Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Interactive Play + Preschooler Talk

I was sitting there enjoying my new hilarious library book, You'll Grow Out of It by Jessi Klein, relishing in the fact that both of my children were engaging in interactive play with an another kid during our stay-and-play time at the library. Just after storytime ends, the librarian lets the kids loose with coloring sheets relating to the book theme and pulls out some LEGO and STEM toys for kids to play with for the next hour, if interested.

A nanny and the two kids she brings each week were sticking around along with a bunch of other kids. My kids colored pictures of unicorns as the theme from one of the books we read, Not Quite Narwhal (which is adorable, by the way). We laced boards and they moved onto building a DUPLO fortress with another boy Benjamin's age. That's when I grabbed my new book from our book bag and started in.

I kept reading, finishing up the first chapter, feeling grateful for the free reading time and the break from all the education books I've checked out lately. And then I heard something that caught my attention. Having no idea how this conversation was spurred, I just kept listening...

Friend: "...and then we will die and not go to heaven." (maybe he was talking about their fortress and someone capturing and killing them? Death is a hot topic with my kids, so I wasn't the least bit alarmed.)
Benjamin: "My brother is there. He is in heaven."
Friend: "Your brother died? When?"
Benjamin: "When he was a baby."
Friend: "He killed his self?"
Benjamin: "I think so."
Friend: "What age was he?"
Benjamin: "I think like 5." (because everyone is 5 when you're turning 5 this week.)
Friend: {yells to nanny} "My friend's brother died when he was a kid."
Nanny: "Sometimes that happens."
Friend: "Why does that happen?"
Benjamin: "I don't know."
Friend: "I don't know why your brother died. You tell me."

{Librarian enters to end our stay-and-play time, thus ending their engagement and my free reading time.}

Just a little light conversation between preschoolers to cap off the storytime about unicorns, penguins, narwhals and pigs. None of this made me uncomfortable. If anything, it made me delighted to hear Benjamin talking about Andrew and connecting his understanding of death and heaven to his brother, who we talk about regularly. I didn't interject, even when the nanny was involved.


Laura Jane said... [Reply to comment]

"sometimes that happens" might be the best thing an adult has said in recognition of a baby having died. I'm glad you overheard their conversation, knowing how the kids talk about their siblings is an interesting topic. My girls often ask about death or Piper will approach me with her toy dog and announce it is dying. I'm pretty sure non-rainbows don't think like that. ;)

Caroline said... [Reply to comment]

I do love that he was comfortable just bringing Andrew up on his own in his own way.

A Few Good Eggs said... [Reply to comment]

I love that Benjamin brought this up and, honestly, I had to laugh because of the frankness and honesty in the conversation between children. It's so refreshing and real even though of course I wish Benjamin had no concept of death yet. And I love the nanny's response.

WyoGirl said... [Reply to comment]

I love that you shared this little convo. My girls (4 and nearly 3) often talk about their brother and Daddy (both in heaven). It is conversational for them...it is a part of their life story and they don't hesitate to share. They know the basics of the circumstances and share those as well, so matter-of-fact. Like you, it warms my heart that those very special people are always on their minds.