August 21, 2010 | 6 Comments »
This post isn’t exactly about food (not food porn anyway) and to tell you the truth it might be a little off as I’m so sick I’m seeing double. But I really want to get this out there.
Ethan has officially started kindergarten. The topic of whether he would be eating school lunch or bringing one from home came up several times. You see, just a few weeks ago Ethan came up to me and said “Mommy, I don’t want meat no more. I’m going vegans like you.” My heart melted. Juan assumed he didn’t know what he was talking about and went and bought a pizza later that night. Ethan picked off all of the pepperoni and ate his meat-less pizza. Juan was surprised.
I tried converting Ethan last year and was quite successful, but shortly after moving here he sort of fell off track. I never wanted to push veganism on him. Lots of people would argue that he’s a kid and should do as I say. Well, he’s a person too you know. And in our household we discuss things as a family. I never force my food choices on anyone. Sure, I’d love it if everyone went vegan with me. But I want them to do it on their terms. Not mine. After all when I made the choice to go vegan they supported me 100%. It’s only fair that I show them the same respect for their food choices. Even if I don’t agree with it.
Ever since that day Ethan has in fact been eating vegan. So Juan and I talked it out and Juan thought it would be a good idea for Ethan to eat at school. I told him even if he brought his own lunch he’d still be eating at school. Then he said he didn’t want kids to make fun of him for eating weird food. What exactly IS weird food? Vegan food is just that. FOOD. There’s nothing weird about it. I decided to leave the decision up to Ethan. He’s a kid, yes, I get that. But he’s capable of making his own decisions when it comes to food. He knows what he likes and doesn’t like. I asked him “Ethan, do you want to eat the lunch the school makes or what mommy makes?” He said “Does the school lunch have cows in it?” I said “Yes, baby. It does.” He said “Yuck! I want what you make, mommy!” Juan surprisingly shook his head and agreed that he knew exactly what he wanted.
Keep in mind that I never walk around here talking about how ground beef = cows and chicken is an actual live creature etc. He picked up on that on his own. He’s a smart kid.
Today it was all put to the test. When Ethan came home from school I asked him if he felt sad about his food. He said no and said that it was yummy. Juan was also afraid that he’d feel left out. But I happily make the vegan equivalent to everything his class gets to eat. Right down to the pop tarts for breakfast. His of course will be gelatin free. I include fresh fruit as opposed to the school’s sugary fruit cups, dairy free cheddar crackers as opposed to chips, organic juice as opposed to milk, etc. He loved it. I know he did because his laptop lunch box was EMPTY when he got home. The only thing he didn’t eat was the apple because he gave it to his teacher. How fricken cute is that?
Here’s what surprised me. During snack time the teacher handed out milk and brownies. He asked the teacher if it was cow’s milk. When she said yes he told her he doesn’t drink cow’s milk and so she went and got him a water. He did eat the brownie, but informed me that it didn’t have milk. I’m sure it did, but I’m not going to freak out over every little thing. He’s becoming aware of the food he’s putting in his mouth now and that’s what matters most to me. The boy has made me so proud. I had tears in my eyes when he told me he informed the teacher that cow’s milk is bad and hurts the cows. He made my life. Seriously.
I’m going to pick up some shelf stable soy milk boxes for whenever they have snacks. Apparently the teachers can’t heat up or cool anything that’s brought from home. I can put it in a small bag with a freezer pack for him. One thing for sure is that he doesn’t feel left out. Not one bit. He doesn’t look at his food as weird. He sees it just as it is. Food.
Maybe the day will come when my little guy decides that he doesn’t want to eat vegan anymore. But for now he’s doing it and he’s doing good.