How to tell children about something terrible without scarring them for life…..the Totes way.
No doubt the little darlings will need counselling for Post traumatic stress in later life.
So here’s the thing. My poor lovely dog walker sent me a message yesterday to say that everything was ok but “please call me”
Obviously I presumed that Trevor our Thug Pug was poorly and I was a bit worried.
I called her and the whole office sat and listened to me as I made ever more terrified wails on the phone as I spoke to her.
Poor Trevor had been on a walk with his doggy friends and was happily playing with them. Sophie heard a yelp and discovered to her horror that Trevor’s eye was hanging out. Now, this was horrific for her. She rushed him to the vets who I later spoke to and they said that she had saved his eye with her quick thinking. Poor Sophie was distraught and phoned me. I was distraught too and my whole office listened in to the conversation with sickening interest.
I’d like to point out that it was better for Trevor that he was with a professional when this happened as I’d probably have gone to pieces. I’m shit in a crisis. I once saw somebody get knocked over. I didn’t help them or offer assistance. I just stood with my mouth open because I’m a bit of a tit. Having said that, we once got burgled and I was first out of the house to tackle the burglar on the drive who tried to run us over so let’s just say that my response to things out of the ordinary is erratic at best and useless combined with aggressive at worst.
Trevor is fine. He was sedated at the vets and is now at home living it up as we let him sleep in our bed and feed him scrambled eggs for breakfast. Apparently it’s a Pug thing. They have a weak spot and if they are unlucky, a blow to that area can lead to their eye coming out of its socket. Nothing happened to him other than a dog knocked him at a funny angle.
Dangerous picked Trevor up from the vets and I picked my three little shits up from school. I had to tell them the news that Thug Pug was really not well. I considered my options.
I decided on a policy of gentle and reassuring honesty as I drove them to see Juju in Huddersfield for her birthday tea.
I remembered how upset I was when my dog got run over when I was little and vowed to soften the blow with my soothing and wise words.
There’s one thing that you can say about me and it’s that I’m honest. There’s no sugar coating things, even when I fucking try.
The other thing that you need to know is that our middle child is going through a phase of nightmares that all seem to involve the death of our beloved dog.
Obviously Oscar was the last kid to come out of school as is his way, especially when we are in a rush.
Mummy “oh for gods sake, just get in the bloody car. I need to TALK TO YOU! It’s very important something has happened!”
Children “is it Trevor? Is he ok?”
Mummy “Jesus, how did you work that out? Now please be quiet, he is quite ok!”
Children “aaaaaaahhhhh is he dead Mummy?”
Mummy “no, he’s fine, he’s at the vets. Now no crying because he is ok! Do you promise not to cry? PROMISE? Because he’s fine!”
Children “we promise Mummy! What has happened?”
Mummy “Well you see, Trevor’s eye fell out”
Children “AARRRRRRRGGGHHHHHHHHHHH NO NO NO”
As this conversation and subsequent screaming and vomiting took place we were sat in the parked car outside school. All the other mummies were walking past the car as my children basically became what can only be described as hysterical. Bella was screaming “I’m going to be sick Mummy!” As I tried to reassure her that he was ok.
I tried not to lose my shit but in the end I did as was always going to happen.
Three children sat screaming with tears running down their faces.
Mummy “STOP CRYING. LISTEN, YOU PROMISED NOT TO CRY AND YOU LIED! TREVOR IS OK. DADDY HAS GONE TO GET HIM. HIS EYE IS BACK IN. HE ISN’T DEAD OR BLIND”
Bella “I’m going to be sick Mummy”
Oscar “so where is his eye now? Can I see it? Did it bounce on the floor? He won’t be able to win a fight against a wolf now!”
Ted Waaaaaaahhhhhhh Mummy. I’m so sad”
Bella “shut up Oscar. That’s a stupid thing to say!”
Oscar “Mummy, Bella is horrible. I hate her”
Mummy -“look guys. He’s fine”
Bella “no he’s not. He will never be cute again!”
Mummy “yes he will and even if he had lost his eye. We’d still love him!”
Bella “But he would be ugly. Uuuurrrghhhh I think I’m going to be sick!”
Oscar “so did it bounce Mummy? The eye did it bounce?”
Mummy “no darling. It was still attached by blood vessels and sinews and stuff”
Bella “no I’m really going to be sick!”
Bella was of course sick in the car park. She had threatened so many times that she had to see it through.
They fought all the way on the two hour journey to see Juju and I had to feed them the Marks and Spencer’s chocolates that I’d bought Juju for her birthday to distract the little shits from actually kicking the living shit out of each other whilst I battled to keep the car in a straight line on the motorway.
So to recap
Keep it simple, be honest, and have sick bags ready.