After this morning's ketchup incident I decided it was time to get out of the house, so my offspring and I took a walk to the library. On the way home, two large crows blocked our path. The birds were so enormous, in fact, that William first identified them as "a dog or a cat". It looked as though they were enjoying some kind of snack, but at a distance I couldn't tell what it was. Since we were by a school, I thought it might be someone's recess snack.
The crows flew away as we approached and I realized that the snack was something a little more gruesome. It was some sort of rodent; a rat, I think, more specifically half a rat. The hind legs and tail were basically intact, though not much else was. Intestines were strewn about the the side walk, some bunched up, some stretched out, culminating in an unidentifiable organ that I guess must have been the animal's stomach.
My immediate instinct was to usher the kids along, but it was too late. William had seen it and he was fascinated. We've talked before about how food goes from our stomachs to our intestines before turning into poop, so it was quite the educational opportunity to have that concept illustrated so graphically across the concrete.
"I thought the birds were eating something but they just killed a mouse," said William.
"The mouse was probably already dead," I explained. "Those birds eat dead animals that they find."
"So how did it die?"
"I don't know," said I, racking my brain for a non-scary method of death. "Maybe a cat killed it. Or maybe it died of old age."
"Or maybe it was from the olden days and then it died," William added.
"Well, mice and rats don't live that long, only a year or two."
"It was from the olden days, that's probably what happened."
"Probably," I agreed.
The topic was revisited later on in the walk, and we began discussing the animals that humans eat for food. William already knew that pork came from pigs and beef came from cows. Now that he'd actually seen an animal being eaten, though, he grasped the concept at a whole new level. His face held a look of horrid fascination.