Monday, January 19, 2009

This mortal coil

We try to strike a matter of fact tone when discussing death (animal/meat or human) with the kids. After all, we reason, death is a normal part of life, and nothing that needs to be scarier or sadder than it already is.

Tonight Zion overheard Robert and I discussing someone who was somewhat recently deceased. "Daddy?", he said, "When are you going to die?"

This isn't the first time he's asked such a question and I answered like I always do (even though the question wasn't directed at me. Notice that? Never miss a chance to give your opinion!). "Not for a long while, sweetie", I said. "Most men in this country live into their 70's, and Daddy is only in his 30's. So he's probably got 40 years or so, and that's quite a long time, especially in terms of your life reference".

"When will Ajax die?", Zion asked.

"Pretty soon", Robert said. I looked at him funny- Ajax is 5 years old.

"Not that soon", I pointed out.

"Yeah, in about 10 years", R agreed. I guess we have a different perception of time. Mine's right, of course.

Zion stared at us thoughtfully. "After Ajax dies", he said, and I mentally flipped through the list of possible endings to this sentence- can we get a rabbit? a dog? another cat? But no..."can we keep him? As a decoration?"

Robert and I struggled not to laugh, which lasted about a millisecond before we burst out snorting.

"Um, what kind of decoration?", I asked. "Were you envisioning his whole body or just his head?"

"Just his head", Zion said.

"Well", said Robert, "If you really want to do that when Ajax dies maybe we'll talk to a taxidermist. That's a person who takes dead animals and turns them into..."

"Decorations", I said, helpfully.

"Yeah.", said Robert.

Zion seemed satisfied. And we moved on. When Robert and I relived the hilarity later on we discovered that while I had envisioned Ajax's head mounted like a trophy Robert had envisioned it stuffed and...just loose, like a ball. That Zion might toss to one of his friends, who would catch it not realizing what it was. Kid comes by it naturally, I guess.


Stacie said...

omg, using Ajax' head to throw around??? roflmao...and ew...

I love how your kids think!

the main stitch upholstery said...

i am so thrilled to consistantly hear of your childrens imaginations. it is so important and it seems to be nonexsistant in most kids i run into. i can say that you and my friend amber are raising your kids with personality and very active imaginations and i couldn't be happier (you get a parenting award from me by the way).

Rachel Main said...

either way seems a great way to remember a good friendly pet. i guess being able to play with a pet might be more fun than just looking at it on a wall...though often people attach some pride to that...
In any case, so much for your "matter of fact tone."
He can't help but being the most interesting thing in my day.