“Are you the butcher?” H asks me, a mischievous happiness spreading across his face. His crinkled eyes sparkle.

He has nestled himself between two open cabinet doors, closing them as far as his little body will allow. This is a game we play, the doors a stand in for the squeeze chute he knows cows go through before they are stunned and slaughtered.

“Are you Mathilda?” I smile at him.

Our eyes meet, and for a second we are silent. I do not know what he needs or gets from this play, but the frequency with which he initiates it signals its importance. I trust he knows what he needs, and although it is not a game I would choose, I play along.

“I’m the butcher,” I tell him, picking up the beat.

“Yeah, but I’m not a butchering cow. I’m an information cow.”

I smile. I’m spared, at least this time, from playing at butchering my child in the guise of Mathilda the cow. And I am amused at how much a child of his times he is. An information cow, indeed.


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