Thursday, March 27, 2008

Happy Birthday Grammy

My Father's room mate, who the kids call Grammy, had a birthday this week. We asked the kids to phone her and wish her happy birthday.

Marin: How old are you?
Grammy: I am 80.
Marin: What did you say?
Grammy: I am 80.
Marin: (jaw on floor and eyes like saucers) Wow. That's a big one. You are really old. Too old.

And Marin is going on and on about how old Grammy is so we took the phone from her and gave it to Emmy.

Emmy: Grammy, you old?
Grammy: No, I'm 80.
Emmy: You dying?
Grammy: What?
Emmy: You dead Grammy?

Now Colleen and I want to crawl into a hole.

There is some history here. Our kids are fascinated with death. No matter who we are talking about, they ask if the person is dead. Many times the answer is yes, and the kids want to know why. Our standard answer is "He was too old." because we don't want them to be afraid of being sick (sick people die in Ethiopia) and because their English comprehension does not permit a nuanced explanation of death.

So now, whenever Emmy hears that someone is old, she immediately wants to know if that person is dead or dying.

No comments: