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Thread: Not sure what to tell her

  1. #1

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    Default Not sure what to tell her

    First some background....



    The other night I found what i thought was a baby magpie on our drive way. I saw it there when i left home to do some shopping and thought nothing much except the fact i thought it was a bit late to see one. When i came home about half an hour later it was still standing in the same spot so i knew something was wrong with it. So i phoned the emergency animal rescue shelter and the asked to bring it in. So DH caught it and put it in a box and then we left to take it to the shelter. When we got there and the nurse took it out of the box the poor thing looked really bad. We didnt really see what was wrong at home because it wa so dark and all. But anyway, it wasn't a baby like we had thought (because it wouldnt fly) but the poor thing had what the nrse thought were tumors all over its face and its feathers were all rotten loooking. She said she didnt know if it'd make it or not. But i've left my number and address etc so i may get a call about it.

    Anyway to the point. Lily keeps asking 'where the bird is' 'is the bird ok' 'when is the bird coming home' 'is bird sick and at doc (doctors) etc etc you get the picture.

    I have no idea what to say to her. i just keep saying yes the bird is sick and at the doctor and then she'll leave it for a couple of hours and then ask again. She has been asking since we took it which was 2 days ago.

    I don't want to tell her it will probably die etc but i dont know what else to say so that she'll forget about it? she seems really concerned and maybe even a bit traumatised about it.

  2. #2

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    Awwww what a gorgeous tenderhearted girl you have hun. I agree with Jodie and I think telling her that its with the other birds is really nice - plus even if it does die, it will be flying around up there anyway won't it Good luck - must be a tough one for you.

  3. #3
    rhyb Guest

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    sorry 2 be controversial but i think telling her in a gentle way is a better alternative. my mother is a vet nurse and she never hid the fact that, in the wild animals don't always live long lives. it has not hurt any of her kids knowing this and i feel is beneficial to all involved, you don't have to lie and your daughter is taught about this by you rather than others that may not know how to talk about it with her in a calm and considerate fashion.

  4. #4

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    Nah, fib your butt off!

    You can tell her the bird had some medicine and a big rest and the vet let her fly off to join her mates in the sky and what a wonderful thing you did rescueing it.

    There's plenty of time to learn these lessons. JMHO

  5. #5
    smiles4u Guest

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    Yeh, I agree with JODIE, ... that's a fitting story of hers.

    Sounds like it would be believable to a child that age !!

    Good-Luck

  6. #6

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    Aww Antheia, that's such a toughie! What a sweet girl it sounds like you have!

    I'd also err on the side of truth...but oh yeah it'd be easier to just say 'yep had a cuppa tea with the magpie yesterday, he's fine, dyed his feathers pink, and he says to say hi'. I'd much rather do that!

    Like I said though...I wonder if you teach children gently about bad stuff from a young age, it won't come as so much of a shock later in life. Like, if a loved one gets sick (heaven forbid!!), you can relate it back to the magpie - 'remember that magpie that got all sick, and the dr's couldn't fix it?' That kind of thing.

    I guess it's hard to tell her one way or another, if you're unsure what happened to it. Are you pretty sure it's dead? Maybe even if you feel dumb about it, call the shelter and see what happened? I know I'd be so relieved to be able to say it was fine...the optimist in me would be holding out hope.

    Hugs anyway, it's a toughie, but I reckon there are some great lessons to be learned if you do have to break bad news to her - she can learn how nature works, how to deal with grief (you might draw a picture or just chat about it), and most importantly - she can learn that mum is always there to love and help her when bad stuff happens.
    All the best, whatever you decide.

  7. #7

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    Hmmm.

    RIGHT NOW, not saying my stance won't change, I wouldn't make up a lie. I'd say the bird was very poorly and may not get better. But death comes to everyone and it is better to die than to live in pain, as the bird would be doing. Then again, we see funeral processions some days so I already talk to DS about death - not sure if anything goes in, but as a "big thing" in life it's best to start as early as possible.

    I knew about death from before I can remember remembering IYKWIM and it has never scared me. I may just be weird (don't need agreement posts thanks girls!) but it's what I intend to do with DS. DH never had to face death until he was a teenager and still can't cope with it.

    And if you lie to someone, does it mean that they can now lie to you to spare your feelings? So if your daughter decides that knowing they went to the pub last night, didn't stay round Shelia's house as she said, but said that to spare your feelings, is that OK? I dunno, I just don't like lying even to spare heartache because what will happen when she sees a dead magpie? Maybe that's the one you "saved"? And the magpie is dead anyway.

