A few days ago, I watched Sam watch the progression of a really fat ant crawling around by our car. He watched for a long time then stomped down really hard on it, looked at me, and said “Oops. I died that ant, Mom. Sorry. It was an accident.”
It was an accident. Sam says that a lot. Probably because I have yet to properly translate the difference between premeditated ant murder and stepping on an ant he didn’t see. That’s some complex shit to put into mommy-speak.
After attempting (and failing, I think) to explain the difference between accident and purpose, I decided that now would be a good time to discuss death. I think I’ve made it clear in previous entries that I am not into the whole boys will be boys stuff, nor am I into the whole girls are created for sexual enjoyment. But I also am aware that my desire to be gender neutral (oh my gosh, I’m such a douchebag sometimes) can err on the side of compulsive. And in retrospect, I wish I hadn’t gotten all “Oh my GOD! Why is my son being so violent to God’s creatures? Where is he learning such violence? This aggression will not stand, man!” and been all “Let’s go in and have a snack, dude.” instead.
But, since I like to live in a state of over explanation and compulsion, we sat down next to the dead ant and watched it. (Don’t worry. I’m going to put $20 in Sam’s future therapy fund right now.) We waited for it to move. He asked what his friends were doing (the other ants kept coming up to the the dead one and poking around it) and we just sort of observed the ant’s complete deadness.
After some time, he asked when the ant was going to get up. And I tried to explain that he wasn’t, tried to articulate what dead means. And if you think accident/purpose is complicated in mommy-speak, try fucking dead. I explained that the ant doesn’t do anything anymore. He doesn’t breathe or walk around or talk to his friends. He’s all gone. And Sam seemed horrified by that. And then I was like, why am I such a douchebag?
So I quickly segued into “In the future, let’s remember that when we come outside, we are in the ants’ house. They don’t come in our home and bother us (lie), and they don’t even bother us when we come out into their home (lie), so let’s be careful to leave them alone and not TRY to kill them. They’re so small, sometimes it might happen on accident, but…” Etc.
And Sam was all “What about red ants? They bother us outside, right mom? Is it ok to die them?”
And I was all, “GOD! Stop being so smart. Come inside and have a snack. I’m sorry we ever got into this at all.”
So today, like four days after the apalling ant summit, I came out of the bedroom after lying Henry down for a nap to find Sam lying on the couch, tearful. He said “I’m so so sorry I died that ant, Mom. I’m so so sorry. His friends are putting him back together now, right?”
Oh my Sam. My heart hurts with love for you sometimes, kid.
So, the dead ant summit continues, and all I can say is, I am ill-equipped.