And Then You Die

10 Mar

cigarettephoto by lanier67


Jenna is currently fascinated by cigarettes and smoking. L and I don’t smoke (never have), but this makes her even more curious about the people that she sees doing it. She notices cigarettes everywhere. In the store, on the ground, on a sign – you name it. Because she has chronic lung disease (BPD) and her lungs are already such a mess, the mom in me freaks out a little with worry, and I feel like I need to make sure she understands the dangers involved with smoking. Then, I worry that too much warning will push her toward rebellion and trying it EXACTLY BECAUSE I explained why not to. This is how my brain works. *sigh*  L, on the other hand, is Mr. Eternally-Laid-Back. He tells me not to fret because it would probably hurt so bad when/if she ever took her first puff that she’d never do it again.

Anyhoo, I DID have a conversation with Jenna about cigarettes that went something like this:

J: Mommy, why are those people making smoke come out of their mouths outside?

Me: Well, they’re smoking a cigarette, and they’re not allowed to smoke inside.

J: Why not?

Me: Breathing in the smoke is bad for your lungs, and if they smoked inside, all the smoke would stay inside the building and even people who didn’t want to smoke would be breathing it in their lungs. It’s a rule they made to help keep people healthy.

J: {thinks a moment} Why is smoke bad for your lungs?

Me: Remember the book about the human body we looked at with pictures of the lungs? Remember how the lungs were all pink with lots of open tubes inside for the air to go through? When you smoke, the smoke gets all over inside your lungs and makes them look black instead of pink. After a while, the lungs can’t work right because all of the dirty smoke makes the air tubes close up & the air can’t get through. It makes people have trouble breathing, sometimes cough, and can make them very sick.

J: And then they die? (because this wonderfully curious small girl is also completely fascinated by death)

Me: ……….Yeeeesssss. Sometimes it can even make people die.

J: So, the people who smoke WANT to die?

Me: Noooooo. I don’t think the people who smoke WANT to die.

This then led into an entire discussion about consequences, which she understands a little better, and the fact that even though sometimes people know that there might be a bad consequence for something they do, they still choose to do it. Probably HOPING that the bad consequence WON’T happen,  even though it usually does.

Whew. It’s HARD to think up adequate answers, hopefully full of wisdom, that are on the level of a five year old!

Fast forward to today.

We came out of CVS to see (& smell) a man smoking. J tugs on my hand, partially covers her mouth, and in a dramatic stage whisper that was none-too-whispery exclaims:

“Mommy! That man is going to DIE because he’s smoking.”

And then *I* died of mortal embarrassment.



Posted by on March 10, 2011 in Health, Jenna


Tags: , , , ,

2 responses to “And Then You Die

  1. PrincessJenn

    March 10, 2011 at 2:31 pm

    LOL. Out of the mouths of babes.
    She’s a smart kid.
    Might I suggest you start preparing for her goth phase, now?

  2. PsychMamma

    March 10, 2011 at 5:42 pm

    PrincessJenn –




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