Big emotions for a baby boy
Our sweet wee boy, our littlest love, our sun, our moon and all of our stars is having a rough time dealing with such big feelings lately. Beautiful baby Noah has just recently started to worry hard about death. Like, super worry.
We’ve had many a conversation about him not wanting to grow up, he sure as hell never wants to be an adult and has demanded he be a big boy for the rest of this life. At the sweet little age of 3, he’s cried many tears anxious about Mama and Pa getting too old and dying, he refuses to call his daddy a grown up and tells Elliott to be careful at school because he will miss him if he dies. He’s sobbed about the day Polly, our pup, might pass away and how he won’t be able to throw her a ball anymore. He’s been inconsolable when telling us about a little boy at school who pushes him around, bellowing ‘I will not close my eyes when he hurts me, I will not die, I will keep my eyes open’ Dear Lord, it’s devastating.
Such enormous emotions for such a little body. He’s way more aware than E ever was and can articulate his fears a little too vividly for his poor mumma and her already all-consuming world-sized worries.
The uncontrollable tears only come about every now and then, but the conversations and statements pop up almost daily. We support, console and reassure as best we can without promising everlasting life, but goodness it’s heartbreaking seeing him worry about such big people problems.
He’s always had a monstrous heart, quick to protect and fast to forgive. He’s gentle but adventurous and kind but crazy. We adore him so much, so have been proactively chatting with fellow mamas and his educators to help our darling one accept these feelings while still nurturing his dear heart.
Sheesh, just when you think you’ve got a slight handle on this parenting gig, the universe throws another lesson we need to learn
*Edited to add how we managed this little lesson.
Literature has been a godsend and thankfully he loves books. Some of the wonderful titles that we used are linked below. We also focused on our language and giving him some age appropriate explanations. We tried really hard not to gloss over his feelings, as obviously they were valid. We acknowledged his little worries, purposely spent that time with him answering his questions as best we could and then reminded him that dying was nothing to be scared of. For us, talking about those who are in heaven never being far away, never really being gone was a winner with Noah. He seemed to cling to the notion that we can still talk to those who pass away in our prayers. We read and reread these books below and used them to spark conversations about dying. He did make some super heartbreaking comments like 'I don't want you to die'. Gah! Right in the feels. Mitch and I spoke at length about how we wanted to deal with it, as obviously death is inevitable and often unpredictable. We decided that we would be open, honest but positive. We said things like 'everyone does die at sometime, but today and tomorrow, we are all here together and we need to spend our time being happy that we have each other and not worry about something that hasn't happened yet'. Naturally, sometimes our conversations took the logical path, 'How do you die?', to which we used it as a tool to reinforce healthy and safe lifestyle and eating choices - always looking when crossing the road, using a seatbelt, never wandering off, eating well, exercising etc. These conversations were pretty black and white, which thankfully worked as a distraction and the tears would stop. Over time, thankfully, he just outgrew the fear and his faith, logic and comfort navigated these conversations going forward. Every now and then, he still shows a little worry when the topic arises, but the debilitating devastation has passed. Hopefully what worked for us, may work for you