My daughter made a friend recently – a little green cricket.
He’d come inside and lived predominantly on the ceiling in the kitchen and she decided that she loved him instantly.
She’d check in on him daily and tell us if he’d moved to another part of the ceiling. For the most part he was content and happy to live with us.
It seemed to be a match made in heaven, we were all living quite harmoniously for a few days. She even decided to name him Steve.
But today I discovered that I have accidentally killed Steve by squashing him under a bottle of window cleaner.
Shit is an understatement.
My daughter is very sensitive when it comes to the death of small helpless creatures. She’s sensitive to all death – as most 8-year-olds are, but the untimely demise of small defenceless creatures puts her into a total tailspin.
It took her well over a month to stop talking about a worm that got severed at school by a rather rambunctious boy. That worm’s suffering upset her a lot. It was only once I explained to her (with evidence backed up from google) that once a worm has been cut in half the chances are very high that the head end of the worm will go on to live quite a happy life that she stopped asking about it.
Another time she slept in a ball at the end of her bed terrified about the spider living above her. The reason was because even though she’s scared of spiders, the idea of disturbing its home made her feel really bad. I ended up having to orchestrate a capture and release for the damn thing!!
I don’t know how to explain to her that I’ve accidentally murdered Steve. Matters of life and death are hard enough but how does a mother explain murdering her daughters beloved cricket??
Accident or not I can’t break her heart, so I’ve done the only logical thing possible in this situation – I’ve discarded of the body and lied.
I’ve decided on telling her that Steve has moved on to pastures new, he’s gone off to see the world. Oh just think of the fun he’ll be having off on his adventures!!
It’s a total cop out but it’s far easier than the alternative. I don’t want her haunted by the final image of a flat packed Steve.
I think she’ll buy it, she loves a happy ending. I will of course have to live with the knowledge that I’ve lied to her, but she’ll soon discover how often adults lie to her when she realises the truth about Father Christmas and the tooth fairy (I think she already suspects but is in denial.)
One day I’ll tell her the truth about Steve, but for now I’m ok with inventing a happier ending for that poor bloody cricket. My solace is that at least it was quick and I really don’t think he suffered….
RIP Steve the cricket. You’ll be missed.