I stood outside in shock.
I wasn’t sure if I was sad or upset. There was a lump in my throat and a knot in my stomach.
I found one of Little One’s bunnies lifeless and its littermate suffering from some kind of neurological issue. The way its head was tilted to one side and looking up to the sky, I knew something was wrong. That, and the fact that it showed no interest in food or water made it clear that this bunny was ill. Meningitis? Some kind of distemper? Who knows? Whatever it was, the bunny was definitely sick.
Do you ever lie to your kids?
I don’t understand. The bunnies have been happy and healthy for weeks! They have been active and eating well. We’ve been handling them and playing with them every day. How could they all of a sudden go from active to…*gasp* lifeless?
When I got all the animals settled for bed last night, all of them were happy, healthy and active. To find that little bunny dead made me burst out in tears.
Part of me wonders if I have it in me to be a farmer’s wife. I’m not good at dealing with death at all.
Is a little white lie still a lie?
Little One and Hubby were at the Fall Fair. Hubby was judging livestock and Little One went to help him, She wanted to be his assistant in judging the poultry, rabbits, sheep and goats. I stayed back at the farm to get mountains of laundry done, finish up some projects and get chores finished. It was the perfect opportunity to get “replacement bunnies”.
Part of me felt that I need to be up front and honest with my five year old and just tell her that her bunnies had died. Yes, both bunnies passed away today. I spoke to the lady I got the bunnies from and she said out of twenty bunnies (three litters this year), only two others were found dead like that.
Should I get replacement bunnies or just tell my five year old the truth?
Being on the farm, Little One has experienced the loss of ducks and chickens, as well as her first bunnies. She seems to be more at ease than I am when it comes to life and death.
Dreading telling her about her bunnies, I got Hubby to deliver the news. He asked her about the circle of life and she told him what she told me earlier this year. Then he took her outside to show her the deceased bunnies and her reaction surprised me. She let out a soft, “Awww!” and then went jumping on her trampoline.
The entire time, I dreaded her reaction because she loved those bunnies so much. She merely stated that this is part of life. People and animals live and then they die.
How did my little five year old get so wise?
Parents, do you ever lie to your kids?
** Edited to include: During a visit with neighbours and fellow farming family today, the husband told me to be up front with Little One. “She lives on a farm. When you have livestock, you will also have deadstock.” No truer words have ever been told. Still, this is something I struggle with. Ten years on the Island and on eight years on the farm, and I still can’t seem to adapt completely. Farm life is not easy.
Victoria Ess says
I think all parents lie to their kids at some point, about something or other. It is interesting though that we have such an uncomfortable time with it when it has to do with death and dying. Perhaps it stems from the fact that we are sometimes uncomfortable and in denial about it even as adults?
I tend to go with the truth, but do it in a matter that is sensitive to my kids feelings. Death is such a hard topic to breech though. My son cried for 45 minutes slid over his fish dying (my fault) :S
heidi c. says
Having grown up on a farm, my hubby has always been very upfront with our kids about the cycles of life and death so when one of the fish dies or my girls’ frogs ends up being knocked over and fodder for our cat, they have been good about dealing with the losses. Mommy – not so much! I always feel the protective surge. Sigh.
Judy Cowan says
Sorry to hear about Little One’s bunnies 🙁 Probably the right decision you made to tell her the truth but I think we can all admit to be guilty of telling a lie to our kids to protect them or their innocence.
Jodi Mitrovic says
What a touching and moving story. Your 5 years old is very wise and smart! I enjoyed your story very much.
Awww! What a very special girl. Good for you for taking the advice of someone to whom this is all old hat. That was a good choice.
A great reminder to all of us that our children are very resilient and the way to foster that best is with honesty and a nice dose of tempering truth with kindness. 😉
Peady, have I told you lately how much I love you??
I’m so sorry for LO’s bunnies! I’m glad she is ok with it all, but still very sad 🙁 I would have been very upset. We’ve talked to X-Man about death since he was 5 years old. We even took him for a walk through a local cemetery while we were explaining things to him. He seemed so wise beyond his years about it all. We’ve since had a few pets die and we have been very honest about what is happening to them, why they are sick and why they died. He handled it all very well. In my experience, it’s us adults who do a far worse job dealing with death and dying. Hugs to you and LO!
Sandy, I love what you just said and I agree with you. The odd thing is that we have gone down this road before when our chicken coop was attacked by a raccoon or a fox. We had 12 chickens and 6 ducks, and there was a blood bath in there. I was so worried about protecting Little One, but she was fine and seemed to understand that there is life and there is death. This said, when my grandmother died, Little One wept and still cries every now and then when she mentions my grandmother.
Wow. This parenting business is not for the faint of heart.
Like most parents, we have told little white lies about Santa, tooth fairy, other mythical type things but when it comes to real life situations like losing a loved one or a pet, you have to be honest. Our oldest two understand about life and death, it’s never something we want to have to break to our kids but we can’t lie when it comes to real life. You handled it well C! xo
Wow. No one tells you how hard being a parent can be 🙂 It’s certainly a learning experience.
P.S. We need to catch up! Miss ya!
Aneta Alaei says
I lie to mine all the time about Santa and tooth fairies. Death has not crossed our path so I don’t know how I will handle that although they watched me flush their dead fish and were not impressed. I am also extremely honest with them about other things such as childbirth and how babies are made. Each kid and family is different. It will get easier for you on the farm, I hope
So true, Aneta. I always thought honesty is the best policy and have been open with her about things like how babies are made. She’s been calling parts of the anatomy by their proper names since she was 2. I often wonder if I’m arming her with TOO MUCH truth sometimes? LOL!
I have lied to them and I think as a parent we sometimes do it to spare their feelings or to help them deal with something that just isn’t nice. I mean we tell them little white lies about a Christmas figure and a certain lady liking teeth right. No harm comes from those. I think the little white lies are inevitable. In your case, I think I would be honest. I have been with mine when fish have died or even when my grandfather died. It’s the circle of life.
So true, Jessica. I don’t know why I’m having such issues with this. Little One seems fine with accepting the truth. She seems okay with death and dying. It’s me who has the issues!