My children appear to have some kind of obsession with death lately.
It’s not so much an obsession with their father dying, or having died, as with the whole concept in general.
I’m not sure if it’s entirely normal, or ‘normal’ for children who’ve had to deal with death so close up at such a young age. I’m not sure if it’s healthy for them to discuss it so much. I don’t encourage it, but nor do I discourage it or shut them down when the topic comes up. I find myself watching keenly in order to see if I actually do hear the words ‘dying’ and ‘death’ as often as I think I do, or if I’m just overtly sensitive and tuned to the sound of it.
The characters in my daughters dollhouse- a mixture of porcelain nic-nacs, Barbie dolls and Maccas toys- are constantly dying, their whole families perishing in terrible hot air balloon accidents. The make-believe games that the Chop and her play often end in death, and my son makes dramatic declarations about what would happen, exactly, should he step into the gas heater (“Goodbye, family…” he roleplays, a mimic of seriousness attempting to squirm itself into a smirk on his face).
Part of the reason for this phenomena has to lay in the testostor-isation of my boy-child, the newly found roughness that’s come with Big School and Skylanders, Ben 10 and being five. And if I compare one child with the other, the Bump at this age to the way the Chop was two years ago, then her questions and discussions around death seem comparative with his. She still asks questions, about Heaven and death and Daddy. My son rarely questions anything anymore, and acts as some form of instigator of truth and their reality as he sees it. Generally it’s kind and gentle corrections, filling in the potential gaps in her knowledge with what he already knows. Only occasionally does it take a more fervent, aggressive tone (smacking his sister in the head because she dared to argue the topic of whether or not people can come back from the dead- the Chop obviously on the side of the negative- was a particular low point in sibling instruction).
As I do with most everything I’m not quite sure about, I’m leaving this one to run it’s course. I’d rather they talk about this stuff than didn’t. I’d much rather them mention it when they feel they need, than not be able to mention it at all.