It’s garbage night. All the boys are gone until a little later, so the girls and I went out as it was getting dark and got everything sorted and to the curb. It’s cold again (for northern CA, at any rate), and they had on fuzzy jackets and hats. They ran all over the front yard, looking at stars and jumping off the tree stump. I heard Sophie making wishes like, "Dear Star; I wish, I wish I could hold you in my own hand." And Willow was pointing at all the lights in the sky and telling me "star!" or "ayepane!"
I was f r e e z i n g and kept trying to get them to come inside without a battle, but they just wanted to stay out. "I pay gas!!" Willow yelled, which means I play on the grass. Finally, I told them that I would take a bath, with them, and they sprinted to the front door. We are out of bubble bath, so I let them pick from my bath salts. Sophie picked the sandalwood/jasmine/rose one, which has dried roses in it, and we filled up the tub with hot water and jumped in. Willow carefully picked all the rose bits out of the water and put them on the side of the tub. For a girl who likes to hold bugs and stomp in the mud, she is particular about the state of her bathwater. Sophie started to ask me AGAIN about dying and what happens and where we go. Once I made the awful mistake of trying to teach Lex about different beliefs around the life/afterlife thing, and I told him that some people believe in something called reincarnation. I explained it to him as well as I could and trying to move off the death subject, I asked him what sort of animal or plant he’d like to be. I don’t remember what he said, but I said that I think it would be really pretty cool to come back as a redwood tree. Wrong thing to tell your preschooler. Very, very wrong. He was freaked out for months that I was suddenly going to disappear and turn into a tree somewhere far, far away.
I was being deliberately vague with Sophie, I just said that when we die we go to a new world. I told her that when she was a tiny little bean, before she was born, she could not possibly imagine the world that she’d be born into. I told her that she had a tiny idea about who I was, but that she didn’t really know anything about me other than my voice. And the same goes with dying; (my own opinions here, DUH) we have an idea about part of what that next world will have in it, but we can’t really imagine it.
She looked at me and said, "I KNOW, Mom. When we die, we go to the dentist. And he just fixes us all up. Let’s not wash my hair this time, okay?"