December 2013 (on our way back from school):
S: Amma, my friend ate a hot dog today. Which meant is it?
Myself: I think it is a cow's meat.
S: Why are we not eating a hot dog?
Myself: Because it has animal's meat in it and I do not like killing animals. Also God created us as vegetarians, so He might not like it if we eat meat. (I made up the last part to avoid further questioning, but that did not work it looks like)
S: That means all my friends who eat meat are bad because they are not listening to God.
Myself (not wanting to leave him with that thought because imagine if he said something like that in school the next day): Not really Siddhu, we might not be listening to God in some other aspects and listening to God in eating habits - this may be opposite with your friends. So you cannot say good or bad; it is a choice which you take knowing all the options/consequences/opinions etc.
S: But then my friends are killing these animals and eating them, Amma?
Myself: No your friends do not kill these animals. Hunters kill them and then companies process the meat, send it to stores like Walmart, Sprouts etc - your friends will buy the meat from these stores. It is similar to we buying vegetables from these stores; we do not grow them - farmers grow, pluck and package veggies and send them to these stores for us to buy.
S: Oh, yes amma, I know now. So after a hunter kills the cow, he puts the cow on a stove and cooks it like we cook our dals and vegetables. But if it is a mommy cow then it will be huge and will not fit on the stove. So the hunter will chop it into pieces and then cook it.
Myself (exhausted): Siddhu, that is very creative but I have never seen how they process meat. May be we will find out when you are a little bigger...
I was already so exhausted that I just could not carry on the conversation further - I was actually running out of ideas.
January 2014 (out of the blue while playing):
S: Amma, not eating meat is your choice or you are just obeying your mother because she does not like you to eat?
Myself (OMG - what a question) : As a child, my mother did not allow me to and i wasn't exposed to a lot of eating meat because my boarding school offered vegetarian food. But growing up, it was my choice to not eat meat.
The last question revved up a lot of reflection and introspection and still play in my mind - sometimes I just discover myself via S's questions. Such innocence and honesty - hope it always is there in my relationship with my children...