Anatomy Lesson

Wednesday morning Cameron had an appointment so Matt worked from home.  This allowed me to leave Kaylee with him during the appointment (making my life a whole lot easier).  While we were waiting I felt my phone vibrate and saw I had a text from Matt.  Apparently he had given Kaylee his iPhone to play with.  We have an app on there that is like a coloring book.  She opened up a picture of a cow and was going to town on it.  While she colors she’s talking to herself, “here is is tail, and here is his pee-pee.”

Matt was a little stunned to hear his darling daughter talk about a cow’s “pee-pee” so he asked her why she was drawing that.  She pointed to the cows udder and said, “because that pink thing is his pee-pee.”  She was so darn serious with her answer that he couldn’t help but laugh, then text me the entire interaction.

I couldn’t help but chuckle as well.  Though it made me realize that Kaylee might need a few more lessons in animal physiology.  While we’ve covered multiple times that we eat cows, we’ve obviously never talked about their anatomy.  Like how that pink thing isn’t a pee-pee, it’s an udder.  Oh and possibly the fact that if it has an udder it’s a girl cow, not a boy cow.  And while we’re at it I might want to cover that it’s not a girl cow and a boy cow as much as it’s a heifer and a bull.

Truth be told I haven’t really covered this subject with any of my children.  To be honest, the subject never came up.  It makes me wonder what the boys think “that pink thing” is for.  I wonder if they’d ever look at a glass of milk the same if they knew that was the device that delivered it to us.

Not that they don’t know milk comes from cows.  In fact, a few weeks ago at the grocery store Brendan and I had a very strange conversation.  Or at least strange for those catching snippets of it as we wandered through the aisles.  I can’t quite remember how we got onto the subject to begin with but Brendan wanted to know how butter and cheese were made.  Now, I have absolutely no idea how they’re made in the modern day and age but I’ve ready my Little House on the Prarie series enough that I have a good inking of how those things were made 150 years ago.

So I walked him through the process of how they’d go outside and milk the cow and then let the milk sit out overnight.  He was quite grossed out by this because (as he said) the milk would go rotten if they didn’t stick it into the refrigerator.  When I explained that they didn’t have refrigerators way back when he was shocked.  “But how did they keep their stuff cold?”  They didn’t.  I didn’t have the heart to tell him that air conditioning is a modern convenience as well.  Thought I’d save that one for another day.

But that did lead me to the explanation about butchering their animals.  I told him that they waited until the weather was consistently cold enough to keep the meat frozen for the winter and those meats that they ate the rest of the year were dried so they wouldn’t rot since they couldn’t be kept cold in the spring and summer.  He began asking how they knew the weather would stay cold when we couldn’t even predict the weather into next week, and the truth is I have no idea.  I’m sure they just guessed and possibly sometimes guessed wrong, but what do I know I have modern conveniences like a freezer, and a meteorologist.

Back on the cheese and butter I went through the whole thing about letting the cream rise and skimming it off the top of the milk.  He was quite disgusted by this thought, then intrigued.  “So cow’s make whipped cream right in their milk?”  Well not exactly.  They make cream, we add sugar and all sorts of fats and preservatives to make what Brendan thinks is whipped cream.

But when I actually got into the churning of the butter he was enamored.  He couldn’t believe that the yellow stuff he spreads onto his bread is made of nothing more than milk by-products whipped until it turns solid.  Again I didn’t have the heart to explain that we actually use margarine on our bread and that it’s made from much less desirable things than milk by-products.  I didn’t learn that until I was older, and it didn’t hurt me any.

Cheese was a little harder to explain because it’s been a while since I’ve read my books and I can’t remember the whole process.  What I do know is that they start with something similar to modern day cottage cheese, put it into a cheese hoop and squeeze all the liquid out, leaving cheese behind.  Brendan, who has no love for cottage cheese, was more than a little grossed out by that prospect as well.

Despite his revulsion on a lot of these processes he’s really quite interested in how things worked “back in the day.”  He knows nothing but modern conveniences.  It shocks him to learn that when daddy and I grew up there were no such things as computers or cell phones.  Or that his grandparents are old enough to remember getting their first TV sets.  He just can’t imagine life without all of these electronic devices making his life simpler.

I’m really thinking that when we finish up the Harry Potter series (should be by Thanksgiving I think!  We’re finally over halfway through the last book) we might just need to take a quick foray into the Little House series.  I’m not entirely sure he will like it enough to get through the entire series, but the first book is really the one that talks about how they survived without modern conveniences anyway so that would be the one he’d want to read.

I’ll have to ponder on that a little more, and see how much interest he shows in the subject before I decide.


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