A few months ago we had a big wind storm. It blew things over and in general, made a big mess. But not as big of a mess as my 9 year old.
You see, during said wind storm, he scared Baby Girl by telling her all about tornadoes. I would like to think that he was just sharing information, but I know better. I walked in on this lovely conversation just in time to hear him say (in his most dramatic voice and with that twinkle of mischievousness in his eyes), "First, the wind spins faster and faster and then it tears down your house, picks you up and blows you away!"
GAH! I wanted to wring his neck at that very moment! But I refrained and explained to Baby Girl that there wasn't going to be a tornado and that she was safe. And then I lied to her... it wasn't a true lie, well, sort of. I told her that we don't get tornadoes in California. Which is MOSTLY true (kind of like being "mostly dead" - movie trivia, anyone?). California is not part of tornado alley. They are a rare sight, but, um, actually? They do happen. There was one this spring less than 100 miles from us. It only touched down for just a few seconds and didn't cause a lot of damage, but still - there was a tornado. Which means that TECHNICALLY, I lied.
But, she just can't this fear go. Since Red filled her in on the tornado phenomenon she has gone into a panic over the slightest breeze. Almost every day she asks about tornadoes. Last week we were out shopping and there was a storm on the horizon. She freaked out and wanted to go home immediately in case there was a tornado coming with the storm. Last night she had nightmares. She got up this morning and said, "I had bad dreams about tornadoes last night. The wind took away our house and I was holding onto Red's ladder (on the bunk bed) and the wind was making me stand on my head to pull me away." It just makes me so sad to see her so frazzled about this. The lie does seem to help, and so I let it stand... but I wonder if I should.
What would you do? Do you think I should tell her the truth? Should I explain that tornadoes can happen almost anywhere, but they usually don't happen here? Or should I just leave it till she's a little older and can understand a little better? Do you ever lie to your kids to help them calm down?