Chickenshit Mom

chickenI must admit I felt a bit queasy myself. I hadn’t even had my tea and yet there I was carving up a whole chicken for the Crock Pot, when my daughter stumbled into the kitchen still wearing her PJ’s.

“What is that?” She grimaced the way she does when we enter a smelly public restroom.

I blame the seven a.m. butchering on the recipe, a curry dish.  I’m cutting from memory, too sleepy to look up the instructions in Joy of Cooking.  Consequently I’m mutilating the bird.

My daughter stares at my handiwork, says, “Well, I’m not eating it,” and  marches upstairs to make her bed.  

“I don’t blame you,” I mutter to myself, tossing the wings into the Crock Pot.  I’ve contemplated becoming a vegetarian. But I’m lazy, and I love steak. 

A few minutes later my daughter comes downstairs, fuming.

“How would you like to be that chicken?” she asks defiantly and on the verge of tears.

I don’t dare interfere. She needs to be heard.

“It’s not fair, Mom,” she continues. “Animals can’t communicate with us.”    

“You’re right, sweetheart,” I say, wondering if it’s possible to reconcile eating critters with her Waldorf education, which reveres nature. 

We’ve had the eating meat conversation before. I’ve justified our carnivorous practices by explaining the chickens and cows are “raised to be eaten.” Not unlike Christmas trees, whose fate my daughter also laments. 

But this time, she’s not buying my weak logic.  “I bet if you ask that chicken if it wanted to die, it would’ve have said ‘No.’ I  bet every one of them and all the cows would say ‘No.'”

“I bet you’re right,” I think. I tell her that her feelings are justified; in fact many vegetarians feel the same way. 

I offer us both an out, however, and tell her she’s too young to become a vegetarian, still growing, needs the protein yada yada yada.

It’s a chickenshit response, and I suspect a temporary one. We’ll swing round to the topic again, the next time I pull a chicken out of the freezer. 

The next  morning she reports that she “loves” the chicken burritos she gets for lunch at school. I breathe a sigh of relief, grateful the eight-year-old mind is like the weather; ever changing, always in the moment.



  1. LOL! Great post…

    My 10-year-old daughter decided a few weeks ago that she wasn’t going to eat hamburgers any longer because “cows suffered.” Reasonable logic, I thought. But her brother said, “You’re full of crap, Annie. I guarantee you that you’ll eat a burger before the weekend.”

    Her bro won the bet.

    And my wife and I are kind of vegetarians.

  2. lwdoyle said

    Hey, thanks for the comment. Love the irreverence on your blog, BTW. Very funny stuff.

  3. Leslie G. said

    I love that Lily. Such a big personality bursting at the seams in that tiny little body of hers! Just a reminder, we can never let her and my 11 year old date… “T” in River City.

  4. lwdoyle said

    Les: Thanks for reminding me. We must protect our kids from themselves:-)

  5. Mark said

    “I’ve contemplated becoming a vegetarian. But I’m lazy, and I love steak.”

    Alright, that’s funny.

    I can soo see Lily making these arguments. Tell her “hi” from me!

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