A year ago, he wouldn't have asked "Why am I in the hospital, Mommy?" Today, he did.
So, when Jo Ann, Grady, Pablo's nanny Polly and I sat down to tell him why he was staying in the hospital, and what was in store for tomorrow (surgery), we kept it simple. Short sentences that engaged him in response, to make him feel a part in the discussion. It worked really well for him.
We told him the bump in his tummy wasn't good for his body, and the doctors have to shrink it with medicine. We told him that the doctors had to use "sleeping medicine" to make him sleep to they could put a special thing in his chest to make the medicine go in without any more needles in his arms or hand. We cited his Franklin book, where Franklin (yes, I just put the Franklin theme in your head and there's nothing you can do about it!) goes to the doctor and has to take "sleeping medicine" to get some work done on his body, er, shell....
We did not the word "cancer" with him. We can't keep it from him, but we don't want to alarm him. He knows his uncle Scott died from cancer three-and-a-half years ago. At five, he surely associates "cancer' and "dead." When the time is right, or when his comprehension arises organically, we will talk about that word, about the disease, what it means, etc etc.
So, tonight, we're all sleeping easy knowing that when Pablo's head hit the pillow (he is sleeping next to me in his hospital bed as I write this), we did the right thing.
OK, good night everybody!