September 26, 2003 - Friday
"Jeremy's putting that stick in his mouth," comes from the back seat. I have slightly mixed emotions about it. Naturally, I'm pleased that Harry has informed me of something that Jeremy shouldn't be doing. That way I can try to teach him that random objects, especially those that have been on the floor of the car, shouldn't go in his mouth. However, I don't really want to overly praise Harry for being a snitch. So, I explain.
This is a delicate matter, talking to a young child about the dangers of life, so I hesitate just for a minute to make sure I really want to go down that road. 'Sure,' I think to myself, 'this is important and I think Harry will understand. Heck, maybe Jeremy will even realize that we're talking about him.'
So, I say something like this:
"Harry, thank you for telling me that Jeremy had that stick in his mouth. Jeremy's too young to understand, but it can be very dangerous to put some things in your mouth. Some things can make you sick, sometimes very sick, and some things that you put in your mounth can kill you." I tried to say "kill" with emphasis to suggest that it was important, but matter-of-factly as to not scare him to much. It got his attention.
"Kill. Why would it kill you?" said Harry trying to keep the discussion going as best he could.
"Some things, like gasoline for the car, for example; if you put gasoline in your mouth it can make you feel very bad and if you put too much of it in your mouth it might kill you. You would be dead."
"Yes, that's right."
"Then you wouldn't have any boys," says Harry animatedly.
"Yes, Harry, that's right. That's why I'm glad you told me about Jeremy putting something in his mouth. That stick probably isn't so bad, but Jeremy does need to learn that he can't put things in his mouth like that." Actually, Jeremy's mostly past that stage of life, but he still regresses at idle times. "We don't want anything bad to happen to you."
"Mommy would have to grown new boys," he said with a hint of melancholy. It's a surprise to hear that much understanding from him about it, but then Harry's at preschool and a fair number of mothers he sees are "growing" babies.
"We don't want any new boys. We only want you," I say with a chuckle, reaching back to touch and shake Harry's leg a bit. "You, and Jeremy, you are the only boys we want."
Harry laughed a nervous laugh, too.
I think that worked out pretty well.