Once upon a time, my eldest child went to school and helped to conduct a class pet survey. At that time, while other children had dogs, cats, rabbits, and guinea pigs, we had a solitary tadpole (plus hatching eggs).
The teacher asked my child, then five, “Just one tadpole?”
“Yes,” said my child, “because my mother would eat a guinea pig.”
This came from a perfectly rational discussion in which I said that while some cultures see guinea pigs as pets, others see them as food. Ditto horses and other such. Culture is a strong part of practice. It was a reasonable conversation but the take-home message for my child’s teacher was that I was a pet-eating monster. I let it go, figuring that any further debate would open whole cans of worms, like the time when I told my sons that prawns were shrunken children who didn’t go to bed on time.
As my children grew, this continued. It teaches them to question things, right? And so terrible things were said.
Mum, can I have a banana, please?
Are bananas fruit? They’re not vegetables, are they?
No, no, bananas are animals. You know caterpillars and butterflies – in between there’s a chrysalis? Well, bananas are like that, but spawn little birds.