Saturday, 4 September 2010

Poor Youngest

There is always a programme about 9/11 this time of year. The sheer sound of the programme has me sweating and panicky.
Was watching one this evening, not wanting to at all, but drawn inevitably to the bloody awfulness of it, and the dreadful knowledge of what is about to happen.
Youngest came into the room. I kept it on, thinking that he would not get it. That he would wander out again. He did neither. At that point in the programme it was all dust and people running about. Nothing to worry his little mind. Or so I thought. After a few minutes, five at the most, I turned the telly off and announced that it was bath time.
Youngest looked downcast.
'What's up?' I asked him.
'Mummy, why did you have to watch that thing?' he asked, tears starting in his eyes.
'What thing?' I was a little puzzled as to which programme, as it hadn't been long since we had turned X-Factor firmly Off.
'THAT thing,' he replied, looking hard at the telly. 'With those people. Now you have made my feelings bad.'
Oh, the poor mite.
'Come over here for a cuddle,' I cajoled, and budged up for him to cuddle up close.
'What bad feeling?'
'I don't know,' he answered.
We went through a few Bad Feelings, and came up trumps with Scared.
Oh, God.
The very last thing I want to create in my darling children is anxiety and fear.
But that bloody programme did the job and instilled that insipid and fearful thing. That Mummy can't make the bad people go away. That awful things happen and we can't stop them.
And he's only six.
What an idiot I was to think that he wouldn't Get It. Of COURSE he will. He gets just about everything else.
Will be ultra diligent now, and watch stuff that he will be utterly safe with. It's a long time being a grown up. And such a short time to be a child.
God love him.


Trash said...

Oh poor wee man. Six is so little. i agree with you, there is no point exposing them to the horrors of the world unnecessarily.

Kathy G said...

You're a good mom for realizing what was happening. You're right; six is too young to be exposed to things like that.

Diane said...

Bless his heart. When 9/11 happened, my girl was just 2. I remember sitting on the sofa, with her on my lap, turned away from the television. I was watching the whole mess unfold, the television silent, while reading Winnie the Pooh to her. And I remember thinking 2 things... 1) what a weird juxtaposition - the towers burning and people dying, and Winnie the Pooh, and 2) how glad I was that she was too small to even ask about it, as there was NO WAY in HELL I could explain any of it.

Jeff D'Antonio said...

Laura was 2 when it happened. We watched the news reports that day and didn't think twice about her being in the room with us while it was on. Then one day about a week later, she was building a tower out of blocks. When her tower fell over, she said "My tower fell just like the one on TV"

They notice everything, even when we think they're not paying attention. That's what we learned that day.

Tatersmama said...

Poor little guy! He wouldn't have a clue as to what it was all about, but stuff like that would be so, so scary to someone only 6 years old. :(
It makes me sad to see some of the kids I deal with, so frightened and jaded by what they've experienced so far in their young lives, so good for you for protecting him while you have the chnace!

Suburbia said...

I watched it because I was with someone who wanted to watch it. I hated every moment of it. It made me feel I'll. Your poor boy, I hope he is ok this morning?

Ladybird World Mother said...

Trash - I know... such a tiny little person still.
Kathy - thank you... such a lesson to learn... will be so careful now.
Diane - that was such a comment, Diane... and how poignant is that... Winnie the Pooh, and hell unfolding. So so awful. Beautifully written... a post maybe?
Jeff - Wow. Am always amazed about how much they take in and on... how OBVIOUS that Laura would do something like that to get it out of her system, and how SLOW we are on the uptake... well, me, not you, Jeff. It strikes me how quick you are. Over and over.
Tatersmama - once again I wish I could meet you, Tatersmama! You seem such a wonderful person with more love in your heart than an entire nation. xx
Suburbia- so agree with you, its AWFUL to watch. Youngest fine this morning although knowing him he will be thinking about it. Had a long story with him last night and lots of chat. He went to sleep peaceful. Thank god!x

June said...

When I was small there were lots of television programs about World War II, it having only recently ended. I harbored a silent but chilling fear that the Russians would come and take us over. And the world would lose its color and everything would be black and white only.
(In those days, there were no color televisions.)

martine said...

