I often forget that my kids don't quite have the same sense of humor as I do...not yet, anyway. They take almost everything I say literally...but that's only if they HAPPEN to be listening (every once in a blue moon).
Two nights ago, I was making turkey meatballs and spaghetti...one of the meals I make on a weekly basis since the kids practically lick their plates clean. I love to spend quality time with them in the kitchen, as they help me prepare dinner. That is, until someone slaps someone else upside the head for no reason...that's when quality time turns into excuse-me-while-I-stick-my-head-in-the-oven time.
Okay, so back to the meatballs...Bella was helping me roll the meatballs and placing them in the pan. Immediately after we got the pan in the oven, I said, "Please make sure you wash your hands since you were handling raw meat".
Did she hear me? Of course not.
10 minutes later, as I see her throwing a ball back and forth with Cole, I asked her, "Did you remember to wash your hands because I don't recall hearing the water running?"
She looks at me, guilt written all over her face, "No, I forgot". As I walk her into the bathroom to wash her hands, I mutter, "Great...it's no big deal if we all die from salmonella poisoning, right?"
She bursts into tears...I mean, sobs that cause her nose to drip snot all over the place. Having just had 3 of us suffering from nasty colds over the last few days, as if I need even MORE snot to clean up?
Then Cole rushes in..."What happened?" and before I could say anything, Bella starts babbling something that sounded like, "Mommy said....all gonna die...I don't wanna die...oh my God...we're all gonna die cuz I didn't wash my hands". More snot dripping down her face, mixed in with teardrops the size of dimes.
Next thing I know, Cole starts sobbing, "I don't wanna die either...why didn't you wash your hands?"
I kneel down to their level and take them each in my arms and say, "Guys, I didn't mean we were all LITERALLY gonna die right here, right now. I mean, we'll die eventually but that's only when we're old and gray."
Sob, sob...and more weak attempts of them both sniffling the snot back up into their noses, unsuccessfully of course..."But you said we were all gonna die"
Out of all the words that had left my mouth that day, that's the ONE thing they heard?! Goodness gracious. Whoever said parenting wasn't easy was NOT bullshitting, were they?
I tried to explain the whole salmonella issue...raw meat has bacteria in it, which if eaten could lead to a painful tummy ache, resulting in really bad hershey squirts and puking up chunks of intestine. Okay, maybe now was not the time to try to add a smidgeon of humor to the situation. I was just trying to make them smile but it only made them grab their tummies and dry heave.
I said, "This is a lesson in sarcastic humor, okay? I was trying to be funny about you not washing your hands so I made a joke about us all dying from salmonella poisoning. I get now that it wasn't funny".
Bella asked, "So we're all not gonna die because I didn't wash my hands?" I hugged her and said, "No, we'll all be fine...but just please remember in the future to wash your hands immediately after handling raw meat, next time you help me in the kitchen".
Just when I thought the conversation was over, they began asking me questions about death. "When are you gonna die?" and "How do you die?" and again, I explained that I wasn't going to die until I was old and my body was very tired.
Cole broke down into tears again, "I don't want you to die, Mommy. Who's gonna take care of us? I don't want to live alone in this house without you"...sob, sob, sniffle, sniffle...and even more snot than should ever be allowed to flow out of a human nose within a 10-minute period of time.
"Listen, I'm not going anywhere. You will never be left alone in this house to fend for yourself. Do you understand me? You will always be taken care of", I explained. They nodded their heads as if they fully understood me. I added, "Geez, you all cry more easily than a 12-year old girl who just got her period for the first time!"
"Huh? What's a period?" Bella asked. Oh, forget it...just forget it. Good God, why do I do this to myself? And why were they suddenly paying attention to every little word out of my mouth anyway?
A little while later, Tim came home from work. Bella said to him, "Guess what, Daddy? We're not gonna die until we're really old".
Tim responded, "Well, sometimes you're not old when you die. Sometimes people die when they're young too".
Cue the sniffling and tears...snot city, here we come...again...causing me to walk up to Tim as calmly and quietly as I could and say, "WTF is wrong with you??!!"
He answered, "As if YOU'RE the expert in the correct way to explain things to a child? WTF? I'm not the one who started this whole conversation in the first place!"
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