About yesterday

Yesterday, when Z came home from school, she told me about a friend who wet her pants and another whose "bee got turned upside down" which is, apparently, a very very bad thing. But she didn't mention anything about planes or terrorists or anything.

She didn't mention anything about September 11th

It occurred to me yesterday morning, after she had left for school, that she might hear about what happened 11 years ago. That someone might say something, a classmate, her teacher or maybe there'd even be a lesson on it, who knows. This is first grade. This is public school. This is new territory.

This is the real world.

But if anybody said anything, she didn't mention it yesterday afternoon, and I think she would have, she's that kind of kid. My sensitive girl would have asked me what it meant, why it happened, if it could happen again.

As a sensitive mother of a sensitive child, I shelter her. We don't watch the news. We don't listen to NPR when she's around. I cover any scary photos on the front page of the newspaper. She and her three year old sister watch the same TV shows; she only recently stopped leaving the room when Swiper appears to momentarily disrupt Dora's plans. While many of her fellow six year olds have watched Star Wars and High School Musical and Beetlejuice, she skips animated Disney movies for fear of "bad people" and "scary stuff."

That's fine. She doesn't want to see it and I don't really want her to see it.  I want her to have a childhood, to really be a kid, for as long as possible. This "getting older younger" stuff? SUCKS.

But what about when the scary stuff is real? She will need to learn about these things someday and if it's not from us, who knows what she'll hear from other kids.

How can I explain September 11th to her? Ever?

The truth is, whenever she hears about it, however old she is, it will be a difficult and sad conversation.

I'm just glad she may have another year to mature before we have that conversation.


Marie Green said...

M came home from kindergarten saying it was "Patriot Day" (IS THAT WHAT THEY'RE CALLING IT NOW??) but she didn't seem to know what it meant beyond that. Like you, I decided to leave well enough alone for another year. My older girls know enough about it, but they took it all in stride. My anxious kid? YOU WILL NEVER PREDICT exactly what will make her anxious. I would THINK 9-11 would, but nope. Sigh.

Marianne said...

My four-year-old came home talking about how a lot of people died on this day many years ago.

clueless but hopeful mama said...

MG: "Patriot Day"? That's a new one for me. And I find it VERY reassuring that your anxious kid isn't freaked out by 9-11.

Marianne- Was she freaked out? Was it a lesson in preschool or was it from other kids? I'm FASCINATED about how this information gets dispersed - and received.

twisterfish said...

I remember when they decided to call it "Patriot Day" and how I thought that was a silly name. Obviously it hasn't caught on since so many don't know what it is!

I'm glad the schools didn't do a big discussion of 9/11 at this grade level. What bothers me is that they didn't do anything at my daughter's school either, and she's in high school.

I realize this event is in our history, and as with other historic events, they're not taught on their actual days, but in history class sometime during the school year, and at age appropriate levels. I'm interested in seeing what they teach as the year goes one (and in the next years as well).

momof3 said...

It's interesting how schools in the same county handle this day so differently. My middle schooler and high schooler honored Patriot Day by wearing red, white and blue and having a moment of silence when the first plane hit (though the high schooler wasn't in class yet). My oldest remembers that day very well as she was in kindergarten then my middle schooler has no recollection but learned about it last year in school. My four year old was the only one in her class that wore red, white and blue and at first I was disappointed to see it and then realized the parents probably were avoiding the discussion as they should especially if their 4 year old is the oldest. These are hard conversations to have with children as all horrific historic events are but they do learn not only that there are bad people in the world but also selfless heroes. I try to dwell on the second hoping that they and I would be a selfless hero if I/we had to.

yoga mama said...

I feel a similar dread of real explanations for my very very sensitive son. he's 4.5 and just this morning he made the connection between chicken on his plate and chickens he sees walking around at a farm. The realities that we adults deal with are so huge, I wonder if they fit at all into the smaller view of a child. Little by little...little by little. Thanks for this thoughtful post.

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