I remember my children (oldest age about 7, twins 5), on hearing about an attempted break in at their great-grandparents house they built a 'burglar scarer' out of a stool, basically sticking a scary face and limbs on to it, and it stood at the top of the stairs for some months. It was their way of dealing with something frightening. While I agree it is important to protect children from the big scary stuff in the world it is also important not to underestimate their ability to find ways of dealing with things. A thought provoking post. thanks for sharing

Strawberry Jam Anne said...

It is a good thing that he told you immediately how he felt about it and didn't just worry about it for days on end. My grand-daughter is 6 too and so aware of just about everything going on around her. You did right to turn it off and offer him a cuddle when you realised his sadness. The main problem of it all is that they may be aware of bad things but are just too young to understand it. But then, why would they, we don't understand a lot if it either!

grumpyoldwoman said...

I watched it too and was struck by the total disbelief of everyone and also the fact that not one swear word was uttered! Children see worse in films and war games - it was the fact that it was REAL that made it so scarey for him. We all felt like he did but at least he had has wonderful Mum to make him feel safe. Happy birthday LWM - I am 4 years ahead of you - race you!

Elaine said...

my Youngest, also 6, came across me reading Corrie ten Boom's autobiography, 'The Hiding Place', which descibes how her family was part of the network rescuing Jews from occupied Holland. It has a question-provoking cover, and after a series of answers beginning with, "It is about a very brave Dutch woman in the Second World War," I ended up being asked the question, "Did the Nazis even kill Jews who were babies?" It IS hard managing the line between protection and knowledge of the world around us in a way that is appropriate for each age and each child. Even more so because, as as Strawberry Jam Ann said above, it is hard to explain what we can't understand ourselves. At least at this age, we know that the only answer that is never wrong is a cuddle.

Leilani Lee said...

So sorry about your little guy. I can remember at 6 years old going to school and being trained to be scared that 1) the building was going to fall in on us because of an earthquake and/or (2) the communists were going to drop a bomb on us. And at night when I could hear the jets taking off at LAX I'd think that was the Russians coming to drop a bomb. I guess every generation has their "cultural terrors"

Pam said...

I think it's odd that it's on the telly there already but not here in the USA - no mention of it yet, at least on my TV in Ohio. Probably is on in New York though huh.

Kids always amaze me in how much they take in and I find it such a fine balance between sheltering too much & too little but you got it right on here - you're a fabulous mum.

palomino said...

I had a similar experience on the 7th July with the London bombings. Somewhere there is some footage of me at Russell Square,running down the road with an armful of saline bags. No one could have known that it would have ended up on the six o clock news, or that two of my boys would have been watching it. When it was all over, and I finally made it home the next day, they asked similar questions. And what could I say ? That we saved everyone and no one died ? That all the bad people got caught? I have to say , in the end I lied mainly, because the truth for a seven and nine year old was much too much.

Lane said...

You're so right. Six is too young, bless him. I watched the programme with my younger daughter who's now 12 and it was excruciating to watch but she understood it - as far as you can 'understand' such a thing.

Yep, you're a long time grown up, that's for sure.

elizabethm said...

I admired the way you identified which Bad Feeling. That must have helped. So hard to protect them and I agree, so necessary, you are such a short time a child.

Potty days! said...

I am 'sat'between Lane and Elizabeth's comments. My 9 year old son watched about 10 mins of a 9/11 programme. He saw the planes crashing into the towers, the resulting fire. He understood the pain that people would be suffering, he understood the after effects that families had lost Mums, Dads, Brothers, Sisters etc, however one thing he could not grasp was why people would want to do it in the first place. We have today looked at pictures from a special book printed by the New York Times to raise funds for the 9/11 victims and he was asking a lot of questions about 'that day' as though he was trying to understand what happened that day. One picture in the book is of a man falling from the building, it is a photo that even now,nine years later, brings tears to my eyes,and on noticing this my son said 'I don't think you should look at the book anymore Mum'..and so it was packed away for another twelve months until the 11th September 2011, when he will be a year older and a year wiser, however the photo will still bring a tear to my eye. That is the day that I will never forget.

Ladybird World Mother said...

Wise, lovely comments. Thank you, all. Pottydays... read yours and realised that our children really do need to know... its just such a loss of innocence, isn't it.. your 9 year old sounds a darling. I too have such sadness still, and always will, watching those poor desperate people jumping. But, like you, I make sure that I watch something each year.. to remember and to pray. xx