My Preschooler Is Willing To Die For His Cause. Of Never Listening To Me Again.

E seems to have left his manners at school. He’s a yelling, screaming banshee. I spend every breath redirecting him from eatingplaydough wakinguphissister hipcheckingthedog.

And then he hits me.

Me: E, apologize to Mama for hitting her. (talking in a third person makes me sound more imposing.)

E: I can’t.

Me: Why? (Don’t scold me on asking. I’m bansheed out at this point. Also, I’m disappointed my third person account had no effect and don’t really have a plan B.)

He flops onto the bed face down.

E: I’m a little bit dead.


Now, E has never mentioned death before. A few months ago when our neighborhood was overrun by a pack of wild horny bunnies, we discussed the rabbit whose life was knocked out of him by a car. E seemed fairly satisfied with the explanation if a bit disappointed that he couldn’t chase the bunny.

But even through our roadkill lesson (who says I can’t home school?), E has always been pretty much alive.

Me {seeking clarification}: So you’re just a little bit dead?

E: Yeah. I’m still talking. But I’m getting there.

Me: And by “there,” you mean “dead.”

E: Yeah. I’m getting more dead right now.


I feel that I have no choice but to sit down beside him and place my hand on my dying son’s back. Mortality is a huge and frightening issue for a four-year-old to tackle. I want to walk through this together.

I clear my throat.

Me: Well, one thing I’ve heard in my time here on Earth, E. You’ll feel, and possible do, a lot better dead if you apologize to your Mama before you die.

Alas, he’s not religious.

Instead, he’s dead.

Unapologeticallly dead.

Damn him.

Alex Iwashyna

Alex Iwashyna went from a B.A. in philosophy to an M.D. to a SAHM, poet and writer by 30. She spends most of her writing time on, a humor blog (except when it's serious) about her husband fighting zombies, awkward attempts at friendship, and dancing like everyone is watching. She also has a soft spot for culture, politics, and rude Southern people who offend her Yankee sensibilities. She parents 2 elementary-aged children, 1 foster baby, 3 cats, and 1 puppy, who are all Southern but not rude. Yet.

20 thoughts to “My Preschooler Is Willing To Die For His Cause. Of Never Listening To Me Again.”

  1. Hysterical. And yes, a mild bit disturbing. My little guy who is about the same age as E is suddenly fascinated with death. He periodically dies rather than do what he’s asked to do. It must be the age? Yes, that’s what I’m going with. Please tell me this morbid fascination with death won’t last!

  2. Oh he is so funny! Has he been watching Monty Python? Princess Bride? Riley was looking at a book about Ratatouille and pointed to the chef floating, “He died.” I’ve always told him it was because he was imaginary (he appears to the rat to teach him how to cook – trying to avoid the spiritual realm and ghosts). One weekend with Nana and my 3 yo now knows the chef died. Thank you Nana, and thank you Disney.

  3. I hate when the kids don’t appreciate how much karmic damage they’re doing to their afterlife by NOT APOLOGIZING TO THEIR MOTHER.

    Explain to him how, at this rate, he’s going to be reincarnated as a earthworm.

    An apology might get him promoted to…I dunno…a rabbit.

  4. “……you’ll feel, and possibly do, a lot better dead if you apologize to your Mama before you die.” Hysterical! That was the PERFECT response—-I’ll have to remember that one the next time one of my students tries to get out of Time Out by playing dead. Amazing what they’ll do in the name of avoidant behavior, isn’t it? 🙂

  5. Ah yes, the talking in third person – always a wise choice. I’m terrified though that if I keep it up it will take over and I’ll never be able to speak in first person again and then I’ll be referring to my husband as “daddy” and me as “mommy” even at cocktail parties.
    E seems pretty comfortable with his stance on things, you’ve got to give it to him for his sticktoitiveness!

  6. Well. I know the banshee routine. We get there whenever something isn’t right. sometimes it’s sleep. Sometimes it’s not enough Mama time (and so you hit to get more attention?). Sometimes it’s just because the sun rose in the east and the grass is still green (ish).

    But dead. Wow. I’m so sorry!

  7. –>My almost 4-year old son plays dead with his tongue out when it’s bed time. I usually tell him that he will be dead if he doesn’t “sleep walk” to his bedroom NOW.

  8. I wore a t-shirt the other day that had a picture of Michael Jackson on the front. My 4 1/2 year old son asked me who that guy was. After I told him that he was a great singer and that he was also dead, he asked:
    “Is he a Zombie and does he live in the grave yard?”
    Alex, I think he would fit in very well with your family, do you want to adopt him?

  9. Sounds like my son lately. Our fair fish died and now it is “dead this, dead that, I am dead, you are dead, you will die…” I hate it. I love that he is exploring it, but I hate it too. I love how you talk to your boy in 3rd person because I do the same thing! HA!

  10. E’s wise beyond his years. We’re all getting more dead right now. Except vampires. Have you had the Vampires Talk with him yet? Now that might make him scared enough to apologize.

    I’m kind of a natural when it comes to mothering.

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