Monday, July 29, 2019

Getting Older, Getting Smarter

Everett (as he will tell you) is now officially three and a half. His interaction with other kids, his independence, and his capability all continues to amaze us. Watching him interact with our friends' kids is especially heartwarming. Going to Michigan gives us the opportunity to do that.

Swinging - July 4, 2019

While Imogen is only one and a half, she's also much more social than the last time we were in the state. Her verbalization is CRAZY. Full sentences, pretend play, and wanting to sing by herself (I don't want Mommy to sing it) are just a few of the ways she amazes us these days. She played with and was entertained by her cousins, and sometimes - sometimes! - Chris and Elizabeth could sit back and enjoy the show.

Having a blast at MiSci - Detroit, Michigan - July 5, 2019

This July, that show also included Everett endlessly climbing and sliding down a 20-foot waterslide in Elizabeth's cousin's back yard. The kid is growing up - it's obvious.

One of probably a thousand slides - July 6, 2019

It isn't just the "typical" growth and maturity though. Everett, in his increasing understanding and insight, has been talking about death more and more. We've been trying to navigate how much to bring it up to try to make sure he has a safe environment to talk about it with overdoing it. We try to answer in age-appropriate ways, but it's difficult on the spot to respond to things like, "I won't be able to talk when I'm dead and that makes me sad" or "I don't want my body to come apart when I die."

On the way to day care last week, Everett spontaneously transitioned from, "I never want to give my toys away" to "I will have to give my toys away when I die and that makes me sad" to "when I die, it's ok if you give my toys away."

(Yes, we've been reading the Toy Story books lately, hence all the obsession with toys and giving them away - or not.)

What do you say?

We said things like, "Everett, you're not going to die for a long time," "you don't have to give any of your toys away if you don't want to," and "maybe someday you'll want to give your toys away, like when you to go to college like Andy, but Mommy and Daddy will not make you do it - it will be up to you."

Trying to parse out what is normal toddler fears (losing toys) with what is more serious (worrying he will die and what happens when people die) is tricky. Both topics are safe for him to discuss with us, but we don't want to turn everything into its most serious version. He knows death is sad. He tells us he is sad that Obie died, and he starts crying whenever he thinks about it, but it feels more like he is linking sad things together without really understanding fully. We do our best to answer the questions he asks directly, and trying to redirect him to ways to deal with the sadness. We share how we remember the joy Obie brought into our lives, and how we love to spend time with the people who love him. We share how finding yellow and bees in the world helps us remember and share Obie's life.

This will not necessarily get easier, and it shouldn't really. Oberon's absence doesn't change - it persists. Life goes on, but death goes on too. 

At Obie's memorial hives installed by Bees In The D - Detroit, Michigan - July 5, 2019

With Grandpa Fiorani - July 5, 2019