The kids have been having a hard time going to bed at night because of daylight savings time. I have had a hard time with their unwillingness to go to bed because of daylight savings time and because it is the final week of the play (Trent is gone from early morning until almost the wee hours of the next morning) and I am exhausted. With them in their beds and me with butt on couch watching mindless TV I can relax a little bit.
Last night my relaxation time was interrupted by Spencer coming downstairs with favorite kitty on the verge of tears.
Spencer: Mom? Can I talk to you about something?
Mom: You know you can talk to me about anything.
Spencer: You know how it is against the law to take anything with you if there is a fire in your house? What about if you are already holding something?
Mom: Are you thinking about favorite kitty?
Spencer: (tears welling big time now -nods his head)
Mom: It is not "against the law" to take something with you if there is a fire, it is just not a good idea to worry about things that are not as important as you getting out of the house safely. As hard as it may be to understand, we can always get a new favorite kitty if we have to, but we can never get a new Spencer. The most important thing to remember if there is a fire is that YOU have to get out and don't worry about finding or leaving your things.
Spencer: But if favorite kitty is in my bed I can grab her?
Mom: If you can see her, grab her fast and get out!
The conversation brought me way back to when I was about his age. I remember after the fire fighters would come to our school for fire safety week and talk about how to stay safe in a fire situation, I would freak out just like he did. I actually remember one night when I put all my stuffed animals and dolls in my bed with me so that I could get them all out if there was a fire. I told him about that and that I felt the same way as he did when I was young. He wondered if my house ever caught fire. He seemed relieved when I told him that it didn't. I also told him that fires are actually pretty rare as long as we take care to be safe around our house. He was relieved after our talk and that night when I tucked him in, he was fast asleep with a bed full of stuffed animals. The boy listens to his Mama.
It all seems like such a huge amount of stress and worry for a kid that age. When I was little, I didn't realize it, but now I do seeing it in my own child. I guess knowing how to save your life is pretty heavy stuff. It just makes me sad to see him getting older and starting to carry the burdens of life on his shoulders.
Last Friday night the two of us were watching "Unwrapped" on the Food Network. It is a show about how they make and package everyday kinds of food. Spencer likes the shows about candy the best, but since he is little scientist - anything about how something is made holds his interest. One of the commercials during the show was what I like to call a "guiltfomercial" - an infomercial type ad that makes you want to weep as you watch it. This one was for the ASPCA and showed cute little dogs and cats that had been abused and were going to have to die if they didn't get our help - for pennies a day...save an animals life. While showing these cute little guys they were playing Sarah McLachlan's "Arms of an Angel" song in the background. It really gets you. It punches you in the gut and makes you feel so bad for these poor animals. While I watched I kept glancing over at Spencer and hoping that he wasn't watching, but his eyes were glued to the TV.
When the show ended, Spencer was very quiet and seemed very upset. When I asked him what was wrong, he said that he didn't want to tell me. I asked him if he was feeling sad for the kitties that were on the commercial. He started to tear up and asked me how old Hailey had to be before we could get a cat. He said that the commercial made him really want a cat even more and that the song - "the song really made me feel sad" (as his voiced cracked while saying it). Darn you Sarah! My kid is WAY too sensitive for that kind of sensory overload and with kitties no less! Are you heartless???
Fires and animals that are doomed. The kid has had a rough few days. I hate that he is old enough to know and understand that the world is not always the wonderful place that as a small child you are led to believe. I am glad that he is sensitive to things that go beyond his own little world (even if at this point it seems like only things that have to do with kitties and their plight). I hope that he will always care about other people and be able to empathize with their situations. He is sensitive and I think will be a better person because of it.