Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Johnny Ate A Booger

...And It Tastes Like Sugar
He Put It In A Pot...
And It Tastes Like Snot.

So sayeth Big Brother.

Quite loudly, in fact, and right in the middle of the checkout lane at the grocery store.

Apparently he learned this little ditty (which is probably stuck in your head now as it is mine), from the (school-aged) daughter of the lady who watches the boys twice weekly.

It reminded me of the scene in the movie Parenthood when the boy sings "When you're sliding into first and you're feeling something burst..." to Steve Martin. "Where'd you learn that, honey" his mother asks. "Last summer at camp, mom," he replies. "That was money well spent," punctuates Steve Martin.

Oh my, Big Brother is growing up.

And sometimes it's small things, like the appropriate time to sing about boogers.

And other times, it's more serious stuff, like death.

I knew it would only be a matter of time before Big Brother started asking more about my mom, whom he never met.

He sees everyone else in the family in pairs: Mom-E and Dad-E, Gramm-E and Pap-Pap, etc.

And so, on our recent trip to my hometown, he (finally) asked, "Why does Pa-Pa live alone?"

"Because my Mom-E died."

"What happened?"

"She was really sick."

"With a bad cold?"

"Well, it was more than that. She had an illness for a long time."

This discussion continued for a while longer with more questions.

Ultimately, we ended up going to the cemetary to visit her grave.

I was surprised that this didn't result in another train of questions. I guess Big Brother was more interested in dancing on the shiny footstones, but I'm sure the questions will follow at some point.

He's had a few brief, vague questions about my mom before, but this time there was definitely a spike in his curiosity.

I just tried to meet him where he is on the subject. I answered his questions directly, but without too much detail.

That's been my general approach to talking to Big Brother about death (or any sensitive issue, for that matter).

He has a rudimentary understanding of the subject (through a squirrel who met an untimely end on the way to the park), though I know he doesn't quite fully understand.

That said, through pictures and stories, I'm sure he'll come to know more about her in his own way, on his own time. And, this Thanksgiving, I'm thankful that Big Brother wants to know more about her.

I look to those occasions with a mix of both dread and a fond reminiscence, it's a feeling that's hard to describe.

Still, it's something important that must be done. He needs to know about his family.

After all, parenting is not for the faint of heart.

See you on Fatherhood Friday,
Happy Thanksgiving,
Don't eat any boogers I wouldn't eat,


  1. Sounds to me like your doing a great job with the hard questions. He will grow to know of her, even though he'll never have met her. Have a Happy Thanksgiving with the Bus-E Family.

  2. I think my 4YO daughter has a simple understanding of death. She knows that people on TV die. She saw a part of the first episode of Flash Forward and later she told my wife that on daddy's TV show the whole world died. She knows that Jesus died.

    But it's more from a third person point of view. She hasn't had to witness it first hand just yet.

  3. I know big brother will want to know tons more about her as he grows up. Aunt-E and Mom-E got to meet Gramm-E's mom, but they don't remember. I've always had a lot of interest in her and wish I had gotten to know her. I think with my grandpa re-married it must have been hard on Gramm-E because I remember not understanding why grandpa's wife isn't my grandma and asking a lot of questions about that. Gramm-E did a good job handling it and I know you will too. Your mom was such a kind person and Big Brother will enjoy learning about her.

    CY Aunt-E

  4. That is really cool that he is asking where his grandma is. I'm sure that even though it is tough to answer questions about a serious subject, but you'll also get to tell stories about the fun times you had with her. It is a great way to be able to remember your fun and happy times with your Mom-E. Love, AUnt-E