Today, during a rare quiet moment, I found The Girl in her room. She was sitting in the small green rocker that I use to nurse The Baby. She was holding her Tinkerbell and wearing a sad face. I asked her what was up, and she said, "Tinkerbell died, so hers Mommy is sad." Upon further investigation I found out that Tinkerbell had died "from a gun that shotted her". So The Girl, being a good fairy mother, put on her sad face and was holding a vigil for the fallen pixie.
All kids play death, right? Little boys shoot and shank and blow up things. Little girls... well, do little girls play death?
Ordinarily pretend play doesn't bother me. I encourage lots of dress up. We have had makeshift fire stations, business offices, veterinarian clinics, castles, teepees, and enchanted forests rule and ruin our home. Both of my big B's have very vivid, and incredibly detailed imaginations. Which is great. Which I love.
But I've put a restriction on playing dead lately. Why? Why would I hinder any amount of inventive play?
Because we've had 6 dead people in less than 3 years. (None of them, by the way, were "shotted" to death.) My kids have lost 2 great-grandfathers, an aunt, a great-grandmother, and both grandfathers (not to mention 2 beloved dogs). They were close with all but one of these people who have since gone on. They also know that they have a baby cousin in heaven, and that she went before we had a chance to meet her.
We've had a lot, a LOT, of dead lately. We've had more where/how/why/when/who discussions about heaven than any 5 and 3 year olds should have. The Boy was not even 3 when all the dying began.
Death has been an ongoing conversation in our family, and really, I'm sick of it. So, I'm imposed sanctions on the dead play.
I know, I know, the kids have their own ways of wading through, of processing the heavy load of information. Play is good, play is contemplation, play is expression.
In our house we don't play dead, and we don't kill. They kids, even at their tender ages, already know about the brevity of life and the finality of death.
And I just wonder... am I doing more harm than help? It's not that we've put Death in a jar in the shelf above the refrigerator never to be mentioned again. We talk Death. We've talked Death, well, to death. We just don't play death.