Monday, April 25, 2011


"Mommy," Chickie said today, "did you know that when you die, you don't have eyeballs?"

"Well," I replied, "When you die, your eyeballs decay, just like the rest of you."

"What happens to your body when it decays?"

This led to a conversation about how dead bodies break down into other things, and sometimes get eaten by bugs or by other animals. And then it led to a discussion of why humans are considered animals and how we're similar to, and different from, other animals. ("We're animals that wear shoes!" Zoodle contributed.)

It also led to me thinking, Do most parents of five-year-olds have these conversations?

Chickie has such a fascination with biology and anatomy. She likes talking about circulation and digestion. She is interested in how babies are made and born. She thinks it's so interesting that humans and other animals feed their babies milk.

I'm trying not to put labels on her that she'll have trouble breaking away from, but just between me and you, I wouldn't be at all surprised if she's a doctor or scientist in 20 years or so.

And as difficult as it can be to respond to incessant questions, many of which I don't have the answers challenging as it can be to find age-appropriate yet honest ways to answer sensitive questions about the human body...I just love seeing this side of her. Kids show their unique temperaments and interests so early. I'm so excited to see how this will develop as she grows older!

But in the meantime, I'm going to try not to think too hard about decaying eyeballs.


Mellodee said...

Oh my! Kids absolutely amaze me! I think I can truthfully say that I have never in my entire life thought about decaying eyeballs! But I think that I will now! Thanks a lot Chickie! LOL! :)

Eternal Lizdom said...

Love that side of her blossoming and glad she has a Mom who will nurture it. Teagan has no interest in those sorts of things- much to science loving Daddy's chagrin.

Kendra said...

you know i don't usually comment, but i had to say that sunny is also an incessant questioner. his questions center around animals, though... hooray for the future scientists in our lives! :)

Melinda said...

It is amazing how much the mind changes from when we are kids to when we are adults. Sometimes it is really hard to open our minds as wide as a child's when they blast us with a question we don't know how to answer. I don't look forward to all the questions with Ian.

One I am ready for though is death. I read this really wonderful post by a mom that lost two children and had to explain to her living children why their baby bother wasn't coming home. The story she wrote is just perfect and I've made sure to remember it for that one day I will need to tell it to Ian.

Call Me Cate said...

I remember hearing "I don't know" and "because I said so" a lot as a child when I asked questions. I think it's great that you give her answers at a level that works for her and feeds her curiosity.

Zoodle sounds like the observer to Chickie's explorer. She has questions, he points out shoes. You're in for years of amusing conversations!

TiffanyAnn said...

Oh boy! least I have a little longer before these kinds of questions begin.

Z said...

Hahahaha...funny for two reasons! First of all, I had these morbid kind of questions and now I'm studying premed and second, I had an eye appointment this morning and my optometrist told me my eyeballs are inflamed! :P

SurvivorBlessing said...

Yeah, I wouldn't be ready for any questions like this, yet.... and thank goodness, Coqui is still more into machines and stuff than biology! Can't imagine what I would say....

forever folding laundry said...

And doesn't it seem like
these conversations happen
when you're most unprepared for them?

That's how they seem to happen
around here! :)


Vixbil said...

Had a similar conversation just the other day, it lead onto cremation and everything!!

carla said...

My mother died 2 weeks ago at the age of 96, and my 8 yr. old grandson had lots of questions about death and funerals and burial, etc. At first, I was a little reluctant to talk with him, afraid that I'd give him more information than he wanted and I certainly didn't want to traumatize him, but as we talked I realized that he was handling it all very well. I tried not to elaborate and go further than his questions but he was a lot more accepting than I anticipated. The 6 yr. old was a little more cautious.