Friday, February 20, 2009

Pass the Squirrel, Please.

My kids are obsessed with meat eating right now. None of them actually eat meat. It's the very idea of doing it that intrigues them.

Every evening, after stories and prayers, Evan classifies everyone that he knows as either carnivore or herbivore. "Grandpa eat meat, Mommy not eat meat," (at least not in front of Evan). This goes on until we've covered everyone. Then he starts in with various classifications of animals. Grandma Powers got the boys a book last year about a frog that eats bugs, but then at the end meets an unpleasant demise himself when a fish eats him. So, Evan must cover in detail how "Frog eat bugs, and big giant huge fish eat frog".
The whole thing could most likely go on indefinitely, but we've found that we can generaly calm him down by asking him if he eats meat. "No! Yucky," comes the reply, and that's is generally the end of the conversation.

This whole thing started several months ago when I was talking with Nolan and Evan about how Grandpa Powers hunted for deer. I told them that while not everyone liked to hunt, hunters play an important role in keeping deer populations in check. Their blank stares prompted me to offer a simpler explanation of why it was OK. "It's OK because Grandpa eats the deer that he shoots."

Nolan gave me a horrified look, and it took me a few minutes to realize that he thought Grandpa was sitting down and devouring an entire deer on the spot after shooting it. Fifteen mintes later I had for the most part corrected that misconception. I finally rounded things off for him by pointing out that Grandpa doesn't get a deer very often anyway ;)
I left that conversation thinking that I had done a pretty good job describing the whole topic. It was a few weeks later that I realized things were still a bit confused in Nolan's head, at least. We had some friends coming over for a cookout. Michele had bought some turkey dogs in preparation. Nolan and evan heard us say "turkey dogs", and of course this reopened the whole topic of meat-eater vs. vegetarian, and why even though we don't eat meat, it's polite to provide guests with food that they at least have a chance of enjoying.

Nolan thought this over and decided that it might make some sense. "Mommy," he said, "maybe we can go in the back yard and get them some squirrels to eat too. There are lots of squirrels back there, and that would be a nice thing to do."

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