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Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Hello, Dead Fish

There's a reason behind this post. But to get to it, you'll have to follow my slightly irritated ramblings. I'll apologize in advance. Sorry.

Whose job is it to teach children about death? When should this lesson happen? Do we wait until something bad happens, or do we prep them ahead of time?

At my house, we lost a pet. A beloved family pet. Unfortunately, Child 1 was the person who found that we had lost our beloved pet. This is what happens when you send a child downstairs so you can pee in peace. There's no buffer.

This rocked our house for quite a while. There were tears, and explanations, and pictures drawn and lots of talks. But we got over it, we bought a new pet and the tears rarely happen anymore. There are times it still crops up. But it's life and it happens.

Today, the class pet (a fish named Mr. Blue) passed away. It was explained to the kids, and they got to pick the color of their new fish. Child 1 cried, which we expected. But this attachment wasn't as strong as our household pet. It was a relatively short issue.

HOWEVER.....

The reason this post is happening right now has to do with what was said to ME.

Child 1's teacher explained to me what happened, so that I could talk to Child 1 about it should I have to. So we could make sure that Child 1 is emotionally ok with it. Death is a hard thing to handle. Especially at 5.

During this conversation, it was mentioned why the class has a pet. "We have a classroom pet so that we can teach children that pets die" says Child 1's teacher. UMMMM, EXCUSE ME???????

That, my friends, should be my job. I know I can't shield my child from everything bad. I'm not even sure I would want to try. But the person to teach my child that not everything lives forever should be me. Not school, not a friend, I'm not even sure I want Daddy to do it. It should be Mommy.

If they would have said "We use a classroom pet to teach responsibility, but when something happens to Mr. Fish, we use it as a way to learn about how to handle death", I may not have come home foaming at the mouth. Boy was I mad. I still am.

The end result is the same. Kids learn to feed the pet, kids learn the pet doesn't last forever, teacher explains death. I know that process won't change depending on what reason you have for having a pet. But to use that as a reason for a classroom pet actually made me mad.

Today, I lost my shit over a dead fish. Whatever will tomorrow bring?