, that the current dog count at Gus’ house is now one, because one of them passed away recently.  And, I’ve got a little math wizard on my hands who has figured out that one is less than two and she wants to know what’s up.

So, Sadie wants to know where Gus’ other dog went.  Oh, how I love a curious mind. Except I wasn’t prepared for the circle of life talk.  I hemmed and hawed and eventually punted, saying, “Why don’t you ask Gus’ mommy (either one, just stop asking your mommy)?”  (If in doubt, punt to someone else who can parent your child.)  While I was stalling (“Sadie! Look at that squirrel! Hey, is that Cookie Monster standing in front of that Seventh Day Adventist Church!”), Jeff Googled “how to tell your young child about death– the pet edition,” but Google failed us by only offering links to Black Friday deals on crematoria for pets.  Thanks, Mark Zuckerberg, or whoever runs Google. Jeff Bezos? No? Well, who the fuck ever.

But, Sadie wasn’t up for delayed gratification.  She wanted to know where the damn dog went. Poor Jeff who isn’t quite the skilled liar that I am tried to give an honest answer, when he told Sadie that the dog “got really tired, and when things get really tired they have to go away.”  He gets a high score on the honesty factor, but he gets very low points because he scared Sadie witless, because now she thinks that if she gets too tired, she will “have to go away too.”

I actually  have no idea what she thinks happened to Gus’ other dog, but it’s safe to say that we inadvertently stumbled on a great way to get her to nap or go to bed early.  “Sadie…do you know what will happen if you get too tired?”

It’s cruel and it’s wrong, but if it works you will be so jealous.


18 thoughts on “The Homosexual Union Conversation Went So Much Better Than The Dead Dog One

  1. M got the “everything dies” talk at the ripe old age of 3 when my aunt passed away. I gave her a no frills science explanation but now I’m kind of regretting it because your “get too tired” explanation is parenting gold. I would love to have that in my “go to bed already” tool box!

  2. Like Larks I had to have a discussion about the different theories of death (cellular division limit, mitotic error accumulation, overall age theory) and the various ways people can die (catastrophic injury, catastrophic illness, age-related systems failure). Then a week later the “what happens after you die” discussions of science versus religion and the four or so major religious theories of after life.

    It was awesome. Because every sentence I uttered I had to back it up with 300 versions of “you’re not going to die soon, your parents aren’t going to die soon, and it’s very very very very unusually for someone to die before they’re really, really, really old.” Because my kid freaks out hard about everything.

    Technically you can die from being too tired. No joke.

    But kids are wicked superstitious and you might want to nip this thing in the bud. She’ll start getting scared that you’re going to die if you say you’re tired. Sorry to kill your bedtime mojo, but…

  3. Did I tell you about the dead dog in our elevator last month? Anyway, the older couple was holding the dead dog and sobbing, the wife said “The children do not want to see this – our dog has died.” My children would have thought nothing of it, unless she, you know, did something to draw their attention to it – like suggest that might not want to see a dog’s corpse, because of course they do.
    For weeks after (and immediately in front of the devastated couple ) Mara said “Why’d that dog die?”

  4. I’m wondering if it’s too late to tell Nathan that’s what happened to our dog so we can all get some rest. Probably.

    It’s so tough when they throw the tough questions at you and you don’t have time to prepare an answer suitable to their level of understanding that won’t scare them.

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