This summer M2 has had a lot of questions about death. M.G. also had questions at this age, but she's always been on the hunt for facts. She asks a question on any topic. I answer to the best of my ability and try to show a couple points of view in my answer. She might ask a follow up or two, but for the most part the matter is settled. If I misstep it usually works to tell her that I explained it poorly and that I need to try again.
M2 brings much more emotion to tough topics and that makes it so difficult for me! One night he asked me several questions and I tried to find ways to answer him that would not cause him to worry too much. I could see fear in his eyes and each question seemed to get right at my heart. He asked all the typical "when," "why," "what" questions, but he also had a lot of questions about things like "who will read to me when I die?" and there is no happy, useful, good answer to questions like that, no unsaying anything that scares him.
The horrible car accident that injured Uncle Dave has brought up some conversations about injury and healing and a small bit about death too. We've tried to inform the kids without causing them to worry excessively and it seemed like we'd been finding a balance.
Yesterday at supper we were talking about the great news that Uncle Dave can now try walking without his leg brace, but that it is very difficult still. M2 had a shocked, scared look on his face, but we were talking about a positive step.
Finally he said, "How can Dave take the brace off his leg and walk?"
Me: "His leg is getting better, he can try taking some steps without the brace, but he still needs to heal before he can really walk well."
M2: "But how can he just take the brace off?"
Me: "I think it has velcro, it is made of plastic."
M2: (getting a little more upset) "But Dave broke his leg. How can his leg stay on when he takes the brace off?"
We talked a bit about bones and muscle and skin, but yikes. With him it is not just the confusion about a factual mix-up: is the leg attached or is it not. It was the amount of worry he showed when he imagined Uncle Dave taking the brace off a leg that had broken off.