So, a rather unfortunate series of events happened today. First, we went to the library to pick out books and picked out not one, not two, but three books with chicken protagonists. We spent the whole ride to my mom's house in Ridgefield talking about the Adventurous Chicken, Louise (who both my children call Muh-weeze for no apparent reason). Anyhow, I digress.
On the way home from school, back to our house, we passed the farm we like to visit. The kids asked if they could go visit the chickies and I said sure. Why not? Not much else planned. Another side note, I have found that if you say "yes" to your kids, enthusiastically and excitedly to their requests a few times a day, the result is MUCH better behavior. Example, Them: "Mommy, can I have a popsicle?" Me: "Sure! Why not? What flavor did you want" Them: stunned and silent and happy for at least two hours.
Anyhow, back to it. We went to the farm. We had visited last week and seen the chicks. Liam absolutely adores hanging in the chicken coop for the young chicks. He picks them up and chases them around. As they get older and more adept at dodging his advances, he does more chasing. Today, I don't think he caught a single one. Last week, however, he caught several. And, as he almost choked the life out them in his little grip, Lenny-style, he noticed a dead chick on the ground. Many, many questions ensued about what happened to the little guy, how did he die? I told him I didn't really know, but it looked as if he was trampled or stepped on. I had to reassure him that the chick was not stepped on by him as it was already dead and squished there when we arrived. He was quite fascinated and had trouble letting the subject go.
I, for one, was glad to see that the carcass had been removed from the coop on this week's visit. Liam, however, immediately noted its absence. "Mommy, where is the dead bird? Where did that dead chick go?" I told him it went to be with God, but he knows better..."Yes, but where did its BODY go?" I told him the farmer probably took it away. He was perplexed and disturbed, but eventually let it go and romped with the baby chicks and visited the rest of the chickens with Elena and me.
At the end of our visit to the farm, we got back into the car. I tried to hurry them along..."Come on now, get into your seats, we have to go home so I can cook dinner. I have a big chicken to put in the oven." As soon as the words had left my mouth I regretted saying them...then Elena said to Liam in an excited voice, "Liam, chicken nuggets for dinner!! WHOO HOO!" That's when it happened. It was almost as if a visible light bulb popped above each child's head. Elena said, "Chicken nuggets! Yay!...Wait...chicken....hmmm...chicken." And then I walked around from securing Liam's seat praying the conversation would be ended by the time I got to the driver's seat. It was not.
Oh shit, it was escalating. Liam was at the helm and he held my heart in his hands. "Mommy," he said almost quivering, "Does the chicken in my nuggets come from the chickens on the farm???" "Is the chicken inside the nuggets from real chickens?"
Next question: "Wait Mom....REAL chickens die so I can eat them?"
"Awwwww Mommy! I don't want chickens to die!"
Laney, God bless her, was in the back seat trying hard to assuage his fears: "No Liam, not THOSE chickens. Not THOSE ones."
Liam: "But how do they die? Who kills the chicken? Does that man? That farmer we met?"
Laney: "No, not THAT farmer! Another person whose job it is to kill chickens."