Sunday, February 14, 2010

just teachin' her to eat the other children

This evening after my daughter, EJ ate a few bites of chicken and mac & cheese and then wandered off to listen to Hannah Montana and play in her room with the door closed ... there was a brief period of just me at the dinner table. My husband was off doing something that had distracted him from dinner so I was reading the Sunday paper while I was eating. I looked up at one point and saw that the kitten had jumped on the table and was trying to rip apart a piece of EJ's chicken that was about half the size of her head. Thinking that was kind of cute I watched her for a minute, then went back to reading my article on high interest annuities. A few minutes later I heard my husband bellow, "Oh my god! The kitten is stealing my chicken!" (well, technically it was EJ's left over chicken but whatever). That was followed up by, "Why did you just sit there and let her steal chicken off the plate?"

I had one of those moments of realization of "Crap - my behavior just now was not normal by the standards of these alien beings I live amongst," so I tried to make a joke out of it by saying, "Oh you know, I'm just teachin' her to eat the other children." (meaning the chickens in the backyard that she is so fascinated by). It did get me thinking, is it going to encourage her to continue trying to hunt the chickens since we let her eat cooked chicken? Probably not. She would probably want to eat our pet chickens anyway.

Something that occurred to me today was that I am happy to have pet chickens and eat chickens in our house because I think it gives EJ a realistic idea about where our food comes from. This afternoon I said, "Could you ask your dad to help you with that? I need to get the chicken ready to put in the oven," and she asked, "Which chicken?" and I said, "The dead one that's already plucked in the bottom drawer of the fridge," and she said, "Ok," and went off to find her dad. It wasn't until I was in third or fourth grade I really started thinking about where meat came from and it freaked me out. I'm sure I knew it was animals, but I never really put two and two together long enough for it to sink in. EJ, on the other hand, has known from the start where meat comes from and it is not a big deal to her. I think shielding children from meat being animals ends up being more damaging than letting them no from the very beginning where it comes from. She knows that in our society we don't eat dogs, but if we went to Vietnam it is totally normal to them to eat dogs. And in India a lot of people would be offended that we eat cows.

This afternoon the whole family drove down to Renton to look at a house for sale. Renton was not on our list of places to move, but this house had a lake in the backyard. It was a very sweet little house, just about the perfect little size for our small family although it was only on a half acre. But it has a lake in the backyard!!! EJ and I loved it, especially when two swans swam by while we were looking at the dock in the backyard. But a beaver had built a dam this year by a drainage area and the lake was 8 feet higher than normal and the ground was very damp. So my husband is convinced that it is a little mini-Lake-Pontchatrain waiting to cause disaster to nearby residents. And I don't have enough knowledge about such things to prove him wrong so I say better safe than sorry. If we really loved the place we could get an inspector out there and tell us what the flood risks are, but that would be a big commitment to hire someone to do all that. Meanwhile though, I did spend a good portion of this evening reading about septic systems specifically on waterfront properties. I now can use terms like drainfield, groundwater and "if the soil perks" with impunity.


  1. Oooo that house sounds delightful! I have started having more dreams like you have had about moving out of the city. I think I want to live on an island.

    A little while ago we were eating dinner and Iris looked up at me and said "this is gross, we're eating a dead animal!" and I thought ohhh, here it comes! and then she went back to chowing down.

  2. Guemes Island. Let's have our compound on Guemes Island! Oh - speaking of which you guys should go to the resort out there with us. I'll email you about it right now!