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The Subject of Death With a 4 Year Old

Have you had to approach the subject of death with your little ones yet? How did you deal with it?

C is now 4 years and 7 months. Up until now, we’ve thankfully not had to come across ‘the chat about death’ but a few weeks ago that changed.

L woke one morning to a message from a friend to say she wouldn’t be in school that day because her Mum had collapsed and had been taken to hospital. L then went off to school as normal and I got on with my morning.

Around 10.30am I received a call from L … when I saw her details pop up on my phone I just thought she was on her break and was asking me to top up her canteen! But no, I wasn’t expecting her to tell me her friends Mum had passed away! It was so sudden.

I don’t know L’s friends Mum but I do of course know L’s friend and I have to say it hit me quite hard. I just couldn’t imagine what that poor family were going through. When they went to bed the previous night as a family of 5 they had no idea what the next day was going to bring. I burst into tears on the phone to L 1) shocked by the news she had just told me and 2) my heart was breaking for my girl. Her friend has just lost her Mum and I was worried about her having received the news whilst in school. I did offer to go and collect her but she said being in school would be a bit of a distraction and the teachers were dealing with it well & had the choice to be out of class if they chose to.

So with my worries lying with L, wondering how she would be seeing as it is her friend and L has been to stay at the girl’s house so also knows her Mum too, I didn’t for a second think about C. Who would have thought he would be affected by this?

At first, I didn’t think he even really knew what was going on, it’s not like I openly told him L’s friend had died, but he was obviously listening to us talking about it and telling others. It was the Easter holidays and a few days later we were at the park. C was on the steps to a slide when all of a sudden he had what I can only describe as a panic attack. He just melted down into a sobbing panicking mess. He was hyperventilating, sobbing his heart out, burying his head in my chest, complaining his chest was hurting … It was awful! So upsetting to see him so upset. I calmed him down and we just sat on the park bench cuddling him the sun. He didn’t want to do play on anything but he didn’t want to go home either so we just sat there in the sun together.

After about 20 minutes he was much happier, his chest was better and he asked if he could go and play. Just like that.

Later that night at dinner he had another one – Mr S was home and he witnessed it this time. Like me he felt awful our little boy was going through such upset and heartache and he couldn’t tell us why. Again it took us about 20 minutes to calm him down and whilst sat on the sofa afterwards having a cuddle he fell asleep – really unusual for him. He just seemed exhausted after 20 minutes of crying and hyperventilating. He only slept for about 15 minutes then woke up ans was ok again.

The next day in the car he was sat in the back quietly looking out of the window and all of a sudden he asked the question “Mummy? Did ****’s Mum die” and I have to say the question hit me! I wasn’t expecting it. I just said “Yes she did sweetheart” I didn’t know what else to say. I was waiting on the next set of questions but there wasn’t any … he just carried on looking out of the window.

Loads raced through my mind. I wondered if I should carry on the conservation, But then wondered how I was going to answer any more of his possible questions.

You can’t tell him people only die when they’re old because, a) it’s not true and b) would he start worrying about his beloved Grandparents … and us .. he considers us old because we’re grown up. You can’t say people only die when they get poorly because, a) that’s not true and b) the next time any one of us gets a cold would be panic and think we’ll die? It’s such a hard topic!!! So I left it.

Not much else happened the rest of the week until Friday morning. L had been invited to go away with some family friends for the weekend, it was only arranged as a last minute thing the night before when C was in bed so he was none the wiser. Our friends come early on Friday morning to collect her and he asked where she was going. When I told him she was going away for a few days he broke down. He got so upset and begged me to not let her go. As they drove off and we come back inside he asked if we could get in the car and chase them down the road and bring L back. I laughed and said not to be silly – she would be back in 3 sleeps time. I couldn’t understand why he was getting so upset.

Well, ALL weekend all he kept asking was how many more sleeps was it until L was home, he kept asking if she was coming home now and two out of the 3 nights he would sob into his pillow in his sleep and he also wet the bed twice too. He never does that!

