I'm not quite sure how Kalani started to learn about Thor, Odin and Valhalla.
Actually, that's a lie. I do. It was Dan!
Anyway, Kalani and Dan have been having conversations about Thor and Odin, and how they live in Valhalla. Kalani is fascinated by the concept of Valhalla and beings that can control weather and can fly and are all mighty. Up until now we haven't exposed him to any type of religion at all - not on purpose, we're just not particularly religous ourselves, so the topic hasn't come up before.
So one morning I was dropping Kalani off at daycare, and he was asking how he could get to Valhalla. I told him that only the Gods were allowed into Valhalla, at which point he started to get stroppy and tell me that he wanted to be one of the Gods too. I realised that our conversation was being overheard by another parent dropping off his son. He thought that we believed in the Norse Gods (I'm not even sure if that's a religion!), and obviously I don't care what other people think about what I believe in, but it was obviously time to expand Kalani's religious references to include a few more ideas.
The opportunity came quite by chance.
Yesterday, Kalani and I went to the library. This is always a fairly quick exercise. In, Drop off old books, Select 3-4 books that look like they're suitable (I generally look at picture quality only!), Leave. One of the books that Kalani selected was (I thought) about a Giant and looked like an innocent enough book - good pictures, not too many words on each page!.
When we got home I read it to him and the innocent giant book actually turned out to be about St. Patrick chasing all the snakes, elves and giants out of Ireland and heaven. This prompted a big discussion last night. We started off talking about the concept of heaven, and how you could get there. I told K that Jazzy was in heaven, running around, chasing squirrels and cosying up in front of the fire. Kalani thought that if you can be 'fixed' (i.e. made better) in heaven, then you should be able to come back to Earth - so where is Jazzy if he's been fixed enough to run around in heaven? He started to get a little upset at this stage because Jazzy wouldn't be coming back to us.
Then he asked why Jazzy went to heaven in the first place. I explained that Jazzy was old and sick, and normally when people/animals get very old, they die.
Oh. My. Goodness.
Floods of tears. Lots of sobbing - heart wrenching sobs.
"So, when I get old, I'm going to die?"
"Well yes sweetheart, but that's a long long way away."
"But I'm old. I'm 4. Am I going to die soon?"
"No, no, no. You have your whole life to live my love"
"But I'm going to die when I'm older?"
*look at ceiling and mouth "HELP!!"*
"Let's have a cuddle. It's okay. Everything is okay"
*repeat until Kalani cries himself to sleep*
So after posting on FB it turns out that this is not so unusual, and I should have just lied about the heaven/death experience. It's a hard topic for an adult to understand, let alone a small child.
Thankfully he hasn't mentioned anything today, and I think my game plan going forward will be to deflect questions and offer lots of cuddles instead.
Needless to say, next time we visit the library I'll be a little more selective about what books Kalani chooses!