Interactions with children and animals are entertaining and always educational. Although the education the animal is giving isn’t always what a parent wants to field.
Springtime always leads to inevitable “birds and bees’ questions. These questions are generally coupled with long in-depth debates about who’s right or wrong about how the babies come to be, it makes for interesting discussion.
My other half has three children, ages 3, 5, and 6. Cattle have been a part of their lives, and they have experienced bringing in and turning out the bull many times; they have yet to put two and two together’ on the subject. “The cows eat lots and lots and by the time it gets warmer the babies fall out,” according to the 5 year old this last spring.
Pretty simple? Easy to field that that statement, right? Maybe, but now lets introduce horses into the equation. Because we don’t own a stud we have to transport the brood mares to their perspective mate. Over months of planning, phone calls with frequent references to horses being bred, hauling horses around the countryside to get bred, the question finally came up.
“Dad, what kind of bread do the horses like and why does it take them so long to eat it? And why do we have to take them somewhere else ? We can get it in the kitchen and take it out to them.”
Being that this is a very important question to the 6 year old, one must be reminded that you may not laugh until said toddler is not within earshot. This endeavour becomes very difficult when you’re in a truck, still two hours from home.
So with the straightest face you can manage, “Well that’s a very good question. You’ll understand when your older.” Although this typically sends the children into a riot. They trip over their words explaining how they’re old enough already, that they are smart and understand lots of things. After a moment of silence, “Dad, why don’t we have to take the cows to get bread?” and the whole new ballpark has begun.
So thank you, horses, for the wonderful wobbly legged babies you give us that bring joy and wonder to our kids. But I don’t thank you for the complications that you bring to the birds and the bees.
“Mom, when you eat bread why don’t babies fall out of you?”