While reading Anna her bedtime story which was a book version of Disney's Bambi, we got to the part where hunters kill Bambi's mom. The following conversation ensued:
Anna: Why did the hunters kill Bambi's Mommy?
Me: Well, hunters kill for sport. And they also kill animals to eat them.
Anna: The hunters ate Bambi's Mom?
Me: Yes, sweetie. They did.
(At this point I am awaiting some sort of cry-fest while Anna, who literally weeps every time she hears Brahms's Lullaby because she finds it so poignant, mourns the loss of Bambi's mom. Instead she sits there pondering for a few moments with a serious look on her face. And that's when things got really disturbing)
Anna: I want to go hunting.
Me: You do?
Anna: Daddy, can I go hunting?
Me: (trying to appear supportive of all life decisions) Of course you can, sweetie.
Anna: Can you take me hunting, Daddy?
Me: Well, I don't really hunt myself. But if you want to go hunting when you're a little older, I'm sure we can find a way to make that happen. Why do you want to go hunting?
Anna: Because I need to kill animals.
Anna: How do hunters eat animals?
Me: Well (hesitates) they remove the meat from the animals' bones, then cook it.
Anna: What does it mean to remove the meat?
Me: Well, it's the animals' muscles. We eat animals' muscles. So whenever we're eating meat, we're eating the muscles of animals.
Anna: Mmmm! I want to try deer muscles.
Me: ..meat, sweetheart. We call it meat.
Anna: Have I ever eaten muscles off of animals' bones?
Me: (contemplates the best way to phrase this) Sure you have sweetie. Every time we eat meat, it means you're eating the muscles of animals. Like hamburgers. Hamburgers come from cows. And tuna is a fish. And chicken.
Anna: (eyes light up) Ohh! Chicken comes from chickens???
Me: Yes sweetie. That's right. When we eat chicken, we're eating chickens' muscles.
Anna: Chickens are filled with chicken nuggets!
Me: ...in a way yes. Chicken nuggets are chicken meat covered...
Anna (creepily giggling with delight): Bambi is filled with Bambi nuggets!!!
Me: Yes. Yes, I suppose he is in a way.
Anna: Can I eat a Bambi nugget?
Me: (vomits a little, half smiling, semi-nodding)
Don't these muscly Bambi nuggets look moist and delicious? Mmmmmmm.
Anna: Daddy? (pensive look)
Me: Yes sweetheart?
Anna: I have muscles on my skeleton.
Me: That's true.
Anna: Do people eat people muscles?
Me: (Contemplates the possibility of discussing Jeffrey Dahmer before realizing that's not something to talk about with a four-year-old. Particularly one who is showing a penchant for the concept of devouring the flesh of beasts). No sweetie. Nobody eats people meat. People just eat other animals' meat.
Anna: ....I think people meat is probably the most delicious.
Me: Maybe so, sweetheart. (head pat) Maybe so. (shudders)
In conclusion: Never in a million years did I anticipate that "the talk" with my daughter regarding the murder of Bambi's mom would lead to a conversation that would give me nightmares. And make the entire Weed household contemplate vegetarianism.
I will now go to the kitchen and ensure all cutlery is safely secured in its drawer lest Anna get the hankering for some Daddy nuggets.
Photo attribution here and here