Monday, January 20, 2014

That time I had to explain somethinig awkward to my toddler.

Anyone who has ever raised a toddler been around a toddler for five minutes knows how mesmerized they are by animals.

Animals sounds are some of the first that they imitate.

Animals names top their first word lists.

Animals are the main characters in their favorite books and movies.

They point to animals.

They chase animals

They try to touch animals.

They obviously spend a lot of time thinking about animals.

They are obsessed with animals, and my 20 month old daughter is no different.

Truth be told, I was a little worried that there was something wrong with her because she was chirping, meowing and woofing before she could say actual words, and was way more into interaction with animals than people for a while there.

But ... we aren't vegans.

That's why I've been trying to figure out the easiest way to break it to her that she actually eats animals.

According to her, animals are some of her best friends. I can't even imagine the psychological schemas that are going to explode in her head when she finally makes the connection and realizes that the furry cows in her favorite barnyard book are actually in the oven becoming her delicious dinner.

And what will she think of me? I've been the one all,

"Look! A kitty! Do you want to make friends with her?" and

"Are you talking to the birdies? Are they your friends?" and

"Look, the bear in the book is sad because he just wanted to be friends with the people."

When she finds out I, the one who's introduced her to all these animals, am also the one sadistically rubbing butter all over dead birdies and serving them as a meal, what is she going to think?

How does one handle a revelation like this? I don't know; I was too young to remember when this basic fact of life dawned on me.

But I've been watching it slowly dawn on Darby, and there have been some awkward moments.

She has a toy chicken. This toy chicken, in a physiologically inaccurate manner, drops plastic eggs as it's pulled along by a string. The eggs that drop from this chicken are already cracked open, with a friendly baby chick head poking out.

Darby loves those eggs. She considers them her babies, and carries them around the house.

One day, she approached me and held one in front of my face. I said, "EGG" very emphatically. She stopped dead in her tracks, and a look of serious concentration came over her face.

Then she twirled around and ran into the kitchen.

"What's up hon?" I inquired, following her to the fridge, where she pointed at the door. I opened it, and she gestured directly to a carton of eggs.

My stomach did somersaults.

"Oh no," I thought. Just one day earlier I had put her in the high chair to watch me make corn bread, one of her favorite treats, using eggs. "EGGS," which I had pronounced as I dropped them into her cornbread mix, before explaining that we were going to put it in the oven and eat it.

Now, as I watched her, pointing to the eggs and searching my face for some sort of clarification, I thought in horror,

She knows.

"Yep!" I said, shutting the door. I looked at her with an exaggerated, clownish smile. "Yep! We eat eggs."

She looked at me and then down at her eggs, and then I did what I always, without fail, do in awkward situations that I just want to stop: I keep talking. And I always make it so much worse.

"We ... ummm ... we eat eggs. I know that your toy eggs have babies in them. But ... we don't eat babies."

She continued to stare at me.

"I mean, I guess we kind of do ... well, we don't eat the actual babies-we eat the baby slime, ok?"

This was not ok, and I could tell.

But we humans are resilient. After a few moments, she scurried off, still clutching her precious eggs. And I breathed a sigh of relief. 

I'm just glad our culture at large doesn't consume dogs and cats because those are her absolute favorite. That would be so awkward.

PS. Today you can catch an interview with me over at Pinterior Designer. She has a new feature chatting with fellow DIY bloggers!


  1. Hilarious!!!

  2. Just wait until she asks you if sperm chases the mommy around the bedroom at night. Now THAT is a awkward question! ;-)

  3. This is so funny and totally hitting home because I have a post that goes up tomorrow morning about how my kindergartner wants to become a vegetarian! Not that I have any real advice for you other than "keep it real." but we all know that sometimes keeping it real goes wrong.

  4. :D Funny!

  5. Allie, you know that eggs we buy in the grocery store aren't fertilized, right? Even if they'd been kept warm from when they were laid, they'd never grow into baby chicks, because the hens were kept where the roosters couldn't get near them. Since their reproduction systems work differently than humans, they still lay the eggs. God's way of providing food for us! So they're not in any way babies. Just eggs.

    1. Haha, I know, this story is just about the awkwardness of trying to explain something like this to a toddler.