We don't eat a lot of meat in our house, but we certainly do eat some. Everyone, that is, except for our 3 year old daughter. She has never eaten meat and in fact the mere thought of it disgusts her. At first we were concerned, but considering the fact that I was a vegetarian for a number of years it never really bothered me that much. We just make sure she gets plenty of iron and protein from other sources.
Then last night I was reading The Organic Farm to her and we came to a page where there were sheep grazing in a field with the shepherds/farmers. I ad-libbed and made the comment, "And there are the sheep that they eat" not even thinking that maybe my daughter didn't realize that the meat people eat comes from the animals she loves.
She stopped me and looked at me incredulously. "They eat sheep?" she demanded to know. I admit that I froze. I just stared at her as she repeated, much more urgently this time, "THEY.EAT.SHEEP?" I started to stammer some lame answer when she again interrupted and said, "Mommy, people do not eat sheep. That is not nice."
At this point I made an executive decision and instead of explaining to her that yes, meat does indeed come from animals, I decided to spare her any further trama and lamely said, "No, mommy misspoke. I meant to say there is the grass that the sheep eat."
I figure we have plenty of time ahead of us to explain the finer point of being a vegetarian versus being a meat eater. Last night was just not the night to begin such a dialogue.