Thursday, September 11, 2008

Kids and the whole Natural Disaster thing

We live just north of Houston. We've spent all day tracking Ike and watching the hysteria all around town. We have water. We have some food. We even have plywood for some of the windows. And with us checking our computers a couple times an hour and commenting on the wild loss of civility that our town has experienced, our kids have noticed.

Solstice, our 3-year-old, is especially observant. She has a thousand questions about hurricanes and tornadoes. I decided that what we would do is tell her what's going on in as much detail as we can. She generally understands more than I will give her credit for, so I was very generous with details.

I told her what a hurricane is, where they come from, and what they do when they hit land. She's fascinated with maps, so she's thrilled to see where we are on the map and what route the storm will take. I showed her videos of hurricanes and tornadoes. She pretty much adores tornadoes.

I just couldn't see holding back from her. I believe in education, not indoctrination or brainwahsing. I believe it's right to show her everything she asks about concerning an experience she's about to have and answering all questions as best I can. She can draw conclusions, she can make meaning, and when it's too much, well, that's what daddies are for, right?

She says she's not scared. We stressed to her over and over that she shouldn't be, despite all the activity going on around here. We're approaching the event with excitement--I've never been through a hurricane before.

The only thing that gives her pause is exactly what it is that's going to scare her in about 32 hours: the sound. I've explained to her that you hear a lot of loud noises inside one of these storms and that it can sound scary. She keeps asking if it can just be quiet, and no, it can't.

We're prepared. We're staying safe. We're not evacuating--it's not fair to the people in the actual evacuation zones for us to clog up the freeways too. And yes, there will be scary moments, but they're also excited about the party-like preparations. There are prospects of play-dough, painting, and HiHo Cherry-O.

Luna, however, is a different story. She's not scared; she just doesn't care. She's delighting in the idea of candles and daddy being home from work a couple extra days. But if she does get scared, we'll be here for her.

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