"Mom, can we cuddle up and watch a movie while sissy naps today?" It's raining so it's a good day," Madilyn yelled to me from the playroom while I tried to keep up with Juliana crawling around our living room. "That's a plan," I said. We "cuddle up" on the couch and start watching Finding Nemo. I haven't seen this movie in years and forgot how sad it is at the beginning. In summary, Nemo's mother and his hundreds of brothers and sisters (fish eggs) are eaten by a barracuda. I know! Kinda intense for a kid's movie. I look over at Madilyn and she has tears in her eyes. I ask her why she is sad and she says, "Mom, Nemo's daddy is sad and I cry too. Did they go to heaven like Gabby?" Gabby was my parents cat who my mom just put down a few weeks ago. Since then, Madilyn has had MANY questions about passing on. I tried my best to explain to a 3-year old what happened to all the baby fish eggs.
I realized at that moment how much she really does understand and also how much she still has to learn.
She is constantly trying to figure things out. She is learning something new everyday and it really is a miracle to watch.
Answering these big life questions is a tough part of parenting. My oldest daughter, Madilyn, is only 3 1/2 years old and she has already asked me some big questions. I can not even imagine the questions that will be coming years from now. My favorites so far are: "Where is heaven?" "What do you do in heaven?" "Mom, you are not going to heaven today, right? Tonight is your night to put me to bed." "How did Juliana get out of your belly?" No questions yet about how she got in there THANK GOODNESS. "Did the doctors use magic?" Well, if you call an epidural magic, then yes, my dear.
My top 4 ways to answer questions from our little ones are:
1. Tell the truth or at least what you feel in your heart. Age appropriately of course. Kids are kids but they deserve the truth.
2. Answer them right away. Don't stall too long because they will keep asking until you give them an answer. Oh yes, they will keep asking. Say something.
3. Don't change the subject. They are too smart for this. If you don't answer them they are going to ask someone else.
4. Use comparisons. "You know how Gabby went to heaven? Well, the fish eggs are there too." "In heaven's ocean, Mom." "Yes, honey."
What are the best questions your toddler has asked you and how did you answer?
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