This is exactly the discussion I had with my six year old (WHEN did she become six?? I know when she turned six, but that doesn't mean a child becomes this age. Anyhow,) at six am. We were working on helping her back to sleep, and I wasn't sleeping, so I figured it was best to blog about it.
Leah asked for her bed to be made. She's been sleeping in a small play hut that we got them for Christmas since, they got it in the beginning of January. Don't ask me why. She's been sleeping there and has mostly put herself to sleep at a reasonable hour. I am not asking any questions. I thought this was pretty special to want to be back in her own bed, so I asked what sheets she wanted, "polka dots, fairies, or flowers?" The response: "Well, polka dots are in nature. On leopards you know?" "Does this mean polka dots?" "Yes."
As Jesse made the bed I lay back down in our bed with her. I mentioned cheerily that the fairy sheets also had polka dots on them, (only because I had almost mixed them up, looking for a set.) "Mom. When you look and look for something for a long time and you do not see it. It is not real."
A short side track: Fairies to our girls are like Santa to most. I love for it to gradually fade or always remain. Some time between November and December, Leah decided that fairies did not exist because she had never seen one. I was crushed. Crushed mostly because she had an entire world built around fairies. She spent entire hikes telling her grandfathers stories about the fairies, for hours, for years. (I am so grateful they recorded some of those in their hike journals.) Leah and fairies were never to be separated, and she was an expert on them. She'd tell you that too! Having all this suddenly change came as a shock, and I missed that "little girl" belief and wonderment that disappeared in an instant. She is enamored with gnomes now. I'm not sure how long it will last, since she is trying to catch one, but she tells me stories about why they do not want her to see them, so there is still hope.
"I don't know..." I hadn't ever really talked with her about her decided disbelief. "What about God? I believe in..." I was cut off. She said with the *knowing* tone, "There is a time you see God." "When do you see God?" "When you die."
This, took me by surprise. I think every parent is when they know beyond a shadow of a doubt that their child suddenly knows about death and understands some small part of it and is thinking about it enough that it comes up in casual conversation. Casual conversation! But that's just how Leah is. She just knows and brings things up casually.
After six seconds of silence, I continued talking about something else. I can't even remember. But then I came back, "Who told you that?" "Mom, I learned it at church." I'm thinking: good, you're learning something at church (no CCD or Sunday school, just church.) not so good: I want you to see God in more times and places than just death. Mental note to remember to work on that.
Then we talked more about fairies. She talked about how some of our stuffed animals and toys could be real (cats and dogs) and some could not (Care-Bears and Legos) and how it was still fun to play with them all. (This was another piece I sorely missed, the complete shift in play. All the fairy dolls, the fairy house we built for her when she was three, the fairy wings, all neglected.) So maybe if fairies were not real, she could still play with them?
"Maybe fairies could still live in your imagination?"
"You know mom, people do dream their imagination."
And with that she crawled out of my bed, said, "I love you." and made her way to fairy dream land.