When do kids understand death?

When do kids understand death?

 

fish

 

My five year old daughter is very affectionate and very considerate towards children and grownups. For this i have always thought she had a good understanding of emotions, but the other day i couldn’t help but feel a little deflated at Ava’s reaction when she found out that her new fish Crumb had died a day after her having him.

After winning Crumb at a local fayer, Ava was thrilled to take him home to put in her fish tank along with her existing fish Biscuit (Very creative names for some fish don’t you think? it was Ava’s choice…i promise) So we done the whole new fish process. We cleaned the fish tank, made sure the water was the same temperature as the water in the bag the fish came in, then popped the fish still in the bag inside the tank, letting him swim out in his own time to meet his new room mate Biscuit. Eventually he swims in, and the two fish appear to be fine, not really taking an interest in each other.

It was about 23.30 and i was just getting ready to go up to bed when i thought to give the fish a pinch of food, and there was Crumb just floating on the top. I couldn’t believe it, we only just got him a few hours ago! I thought he was just in shock, so i scooped him out and put him into a mixing bowl full of water and left it over night. I was hoping that he was just playing dead, trying to recreate that scene out of Finding Nemo where they flush the fish down the toilet thinking he’s dead, but in fact he’s alive and swims back to the ocean!

That was totally not the case. The next morning he was as dead as a dodo, still floating in my mixing bowl. Ava came running in and went straight to the fish tank, and frantically started asking me where Crumb was. I lead her out the kitchen and told her that Crumb had died last night and then showed him to her. She immediately threw her arms around my neck and started to sob, shouting no. It was so heartbreaking, i even had tears in my eyes, but then she wiped her face, looked at me and said… “can you buy me another one? “

I said to her, “Ava, you do know Crumb has died” and she responded with “yes i know, but i really wanted to have 2 fish, and now i only have 1, so please can you buy me another one?”  I was completely dumbfounded. It was definitely not the reaction i thought i was going to get and It really got me thinking…Is it that my five year old daughter lacks empathy? or is it that she just simply does not understand death?

I got on to Google and started searching for answers, and found this:

 Children begin to grasp death’s finality around age 4. In one typical study, researchers found that 10 percent of 3-year-olds understand irreversibility, compared with 58 percent of 4-year-olds. The other two aspects of death are learned a bit later, usually between age 5and 7

So it seems about right, that now would be when Ava starts to understand death, but then again I’m 25 and i still have no understanding of it…and i doubt i ever will.  For now we shall continue to have only have 1 fish as i don’t want Ava to think that when something dies or gets broken, it can just be replaced. So, tonight’s agenda is fish flushing! We will send Crumb to heaven (or out to sea as Ava likes to put it)  He’ll be sleeping with the fishies!

Has anyone else been in a similar situation?

 

Parents Evening

Parents Evening

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When Ava was in nursery, ‘Parents day’ was a brief chat about how she loved to put sand in her hair and how she enjoyed using the hand dryers in the bathroom. So i was overly excited to be going to her first official parents evening, now that she was in school for the full day. I hated it when she first started. You go from spending every day together, and being involved in their everyday activities to hearing about how much fun they’ve had in school with Miss Wonderful.

So like i said, i was eager to meet this fabulous teacher and hear all about Ava’s first year. I thought i would make the effort and chuck on some lipstick, cover my face in dream lumi concealer and attempted to polish up my messy bun, into a slightly less messy bun. I was feeling great and my son was actually behaving, so with the meeting being at 3.35 and Ava finishing at 3 O’clock, we decided to kill some time and pop over to Greggs for an after school treat.

After having a ten minute debate over which cake to choose with a picky five year old (custard slices/ fresh cream doughnuts being off limits!) we finally get back to the car with fifteen minutes to eat, before i’m vigorously rubbing the kids down with a pack of wet wipes and we’re making our way over to the school hall. With the kids being on a sugar rush, i was starting to doubt that “after school treat”. I had them both running in opposite directions across the grass, it was like a wild goose chase! I had to sprint after them and pick Emmet up and corner Ava into the hall.

It was jam packed and all the gym benches were full, so i spotted a window ledge just small enough to fit two little bottoms on. The kids were happy, i was happy, and i could see that we were next to be seen by Miss Wonderful. Of course, i’m stood there looking all smug with my well behaved children, when all of a sudden there was an overbearing stench of poop.

Looking slightly less smug, i realize the overbearing stench is probably coming from my well behaved son (pulls back nappy, and to my surprise it’s empty) My first thought was yes, not my child who stinks!! but that was soon shattered by Ava shouting “Mummy, why have you got mud all over your trousers?” I looked down and there it was! My jeans, my coat, even my t-shirt all covered in dog sh*t!

How? Ah yes, my well behaved son who was running riot out on the grass had stomped in it all and then when i had picked him up, it had spread all over my clothes. Having only a ‘handy pack’ of wet wipes in my bag, i was stood wiping myself down as if i was on fire! but the wipes were so small it just ended up smearing all through the wet wipe onto my hands. I was next to be seen and couldn’t let Emmet walk over in his sh*tty shoes, so i had to take them off and squish them into my beloved handbag.

Before i got the chance to do anything else Miss Wonderful called out Ava’s name. I was sat down looking and smelling like a bag of sh*t…literally, whilst my son was busy sliding around the hall in his socks. To add to my horror, i looked over to the window where we had been sitting and saw two little girls sat on the pile of sh*tty wet wipes i had left there. I was mortified! I had forgot all about them. I just wanted to hurry up and get out before everyone noticed the stink lines coming from me!

Miss wonderful handed me a load of books filled with pictures and drawings, and i suddenly forgot that i was covered in sh*t. It was so cute! She told me that Ava is very polite and well mannered, and always try’s her best. My favorite was a picture of the ‘things i love the most’ which was a drawing of her family and she had tried to spell everyone’s names too. She also told me that Ava is a delight to teach and that she is very settled with her group of friends. I was so happy, it was such a proud mummy moment for me.

I then had to sneak out whilst avoiding any eye contact with other parents. It was a great ending to an eventful day. We wen’t home and the kids had a hot bubble bath. I on the other hand bathed in disinfectant and sipped on a big tasty glass of wine.  Like the saying goes…sh*t happens, but life goes on 🙂

Thanks for reading

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(pic sourced from Pinterest)

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