My husband and I are raising our daughter vegetarian. We figure that at some point she'll be old enough to decide for herself whether she wants to continue being vegetarian, but for now it makes sense for her to eat like us.
I realize that raising a vegetarian child could become complicated at times. Nevertheless, I continue to be surprised at the ways in which it's complicated. Now that our daughter is four years old, we've started talking to her about what the word "vegetarian" means. We mostly do this so she won't accidentally trade her cheese ravioli for somebody else's ham sandwich at preschool. These discussions have made an impact, and we're happy that she seems to understand what we're telling her. Still, our talks have led to some. . . well. . . side effects.
Let me explain. On our trip to Maui we stayed in a condo complex with a really nice grill area right next to one of the pools. We frequently swam in the late afternoon, just us many of our neighbors fired up the grills for their evening meal. One night the grill area was particularly crowded because a tour group was eating together. All of a sudden our daughter turned towards the group munching on hot dogs and hamburgers, pointed her adorable little finger at them in the most accusatory manner possible, and then loudly announced, "Look, Mommy. They're eating MEAT....ooooooooooooooh! We don't eat meat, do we?"
I'm sure I blushed. Then my hubby and I chuckled a little, and we quickly lured our daughter back to the other side of the pool. As usual, we're going to have to make some adjustments to how we explain this topic. It's not that eating meat is gross, it's just that we don't do it. So how do you teach this to a four-year-old? How do you explain that it's us that are the weird ones, not the rest of the world? Afterall, most of our friends and family are meat-eaters.
I guess this is a work in progress. If you know any secrets to tackling this little problem, please share!