Crayons and Comprehension

“While we try to teach our children all about life, our children teach us what life is all about.” – Unknown


Extended day program, local Magnet school. Children abound. Noise exceptional.  Parents struggling to find sign out sheet while others pick through bags and coats.

My youngest son is seated at a round table playing Connect Four with another child and a care provider.

As I approach, he jumps out of his seat, grabs a paper and starts to talk to me. Simultaneously a care provider begins to explain to me how my son hurt himself on the playground and was given an ice pack. As I try to comprehend what she is saying to me, my son is getting louder and louder demanding my attention.

I start to turn my attention towards him when his little friend, DeSean, grabs me from the other side demanding I look at his green plastic frog.

A tad bit overstimulated, I smile at DeSean and turn toward  my inpatient son.

"What, Stefan?" I ask.

"Mom, do I have a sister?" He asks with large brown inquisitive eyes.

"Um, yeah. Yes, you do" I respond with a vague awareness that there are several staff members and parents looking at us strangely. I suspect they are a bit intrigued why he has to ask if he has a sister.

"Oh, good, I thought so.  Seeeeeeeeeee, I drew a picture of you and sister. Can I give it to her?" he says as he shoves a crayon drawing in front of me.

Startled, I review the masterpiece.  I am amused at the bow on the head and then I get a little concerned at what looks like a black cloud above us.  Clearly I am reading far too much into this kindergarten artwork.  However, this is my youngest sons first unprompted expression of his lost sister. Like his older brother before him, he draws pictures of her and thinks of her during his school time hours.

"Oooh, I love the picture. Which one is Mom and which one is Sister?" I ask.

He informs me that the "girl" on the right is me and the other girl is his sister.

"Love it. Now get your coat, sweetie" I respond. For once I am  thankful for the short attention span of a six year old, I realize I have dodged the "can I give it to her" loaded question.

And so it finally begins.

My soon to be six year old is finally consciously aware that he has a sister that is not present in our home.

I wonder how his processing of this unusual fact  will be different from his older brother. He is a bit more vocal than his brother. He is also more emotional with more obvious ups and downs. I suspect he could be even more challenging for me in the absent sister explanation department than his older brother.


2 Thoughts.

  1. Kids are far more resilient than adults. You do a great job being honest with them, as you see they will do the processing part all on their own. No worries Suz.
    I LOVE the picture. Sweet sweet boy.

  2. They are resilient AND much more aware, deep and insightful than we give them credit for. I’m learning this BIG TIME during my granddaughter’s visit this week. (It’s killing me that I don’t have time to write about it, not until she goes home on Sat., although I am making notes so I won’t forget anything!) Honesty, even when it flusters or hurts, is always the best policy. Especially with the kids. It’s how they learn to trust (or not to). I believe Naomi is so open with me because I don’t BS her, I answer her questions.
    You are an excellent role model for this. And it shows in your boys.

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