This Little Piggy Went to the Market

Thursday, July 23, 2009

After a certain car ride with Katie this week, I began to wonder why we glamorize farm animals to our small children. From children's songs like Old McDonald (which in Katie's version also includes french fries..e-i-e-i-ooo) to toys like the See 'N Say (this is a cow..Moooooo). We teach our kids early on what all the animals say and if they're lucky they may even have a farm animal book or two. The very lucky may even get to visit farm animals at a petting zoo or 4-H fair (which incidentally, we may be going to this weekend - the above pics are from our visit there in 2007).

Katie has always loved animals. She has been very delayed in speech, but could say every single animal sound very early. She is thrilled to see them at the zoo and gets so excited when we pass a farm. Incidentally, she also LOVES meat...of all kinds. It kind of makes conversations like this a little awkward:

On our way to speech lessons, we happen to pass a butcher shop. For some reason, next to the butcher shop there is a large pasture which usually contains goats and sheep. Recently there have been loads of baby goats and they've been so adorable! Katie loves to point them out to me when we go by. On our way to speech this past Monday the pasture was completely empty and I pondered out loud..."that's weird, I wonder where all the animals are"...I mean, really, they don't butcher the goats and sheep, do they?!?!? Although somewhat unrelated, I thought explaining what the butcher does might make a good "lesson" for Katie. Honestly, I really don't know what I was thinking.

Me: I'm not sure why the goats are all gone Katie. But you know, that is a butcher shop. The butcher cuts up some animals like pigs and cows so that we can buy them and eat them (or something else equally scary and inappropriate to tell a 4-year-old).

Katie: (horrified) But mommy, why they cut up the animals?

Me: Oh honey, the animals aren't alive anymore - it doesn't hurt them (praying that I don't have to go into "that" conversation, too...why did I open up this can of worms?!?) Sweetheart, people eat some animals.

Katie: Not horsies.

Me: No, not horsies (this is just an introductory conversation, after all). We do eat pigs and cows and chicken though.

Katie: (as if I'm the dumbest person in the world) MOM, people do NOT eat animals.

Me: (annoyed now that she thinks she's smarter than me) Honey, the sausage and ham you eat comes from a pig and hamburgers and meat balls are parts of cows.

Katie: No, mom, it's not.

Me: Well, where do you think it comes from?

Katie: The refrigerator.

Me: (realizing I should have never started this conversation). Oh ok. Well you are right about that. You do eat chickens, though.

Katie: Ohhh, oh yeah.

Me: You know we also eat fish and crabs and lobsters. Some people even eat frogs and turtles.

Katie: Not me, I don't eat fish.

And then we seguewayed into where we get milk from and whether horsies drink milk. Luckily for the meat industry, I'm not too worried that she'll become a vegetarian anytime soon because she doesn't eat vegetables either.


Elle Bee July 23, 2009 at 10:19 PM  

I just smiled and smiled while reading this! It's so nice to read about someone else's daughter so similar to mine! (and my reactions so similar to yours!) My daughter often talks to me like I'm very dense. Then I get all irritated and tell her "mommy's been here 30 years longer than you! I know a little bit about this. You can trust me!" Ugh. Then I just have to laugh! Thanks for the good read!

monica July 24, 2009 at 12:20 AM  

I am laughing at this. Very cute conversation! But a difficult one at 4. Which brings us back to the original question...What happened to the baby goats and sheep? Maybe they were transfer to another location.

debi9kids July 24, 2009 at 1:53 AM  

OH dear Lord! I actually GASPED when i read that you started this conversation and then just read this to Russ. OH.MY.GOD!
Thank God Katie saved the day and changed it up. LOL

ps Reminds me of when my sister Tina was in kindergarten and her teacher taught the whole class about "where food comes from" and poor Tina refused to eat meat for WEEKS.

Hit 40 July 24, 2009 at 2:29 PM  

My oldest boy did not get speech lessons, but it took him a long time to speak also. He has straight A's and got the big time best band student award. He's doing excellent. He was also behind with his reading in first grade. I have worked very hard with him. This is the first summer that I have let the kids just chill. I have done what I can for them with school work. We are doing a few things.... just not the usual big load of work.

As a kid, I also had speech lessons for my R noise. It was a W noise instead of the R. It took me forever to figure out what I was doing wrong. I have a math degree with straight A's also. I seem to have turned out ok. LOL!!!!

... I just thought you might enjoy this info.

Mummy McTavish July 24, 2009 at 7:16 PM  

Oh yeah, had that conversation! Ours started when Lion found a feather still on his chicken leg... "mum, why is there a feather on this?" "well, what are you eating?" "chicken" "and what are chickens covered with?" "no, it's not one of those chickens mum!" and the sad conversation happend in the middle of dinner!

so my point is... at least you weren't actually EATING the meat at the time you had that discussion!

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