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Kittens, puppies, and cannibals

There’s nothing that makes me question my parenting prowess quite like the drive to school drop off in the morning. It’s only 2.9 miles from our house, but boy are those some packed miles. I don’t know what it is about the morning but that’s when all the questions come out. 

Take today for example.

J (my 7 year old): If I was a Death Eater, I don’t think I could eat someone.

Me: What? I don’t know why… what?

J: Yeah. Like, HOW do they do it? 

Me: Well it’s pretend, Harry Potter is just a story, they don’t actually eat people anyway.

J: No no, I meant cannibal. If I was a cannibal I COULD NOT eat someone.

B (5 years from the way back seat): What’s a camelimal?

Me: She said “cannibal.”

J: What IS in a camel’s hump?

Me: I think it’s water, I mean it’s not actually water it’s like watery fat tissue, I don’t have the science words for it but for our purposes it’s water. It’s not like a water bottle, although that is why they call those water backpacks camel backs…

J: Do they cook them?

Me: The water? Camels? What?

J: Cannibals.

B: WAIT, do we know any? Who’s a cannibal? Do we know someone who eats other people?

Me: NO.

B: So it used to happen long ago right? Like before the Flood?

Me: Probably. I don’t know, it’s not happening now, I mean it is, but it’s not common. It’s not like we know any cannibals. It’s illegal, they would go to jail. *Pause* It’s not okay to eat other people.

B: I hope I don’t ever go to jail. I’m so worried I’ll do something wrong and not know it’s wrong and end up in jail.

Me: That’s not going to happen.

B: But how do you know?

J: Yeah there’s probably only one out there now. But if everything is happening at the same time then there is a cannibal right now. Maybe more than one.

Me: Wait. Why is everything happening at the same time?

J: That’s what the Bible says.

Me: Where? Wait. Are we talking space/time continuum and parallel universes because I can’t handle that right now.

J: What? It says people are always being born, dying, marrying. Every day is someone’s birthday. So that means that right now someone is born, someone is dying, and someone is a cannibal.

Me: I don’t quite remember that verse but I grasp the spirit of your statement. Theoretically there is a cannibal out there but it’s not anyone we know and it’s not something you’ll ever do and we don’t need to worry about this.

B: I can’t stop thinking about cannibals now.

J: I just need to know, do cows throw up?

Me: Anatomically yes, because they chew their cud. They have like 4 stomachs and food goes around and I don’t know.

J: That is disgusting.

Me: Oh look, we’re at the school! Have a great day kids, and listen, please don’t talk about cannibals at school, okay?

What you have to keep in context is the total lack of pause between questions. They rapid fire these at me and need no time to prepare the next one. It’s like they have a list stored up overnight and just need to tick them off. I’m not entirely sure they’re even listening to my answer before they’re spouting off the next question.

See, just the day before we had a conversation that went like this.

J: Mom, when are we taking the cats in to get shoveled?

Me: *blink*  I don’t. Why would we…Don’t do anything to the cats with a shovel.

J: You know, shoveled, so they can’t have babies anymore? Oh wait, I think it’s called spade?

Me: Ohhhhh, spayyyyed….

How she knows that a spade is a shovel is beyond me. She has fortunately gotten to the age where we can laugh together over things like this, although I’m sure that will change as the teenage years dawn.

So yes, we were taking the cats to the vet to get shoveled and I had them in an absurdly large dog crate in the back of the car. I bought a small cat carrier, but they would have nothing to do with that. Which meant I loaded them into a Juno sized crate because we have learned the hard way what happens with cats roaming around the car untethered. B’s seat, (wayyyy in the back) was next to the crate and he is our animal whisperer. He was trying to pet them and talk to them, not realizing this is only the third time these cats have been in a car and they were Freaked Out. Suddenly he starts crying and screaming and it turns out the gigantic crate was big enough for their little paws to reach and scratch him. I told him to shift over in his seat, and as he has practically raised these kittens to deal with it. (Basically, man up dude) There was no escaping their talons. This resulted in letting him unbuckle and crouch next to J’s seat in the middle row and hold on, after all it’s only 2.9 miles to the school. With both of them now in ear proximity the questions really ramped up.

J: But why do they have to get spayed?

Me: Because we don’t want them to have kittens.

B: Yes we do. I want kittens so bad.

Me: No, you don’t. We don’t. We have enough cats.

J: Okay so we don’t want Grey to have kittens, but what’s Bob got to do with it?

Me: Well we don’t want him to have kittens either.

J: WAIT A MINUTE. Boys CAN have babies?

Me: No. No no, in no world can boys have babies. That is a fact. 

(I couldn’t very well say “make” babies, she would definitely have noticed the subtle difference in verbs.)

J: Okay, soooo….

B: Can we take Juno back into the vet to get her baby parts put back in so SHE could be a mama? She would be a great mama.

Me: That’s not a thing, those parts are long gone. We don’t want puppies.

B: Yes we do. I want puppies so bad.

J: I just don’t get why Bob is involved!

Me: Okay so it takes a little bit of a dad and a little bit of a mom to make a baby and we’re just going to let the Vet take away those little bits so they can’t do that.

J: Ohhhh that makes sense.

It is miraculous to me that it made sense. I was fully prepared to have The Talk on the way to school. That would not be ideal AT ALL, but in reality that’s when it’s going to happen because that is when all heavy topics arise in my life. The fact they both accepted this explanation, and have in the past, was a gift.

My verbal warning that day at drop off: Don’t talk to your friends about babies, or spayeds, or spades, or shovels for that matter. Let their parents tell them about that.

B: Why can’t we talk about shovels?

10 hours later J came up to me in the kitchen.

J: Can they do that to people?

Me: I don’t even know what you’re talking about.

J: You know, spayed. Can people get spayed?

Me: Wellllll…

J: Like could a person go to the Vet and have the parts taken out so they can’t have babies? Because there might be some people that just want to live like, ‘wooooo I do whatever I want, yaaaaaay no kids.’ Ya know?

Me: Um. Yes, that is a thing that can be done by a Doctor, not a Vet. Definitely a Doctor thing.

J: Oh. Well it’s a good thing you never did. Because can you imagine how bored you’d be? Who would you talk to all day?

And then she exited stage right.

Me: Who, indeed?

After back-to-back days of this I had to wonder why I felt better equipped to handle the neuter/spay discussion than that of the cannibals. My only guess is there’s far more books on how to talk to your kids about that topic. There isn’t too much literature out there on cannibalism. Or maybe there is. And now I’m concerned if you know about that literature you’re probably a cannibal. But don’t tell me, because you’ll just be proving J’s convoluted point and I don’t need any more “I told you so” outta her.

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