Of Bedtime, Death, and Elephants

Reading bedtime stories usually involves an average of 4-6 interruptions per page. Before bed tonight, Aryeh picked his animal encyclopedia. We were reading about elephants when I read “if an elephant’s trunk is damaged or broken, it will die.” I tried to continue but Aryeh wasn’t going to let this pass.

“And people can get dead if a robber comes,” he stated.

I explained that robbers take people’s things and money without permission, which is very bad, but they aren’t after making people dead. Simplified version of reality, but I figured age appropriate.

“Well then how do people get dead?” he wanted to know.

spring summer 12 615I should’ve had this one at the ready. Caught on the spot, I told him people get dead when they get very old or if they get sick with a very bad sickness.

He ignored the sickness thing thank G-d but wanted to understand the other option.

“Do grown ups get old even though they’re already grown up?” he wanted to know.

I told him yes, but not for a long, long time.

He looked apprehensive and then like he’d had an epiphany.

“Then all the kids will be grown up then?” he asked.

Yes I told him, when the grown ups get old, the kids will be grown ups.

“Oh,” he said, visibly appeased. “Well then they won’t need their Mommy and Daddy anymore.”

Hmmmmm….Not sure of a response, I just let that one go.

He sat there with that wise look on his face that he’s had since the nurses first spring summer 12 631handed him to me four long years ago.


I figured he might be wondering what dead actually means, seeing as his only contact with the concepts is through the bugs he sometimes stamps on.

“When people are dead they get to go and stay with Hashem,” I told him.

Silence. He looked thoughtful.

I figured I should let him clear his mind of the subject before he lay in bed letting his imagination run wild.

“Do you have any other questions?” I asked him.

“Yes,” he answered.

Uh oh.

He pointed to the book.

“What is that elephant doing with his trunk?”



2 responses to “Of Bedtime, Death, and Elephants

  1. You must let Nachi know that this child is brilliant. I do not think it’s possible for a 4 yr old to deduct the kind of logical sequence (or whatever u call it) that Aryeh just did. I cannot believe this one.

    • He’s precocious, not sure about the brilliance. The kid’s looked like he was thinking about something complicated since I first met him in the delivery room.

      On Wed, Mar 6, 2013 at 10:27 PM, Life, Love, and the Pursuit of Missing

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