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.