On day 3 the day she was coming home it became apparent what was up … he thought L was going to die whilst she was away and he was beside himself with worry. Once she was home he wouldn’t leave her side and said I’m so pleased you didn’t die. That night he slept all night and was dry again!

It’s been a few weeks since all of this happened and he has asked the odd few questions like why was ***’s Mum lying on the floor (again he must have overheard L telling me the story of what had happened) I mentioned it to pre-school when he went back after the Easter holidays to let them know of his struggles over it all so they could keep an eye on him, but he’s been fine.

L’s friend last week come to stay the night and I did wonder if seeing her would spur him to start asking her lots of questions but funnily enough, he didn’t.

It’s amazing what goes on in their little minds, isn’t it?

Have you had anything similar happen to your little one? Have you had to approach the subject od death with them yet? If so how did you go about it?

The day before school admissions reveal!

*Gulp* The day is almost here. Tomorrow Tuesday 18th April 2017 marks the day we find out C’s school placement. The school his name is down against and the school he will start in September.

Am I excited? Not really, no. C is our last child and him going off to school marks the end of a lot of things. He’s the last ‘baby’ to be at home with me all day – he’s my little buddy and companion and I hate the thought of him being somewhere for 6 hours a day. I like our time together. Whether it’s just having a day at home or enjoying a day out. Come September I will no longer have the ‘child at home’ (except evenings, weekends and holidays obviously) but you know what I mean.

I know everyone says this, but it really only does seem like 5 minutes ago he was born. These past 4.5 years have gone by so fast and I wish I could re-live them all again. I’m not ready for him to go off into the big wide world (ok, that’s a bit extreme I know).

Tomorrow morning, just after 9am I will receive an email, I doubt I’ll sleep much tonight. I, of course, want the email so I know that he’s got into the school we want him to go to and also the school he himself talks about going to.

I do, of course, want the email to come with good news. News that he’s got into the school we want him to go to and also the school he himself talks about going to. Wish us luck.

Who else is waiting on school placement news tomorrow?

Pre-School Milestone

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Today was the day C started pre-school. We visited a few times back last Summer and put his name down for him to start in January ….. I can’t tell you how fast that time has gone.

I’ve been feeling mixed emotions over the past few weeks as this date has been nearing. I had at one point thought about phoning and delaying him until Easter – I just wanted to keep hold of him that bit longer before I had to share him. But that was for my benefit, not for his, and I realised that a few weeks before Christmas. One day he announced “Mummy I want to go to my school” He described the place and what he remembered which I thought was pretty impressive seeing as we hadn’t been there since June! He was all set to take his pajamas off and get going. He broke his heart when I told him he had to wait until after Christmas because it was closed. It was then I decided he was definitely going to start today.

All over the Christmas holidays he’s chatted to me about it, he was telling me how I was to take him to school, come home again and then pick him up afterwards. He was so excited.

The last few days he’s been counting down how many sleeps he had to go, and this morning he come running in to my room shouting “Mummy i’m going to school today, i’m so excited!”

 

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He’s doing afternoons for the time being due to those being the only sessions they could offer. When the time come to go he raced out of the door and jumped into the car. Part of me did worry he would change his tune when he arrived, but I couldn’t have been more wrong. He went in with no problems what so ever, we were told we could stay for the session if we or he wanted, but I asked him and he was happy for us to go. I didn’t want to decide to stay and get him used to that, so off we went. We were told to come back half an hour early from the usual pick up to see how he was getting on, and if in the meantime there were any problems they would call us.

I kept my phone by my side all afternoon but it never rang. My little boy was doing just fine, and when it come to collecting him we found him happily chatting away to a teacher looking at the resident rabbit.

The whole process was so much easier than when L went to pre-school, she hated it and I had to stay for a few sessions and when the time come for me to leave here there she would cry and cling on to me. I’m hoping C continues to do as well as he has done today, it was far easier leaving a happy child in pre-school rather than a crying one.

I’m so proud of how my little boy has dealt with it all. He seems so grown up now he’s embarked this next stage in his life. I no longer have a baby or a toddler … I have a pre-schooler <3