2.19.2011

When's the right time to have "the talk?" No ... not THAT one.

Normally, I'm a much bigger fan of winter than summer. While part of it is because my body is much more sweater-friendly than too-short shorts and string bikini styles, a lot of it has to do with the fact that I absolutely detest being hot. I'd pick teeth chattering cold over dripping sweat heat.

But the weather this week, has been nearly perfect. I consider any temperatures in the 50s to 60s to be the ultimate weather. You can shorts and long sleeves, short sleeves and pants and you throw on a few layers if you're feeling daring.

Pearyn seems to be enjoying the weather as much as I have. In addition to feeling a little more free in her thin leggings and flowy tops, we've started to go for long strolls around the neighborhood. Today we walked to a park and watched older kids play, geese chase smaller birds away from the man made lake and checked out a few creepy "art" pieces dotting the area. Pearyn was apparently made to be outside, because the second I strapped her into her stroller and started our trek she began babbling and giggling at everything.


In addition to loving the outdoors, Pearyn has become a huge fan of the kitchen and all things revolving around it. When she's not crawling into the dishwasher she's trying desperately to pull open cupboards or open the fridge. We decided to invest in some of the fridge magnets so that we could actually cook in our kitchen without a tiny pair of arms pulling at our pants leg or tackling some over-adventurous, non-kid approved feat.

We were a little torn when it came to picking out magnets, as there are very few selections when it comes to the Vtech learning kind. You can either pick the word spelling ones (even though they're only three-letter words they still seem a bit advanced for a nine month old), alphabet ones (which use phonics to introduce the letters -- something I'm not thrilled about because that's been rumored to hinder reading) and the farm animal kind. Now this may seem like a no brainer to most. It's a nine month old little girl who has no idea what the alphabet is or how to spell bat, but she does know that a cow "moos."

I went with the alphabet.


For some reason, putting the magnets of happy farm animals on our fridge just doesn't seem very vegan to me. It's no secret that very few farm animals live long, happy, kids book, picturesque lives, so it just seems like I'm feeding into the lie if I start putting up these seemingly happy future hamburgers on the fridge. I know I'm completely over analyzing things, if a cow is ever just a cow or a chicken just a chicken (not food, not a pet, not a sentient being), it's when you're nine months old. Regardless, it doesn't feel right.

At any rate, all this rambling is headed in a direction, I promise. I've started to battle with myself how we're going to teach our lifestyle to our little girl. Will we focus on the positive health benefits only until she's old enough to know the real horror (is anyone ever really "old enough" to hear about the cruel and downright inhumane treatment animals receive before becoming steak?)? Is it possible to introduce a tiny bit of the morale behind veganism without all the gore?

My mother is a big fan of the "health benefits" spiel, mainly because she doesn't think it's fair to teach a kid the horrors of the world so early. And while I can most definitely see where she's coming from, I worry that focusing on the "health benefits" won't be enough to get Pearyn through the tough times. Being a vegan at the age of 25 is still difficult, I can't imagine what it will be like for an eight year old in school.

It almost feels like you have to know the morals behind veganism, because those are really the foundation of the lifestyle. It has nothing to do with the many, many health perks of going animal-free, it's about being able to say you're an animal lover and not feeling like a hypocrite because you love some but eat others. It's about having a free conscience because you're not contributing to such an awful, icky industry. It's about so much more than just having clean arteries.

Unfortunately for Pearyn, we don't know what the right answers are to these questions. All we can do is experience them and learn from them together.


1 comment:

  1. We are raising our 12 month old strict vegetarian (possibly vegan). We've decided that our approach is going to be starting with "we don't eat animals" when he shows interest in a food he can't have. Later when he asks why we will say "because a "animal" had to die for that food". Eventually when he starts to push wanting to try the food we will go more into the details. We will be homeschooling though so I'm not sure if the same approach will work out of you or not.

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