Recently, my three-and-a-half-year-old and I visited a friend with dogs. Make that "dog:" one passed away a few months ago. As we pulled up to the house, Pumpkin remembered where we were. "Mom, this is the house with the two doggies." Uh-oh.
"Um, that's sort of right, Pumpkin. There used to be two dogs," I told her, hoping, naively, she'd just accept that simple answer.
"What happened to the other doggy?" she asked. So much for simple answers.
Remembering advice I'd read years ago, I frantically searched for the Right Answer, the one that would be both most satisfying to the preschooler but offer the least graphic information. "Well. That doggy went to Doggy Heaven." Brilliant. A pat Family Circus-type answer that was sure to confuse even the most in-the-know child. Because the next question, inevitably, was...
"Where is Doggy Heaven?"