Even the most rational person gets a bit superstitious when they become a parent. Perhaps its the need to imagine elves with a preschooler, or to hear thunder whenever a jet follows a flightpath above you. Add a heart defect into the mix and I start tapping wood to glue the good things in place, and to make a quick avert sign when someone says something inauspicious
(like Frost, who was trying to reassure me when Wren was born and said "Don't worry, he will be fine. He will live to like, 15!")
I had to do a lot of averting yesterday, when a long walk with Wren took us past a grassy cemetery with a broad vista of grave stones and evergreens. I am not sure whether it was Wren's fascination with Plants Versus Zombies on the iPad, or just novelty, but he wanted to get out of the stroller and look through the fence at the graveyard, just like Frost at his age. When Frost was 4 we walked around this graveyard while Frost asked questions and pointed at graves asking about each dead person until I was teary (which he was curious about, as well).
After looking through the fence a bit, Wren says:
"I wish we had a little tiny graveyard in our garden"
"Why do you want a graveyard?" He can't see my incredulous expression because I am behind him in the stroller.
"I love graveyards."
I think I get it. Wren does not know what graveyards are for. To test this so I ask "What is a graveyard, Wren?"
"A grave is a thing that dead people hide under so people don't see them."
Appreciating his answer, I decide to use my research techniques to explore in more depth.
"But why don't we want to see dead people?"
Now, Wren realizes I am really dumb and has to make it a bit more explicit.
"So people don't see the blood coming out or their faces broken off!"
Is he a sociopath? He is very matter of fact about this. Is it an omen? So, I continue.
"How do you feel when you see a graveyard."
Like any true sociopath he tells me what he thinks I want to hear.
"I feel ... sad."
Then he senses I am quizzing him in an odd way and wonders whether this is a test or an email. Sometimes I transcribe emails from him.
"Is this a letter for Granny?"
"No, do you want to say something to granny?"
"Yes. Say.... Dear Granny, We saw a graveyard. There are DEAD PEOPLE under the ground and nobody can SEE THEM! And tell Granny I feel GOOD!"
"Okay, I'll write it for Granny."
"Maybe there are some bats underneath too."
"I don't think so."
But the thought of bats under there has changed the mood in a way that blood and broken faces didn't.
"It would be bad if I was under a gravestone... Lets go. I don't like Graveyards."
"Why don't you like them now?"
"Because of the deadness ....and stuff."
We leave and in a moment he has forgotten the graveyard and is dusting his nose with buttercups and pointing to a robin and a starling and wondering when he can GET A COOKIE while I try and avoid dark thoughts like if Wren died before me I would have to make sure he is never in a grave because of the deadness and stuff.