Extinction at five
“That threat is extinct!”* roared my five-year-old son’s Optimus Primal toy from the back seat.
“Mom, what’s ‘extinct’ mean?” asked Li’l D.
Oh, sweet tender-hearted boy, I thought. When are you going to ask me an easy question?!
“It means something or a group of things no longer exists. Like dinosaurs.”
“Because of volcanos?”
“Yes, something like that.”
I should have stopped there. I should know better by now. But, no.
I continued helpfully, “It happens for different reasons today.”
“It happens today?!” Horror!
What have you done?! I asked myself in like horror, wondering how to quickly move conversation in a friendlier, less tearful direction.
“It does. Sometimes animals’ homes go away–”
“Because people want more money and more space and we can get those by taking them from those who can’t fight back.”
“That’s sad. The animals should move somewhere else.”
“It’s hard for wild animals to do that.”
(He and I will talk ecosystems later.)
Then, “They can’t take my dog. I won’t let them!”
“Oh, sweetie. They won’t take your dog.”
He looked somber as we got out of the car moments later, his toy dangling from his fingertips.
“I wish we hadn’t talked about this. I feel sad. Why did we talk about this?”
“Because of your toy. He said ‘extinct’ and you wanted to know what it meant.”
Before gettng his brother out of the car, I kissed him on his forehead and told him I loved him.
When we got in the house, he hugged our dog tight.
And I, I wondered if he’d noticed if his Optimus Primal toy went extinct.
* Or something similar. Listening to toys’ words isn’t a high priority for me.