Whoops I Ate a Pony

October 14th, 2010  |  by  |  Published in Uncategorized

my-little-pony-meat-18480-1275512376-4Only at the end of last night’s dinner of oxtail stew did we finally understand what Nico, our two-year-old, had been happily prattling on about: he thought he had been eating a pony.

“It’s not  a pony?” he asked. He finished the sentence with the same exaggerated uptilt he puts on the end of all questions, a verbal tick that makes us want to flash-freeze him at this moment of seemingly insuperable cuteness. “Not a horsie?”

I’ve had my own well-chronicled adventures with meat, and even with horsemeat–a Pferdewurst with mustard was a favored hangover cure when I was in high school in Germany, and I know the horse-platter at Chaikhona in Moscow to be pretty fantastic.

But in this case I was slightly disturbed by my son. Horses are by far Nico’s favorite animal. He sleeps with a stuffed horse, which still has the tiny hospital bracelet the nurse put on it when Nico went for surgery last month. He has been known to wake up from this sleep whining, mama, can I ride a pony? He claps and hoots and shouts each time we pass a horse carriage in Central Park, and I never thought it was because he was hungry. And yet, he was completely insouciant during dinner last night, popping big fatty bites of what he thought was horsemeat in his mouth, then laughing, then eating more.

My second thought was a little more confusing. How much of life was like this for him? How little did he actually understand what was happening to him in a given moment? Maybe he was more in the dark more often than we thought, not understanding what we’re saying about why we’re leaving or where we’re going or what we’re eating.

Because babies can understand much earlier than they can speak, and because they are born with such wide, wise eyes, I tend to think that they understand just about everything. This illusion is only heightened by Nico’s habit of answering yes to just about any question, the way I do in a country where I don’t speak the language.

But if that’s the case–if he’s often eating beef and thinking it’s horse–it’s also remarkable how calm he is about it. It’s no secret that two-year-olds get wired and frustrated when they can’t express themselves. But when they can’t or don’t understand something, it seems that they are more than happy to let their imagination fill in the blanks. There’s no pressing, no exasperation. Just happy fictions and half-truths humming along in their minds, as they laugh and preen and eat another bite of delicious pony.


Leave a Response

tips/suggestions/grievances

Recent Comments

  • Dee: As one of the impressed moms there last night, and also because my kid ate 3 bowls of that bolognese, thanks for...
  • Drew Wallner via Facebook: I’m totally making this when we get back from holiday travel, I even just got a...
  • Matt: Whoops! Just put that back in. The recipe editor has been fired.
  • Ed Lilly: Looks great – thanks for posting! One question – you did not specify putting the meat back into...
  • Maks: I’m against baby yoga for sure, but want to say something regarding that author is a little wild about...

DadWagon Reads!

DadWagon

Wedgie time for this one.

Entertaining Stuff

Impossible

Jun 23rd 8:15pm • No Comments

I mean, who doesn't let their kids eat popsicles in bed?

It's Like They Know Us — “Sure, sometimes after a long day of modeling my...

itsliketheyknowus.com

“Sure, sometimes after a long day of modeling my spectacular abs on Instagram I don’t feel like putting my entire family into bikinis for bath time - but as parents, we must make sacrifices."

Jun 9th 1:33pm • No Comments

Honestly, shouldn't we just put all teenagers in prison, regardless of whether they've committed any crimes at all?

This Is Insane: House Passes Law Calling For Mandatory 15-Year Prison Sentences for Half of All Teenagers

thestranger.com

Elizabeth Nolan Brown at Reason: Teens who text each other explicit images could be subject to 15 years in federal prison under a new bill that just passed the House of Representatives.... Most of the opposition centered on the bill's effective expansion of mandatory-minimum prison sentences. One vo...

Jun 2nd 12:58pm • No Comments