Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Dolphins and Rainbows and Death

We had a lovely afternoon. Jarrah's ears were feeling better, and we took the day off from camp for a beach outing with Steph and Nathan. Last summer, we did this all the time, but could this have been our first such excursion this year? Indeed, I believe it was. The sand was kelp-covered, but people-free, the sea sparkled, the breeze whipped my inland blues away, and the dolphins gamboled and cavorted on the horizon. Trader Joes chewy molasses cookies and some scarily good chicken salad with apricots and almonds mixed in, on sourdough. My toes in the sand, a big blue umbrella. Jarrah and Nathan spent a solid four hours running cups of water to and fro, watering the beach. There is nothing cuter than two kids crouched in the wavewash, heads almost touching, tiny swim-suited tushes sticking out, little hands furiously digging. Nothing more serene and soothing for the soul.

So imagine my surprise when, after a short bout of tears and a round of accusations that seemed to come out of nowhere ("Nathan got two cookies. Why didn't I get two cookies?") on the ride home, the little philosopher composed herself and asked out of the sunset pink sky:

"What happens if you die?"

This startled me. I thought for a moment I must have misheard her. Then I realized that a lot of time had already gone by so I said:

"I...don't know."

That was sort of useless, but it was all I had without advance preparation and notes. She pushed ahead. And I should have seen the next part coming, because the topic has been well-covered in our car:

"Why did Michael Jackson have a heart attack?"

The kid has no clue who Michael Jackson is. She couldn't identify a Michael Jackson song for all the fruit leathers in Costco. But ever since the news, she has been strenuously occupied with his departure from this world.

"Well..." I hesitated. What to say? "He took a lot of medicine. A lot. And it made his heart too tired to work anymore."

"That's not why," she said.

"No? What have you heard?"

"He died because he didn't try to stay healthy. He needed to go outside and exercise every day. That's how you don't die."

"That is a good idea, yes."

"He also needed to brush his teeth. And eat his dinner. Eat healthy foods. Also listen to his mom and dad."

"Those things are important, true."

"Finally, he needed to only take a little medicine, because it makes the doctor happy, and then his heart would not get tired. Also the exercise and the healthy food. That really keeps you from dying."


"Mostly, he should not stay inside and sing. Singing songs makes you die. You need to exercise instead of singing songs."

"Actually, singing songs is not so bad. I think you can do both. Go outside and exercise, and sometimes stay inside and sing. Both of those will help you live, I think."

"And eat your dinner. And listen to your mom and dad."

"Of course."


Stephanie said...

First MLK, now MJ--good thing our kids have all the answers!

Jen said...

Wow--isn't it so interesting how they ask you these questions and you think you'll have to figure out all kinds of things to say, but then they answer their own questions anyway?

Very cute!

Miss J

Aunt LoLo said...

Heh. Good thing we cleared that up - I'd hate to have a death by singing in my future!

LOL...she's too cute!

erin said...

Well, she's got it all figured out. Rose and I had a similar conversation after she heard some friends at soccer talking about MJ.
She asked me why someone would take enough drugs to kill themselves. I told her that sometimes people are so sad that they can't cheer up, so they use drugs to make themselves happy.
Then I realized it almost sounded like I was advocating drug use, 'Use drugs and you'll be happy!'.
So I amended myself, 'but drugs can never make you really happy and then you'll be more sad then you were in the first place.'
She looked at me like, thanks but you just wasted ten minutes of my precious time.

Anonymous said...

Sometimes I'm so glad that Claire doesn't talk yet! ;) lix

Prosy said...

Wow, she is really one for following the rules! How cute is that? That first paragraph was so relaxing. It was even better than actually being at the beach.

G-D said...

This is great! I was just wondering how not to die. Songs and exercise is good advice. You couldn't have put it better.

Myrnie said...

Heh :) Duly noted!

Mary said...

What about riding dolphins to the moon? Is that healthy? :)



The Wades said...

Deep child. Love her.

Loved "watering the beach" and "asked out of the sunset pink sky." Just thought you should know.