This morning as I was about to leave for work, I opened the door to see a dead badger blocking my route off the driveway. It was on the pavement in the middle of the entrance to our driveway. I called for Ben, but Joshua wanted to come too and was very curious to see what was going on. He wanted to know what it was, and how it would get up (we said it wouldn’t, it’s dead). I tried to get him to go inside as we needed to carry it across the busy road into the woodland opposite but he wasn’t having any of it (his sister was oblivious in front of the TV). So we got him to stay close as we crossed the road and carried it (on a piece of board) over the road, up the steps into the woody area and layed it down in the corner.
Joshua didn’t seem particularly upset by the incident – he was more curious than anything else. But I’m curious as to what to say to him about it because this weekend when we were out rowing (been meaning to write a post about that) we came across a poorly pigeon and rescued it from the river bank only to have it die on Ben’s lap wrapped in a jumper. This was harder to explain than the badger as it had previously been alive and then half an hour later it was dead and both kids didn’t really understand the concept of “dead”. We said that it had been too poorly and had not survived. I even said, even though I’m not religious at all, that it had gone up to heaven – its just a lot nicer a concept than just “it’s dead”, isn’t it? I tried to explain that although its body was still there, its mind had gone away (maybe I should have just stuck with “it’s dead”). He asked why it was dead and we said that it was probably run over by a car. He said why? We said that if you are hit or run over by a car, you will be either badly hurt or you will die (too much?) and if you are small like a cat or a badger (OK, not THAT small) you are much more likely to die.
Should I have been less straight forward and made up some more stuff, or tried to protect him from the sight of a dead animal? I don’t know that I should really. It felt, not right, but normal to just explain to him exactly what was going on.
I have since called the council and they are going to come and pick it up but at least it isn’t lying there for school kids to step over on their way to school!