The Man is a vegetarian. I am decidedly not, and I am anti-vegetarianism when it comes to children. I'm sure there are plenty of vegetarian parents who raise perfectly healthy kids, with very balanced diets and plenty of proteins, but the research I'd have to do to make that happen in my world is way more than I care to manage. I know how to raise omnivores, and I'm ok with that.
Meanwhile, if it weren't for me, I'm pretty sure that the Man would live on pasta and muffins. Well, ok, there would be yogurt, eggs and cheese, too, but he is not a very vegetably vegetarian. I try to provide healthier options for him, and I'm pretty good at always incorporating vegetables into the meal. My kids, all three of them, are really good about eating vegetables. Small loves butternut squash soup, for example, and salads with no dressing.
She also, however, likes cheeseburgers. She likes them so much, in fact, that her fourth birthday party was cheeseburger themed, right down to the cheeseburger cupcakes
She is not a huge fan of steaks, and other meats that are hard for her to chew, but she enjoys bacon as much as the next girl, and really appreciates a good piece of fried chicken.
As anyone who knows her can attest, though, she is the penultimate Daddy's girl. Daddy is king of the world. He's very smart (knows everything about black holes!) and extra tall. She is like him in so many ways, it is not surprising that she sometimes considers emulating his dietary choices.
Yesterday, she said to me, "When I grow up, I'm going to be a veggie-tarian."
I looked at her askance. She was eating a chicken tender, really relishing it. I asked her why she was thinking about that, and she said that she really does not like to eat animals. I pointed out her cheeseburger affection, and the chicken in her hand, and I may have mentioned bacon.
Her response? "Well, I don't like to eat pets."
I told her that was probably fine, that people do not generally eat their pets. She countered that some people eat hamsters, (by which she actually meant guinea pigs), and other people eat cats and dogs. I confirmed that this is true, but told her she was not in much danger of eating those things, since no one we know has that sort of dietary practice.
She asked me if anyone eats turtles or frogs. I told her that yes, people do, and they also eat alligators. I explained that, especially in the days before grocery stores were so prevalent, people needed to figure out how to eat whatever was within their reach. For people in certain swampy environments, that sometimes meant that they learned to eat frogs, turtles, and alligators. Then I asked her, what would she eat if she lived in a swamp?
She thought for a minute, and then said, "Lettuce. I'd find where some lettuce was growing, and eat that. Because vegetables like lettuce grown everywhere."
I let it go. I don't know whether lettuce grows in the swamp, but anyway, it's pretty pointless to argue with someone who already has it all figured out.