  8. #8

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    Thanks for the advice and suggestions. i think i will tell her the bird was set free and is ok because she loves birds and i would hate to think how she'd feel if i told her one was dead. She is very sensitive when it comes to animals or people when they are sick or hurt. So yeah i don't think i should traumatise her anymore than she already is (which is quite a bit).

    So thankyou again.

  9. #9
    paradise lost Guest

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    When i was 4 our bunny died. My parents told me it had gone to live in the wild. When i was 5 my grandad died, and they couldn't tell me anything similar and i was hysterical for 3 days (i am told, i don't remember) not over my grandad but over the bunny who i was convinced up until then was living free. When i was 7 my brother's dog which was chewing their house up (he is 19 years older than me) went to live with my SIL's parents where they had a big garden to keep it entertained and i wouldn't believe it and just insisted it was dead and i can remember quite clearly feeling incredibly mistrustful and afraid and screaming "But you're a LIAR!" at my mum when she was trying to calm me down.

    At 3 your DD probably won't remember all this when she is next faced with death, but i thought i'd mention it JIC.

    Bx

  10. #10
    DoubleK Guest

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    i would go with the story about the bird flying away!

    i dont think i could look at a little face and say it had died!

  11. #11

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    Maybe tell her that sometimes birds at the doctors get better and fly home ... and sometimes they don't and fly to god/heaven/the stars/the ether/are reborn etc. You actually don't know if the magpie is dead or not, so tell her you don't know, but these are the possible alternatives? And then you can both say a prayer/send white thoughts/place a wish on a star/wish good luck to the magpie to make the choice that keeps him/her happy?

  12. #12

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    what a sweetie!
    but honestly, i really think you should tell her very gently.... i wouldnt set her up with false thoughts about the world, only to have her innocent illusion shattered a little later in life.
    Maybe something like "the poor little thing was too sick to stay in this world, so it flew away as an angel bird". Reitterate that the poor thing shouldnt have stayed alive to suffer, now its happy and free.....

  13. #13

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    Honestly i think the only way to tell her the truth is to say it's dead (yes it died unfortunatly). If i said it flew to heaven or became an angel bird etc etc she would still think it was alive. Because she knows what death is already unfortunatly (my mum died when she was 18mths). But i dont really want to say it so bluntly. But i don't feel right in lieing either. She hasn't asked again yet but im sure she will. It's just so hard.

  14. #14

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    i think thats a good idea teagan ... i dont think i could lie either ... i am so bad at it .

  15. #15

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    I truly do think you should tell her the truth. My DD is 4, and also very sensitive, and I am actually amazed at how she has handled the subject of death. Part of her cannot comprehend it, and so she asks a lot of questions about what death means. And part of her simply accepts it because I am her mother, and she knows I tell her the truth, and she believes what I say. It doesn't seem to have traumatized her, really, although I can tell she thinks about it. Mainly, she just seems to accept it as a part of life.
    In your case, I wonder if telling her what happened to the bird might give her a little closure, in a way. She doesn't have to worry about it hurting anymore.
    You know your daughter best though, so you can make the best decision for her.

  16. #16

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    I agree that only you know what is best. Just a suggestion and not having a 3 year old not sure if this is appropriate but could you get a little gentle book on dying that you could read to her and go through it that way with her? I know we have some Margaret Wild books at school like Jenny Angel, but that may be a bit old...there might be others that gently but sensibly address the issue though. Just a thought. Good luck hun

  17. #17

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    I agree with Nelle's post. I think it's an opportunity to gently teach her that not everything turns out ok. I think we underestimate 3 year olds sometimes!

    I personally wouldn't lie about it. Just like I wouldn't try and replace a pet goldfish that had died without them knowing.

    Quote Originally Posted by Cricket
    And part of her simply accepts it because I am her mother, and she knows I tell her the truth, and she believes what I say.
    I think that's the most important thing. I wouldn't risk losing that.

  18. #18

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    Same thing happened with us and we told the truth, and Paris isn't damaged We explained that sometimes animals die, and its their time and thats ok. She was about 3-4 and she's fine You don't need to be horrible about it but with a bit of sensitivity it can be fine. There are some great books on the topic too. When my BIL died we had to face mortality head on and she was about 3 and she coped really well.

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