We’ve been letting the kids watch parts of the BBC’s Planet Earth series as a refreshing break from trains with creepy faceplates. Despite the documentary being gorgeously shot, some of it is hard to watch, even for a cold-hearted person like myself.
One example: the migrating gray whale and her calf who are being stalked by a large pack of killer whales (warning: spoiler). The killer whales spend 3 HOURS chasing the pair, ramming them and trying to separate baby from mother, until the calf is so exhausted that the mother tries desperately to nudge the little one toward the surface and balance him on her back so he can take a breath.
Since there are no happy endings in nature, I inevitably found myself screaming at the television, “I FUCKING HATE YOU, KILLER WHALES,” but only in my mind since I was trying to be brave for the children. But, god, it really makes you question your fortitude as a mother. Would I have fought so valiantly in the same situation? Because I can barely swim a complete lap without getting winded, and that’s without killer whales chasing me.
So the Preschooler and I have been talking a lot about nature (or at least the two or three things I’ve observed from my perch in a suburban window). My fall-back line has been, “Sometimes things like that happen in nature,” as if nature is something separate from ourselves, safely viewed from behind a screen.
But, some things, you can tell, are starting to click:
Him: Tigers are predators, right?
Him: And killer whales are predators?
Me: Uh-huh. (stupid, goddamned killer whales)
Him: So, are we predators, too?
Me: Yes, that’s true.
Him: Because we eat meat?
Him: What animal does bacon come from? (Wait a minute. He knows the answer to this question. Where is he going with this?)
Me: Bacon comes from pigs.
Him: Where does ham come from?
Me: Also from pigs.
Him: Where does lamb come from?
(ALERT! ALERT! TRICK QUESTION.)
Me: Also from pigs. No more questions.
Hypocrisy is a dish best served cold.