Saturday, January 3, 2009

The Penny scenario

So, we left Kansas on Friday and had two days of driving ahead of us, broken up by a night in Iowa at a waterpark called Wausserbaun Resort or something like that. All the way there I was planning my strategy to tell Claire and Sammy that their dear little bird had died. I thought I'd tell them in the car a few hours away from the hotel so that the waterpark would cheer them up.

But I couldn't do it. I felt like I would have had to climb into the back seat to snuggle Claire if I was going to tell her on the road, and that just wouldn't have worked well. Also, Matt and I were in a big discussion about other things (more on that later) in the car, so it just didn't happen. So, here is a picture of them at the hotel all happy and excited before I lowered the boom. Everyone was in their suits and I still hadn't told them about their bird. I know this is not a big deal in the grand scheme of life, but at the moment I felt like I was taking a "before" picture of a family before Katrina hit or something. Like, this was Claire's last happy moment as a child or something.

But then, after she swam for about an hour and we had gone to dinner, we went back to the room to finish their popsicles and I did it: I told them. It pretty much happened as I thought it would. This happy picture of Claire, if you can't tell (because you're not her mom) is her laughing hysterically after about 30 minutes of crying on me. I just said: "hey guys, I want to tell you something. Penny got sick at Grandma's and we don't know what happened exactly but...she died." Claire's whole face went into a tight line and then she burst into tears and sobbed and wept for quite a while.

Sammy did a few weird things. First, he just stood in this corner with his popsicle saying in a very cheerful voice: "No she didn't." It was a little disturbing. I just said "well, yeah, she kinda did buddy" and then he would just say "no, she didn't." Then, I said "well, she's in heaven now and she's very happy but we miss her don't we?" And then Sammy said "Annabelle's dog is in heaven and dogs eat birds so he probably is eatting Penny." And then Claire sobbed a little more before I explained the whole "everyone-gets-along-in-heaven-and-dogs-don't-eat-other-animals-there" theory.
Then Matt told a funny joke about something off the topic and Claire started laughing while crying and rubbing her snotty nose all over my shirt.
And then Sammy did some more weird stuff like putting my keys in his mouth and running around the room saying "no she isn't."

So, after a few minutes we decided to put our suits back on and go back to the waterpark thing for a while to get everyone's mind off of it. I told Claire she could get another bird if she wanted some time and she said "I want another one like Penny right away!" And I said: "well, maybe we could do that...or maybe we could get a puppy!" Claire's eyes lit up and Matt gave me a frowny-face that said: "don't use this tragedy to try to talk me into a pet I don't want."
Ehh...all's fair when you're daughter's bird dies I think. I just don't want another bird if they die so easily! I don't want to have to come to a waterpark to ease their pain twice a year! I don't know.

And then Claire read a book to herself when we got back to the hotel. That's how she escapes sadness in life, I can tell. She is sooooooo my big sister in that way.
Sammy, on the other hand, is convinced that Penny went to heaven by just escaping her cage and he told me that he doesn't want any more birds that fly away. And Claire wants to know where the body is. Ugh. A mother's work is never done.

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