A few weeks ago my son, all three years and 10 months of him, declared himself vegetarian.
We posed questions to him trying to determine if he really had any notion of what "vegetarian" means. He told us it meant that he didn't like meat.
Being a former vegetarian (though I never gave up fish), I corrected him that it meant that the person doesn't eat meat. I know a few vegetarians who still admit that a nice thick juicy prime rib is still awfully good and very tempting sometimes.
He then told us, "I am a vegetarian, and I don't eat meat."
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I am pretty sure this is a case of karma. See, when I was in graduate school, one of the other students explained to all of us first-year students that she was vegan and had been since she was three years old. She kind of drove us all up the wall a little (for different and random reasons), and I remember saying to myself (and maybe to others), "No way does a 3-year-old declare themselves vegan!" See - has to be a karma thing. Consider me bitten.
I asked at his preschool if there was a vegetarian student. (He also recently started declaring himself allergic to everything. Coincidentally, there are a few "allergic to everything" students.)
His teacher asked if he meant "veterinarian" as some kids are talking about what they want to be when they grow up. I explained that nope, he has the context of vegetarian reasonably correct.
Sure enough. During the past few weeks, the meats he will eat are dropping off the radar. He has never been a big meat eater, but even hot dogs and chicken nuggets are not often acceptable sources of protein. I am clinging to turkey deli meat, salami and pepperoni. And we did have recent success with king crab... though king crab is not making its way onto my weekly menu. (Both because of the price and the horrible guilt I feel when my husband insists on watching The Deadliest Catch.) My son is lucky I suppose. As a former vegetarian myself, I understand nutritional requirements and alternate sources of protein. I don't really have a problem with him not eating meat if that is really what he chooses — though my Alaskan husband might. Yep, he is lucky I understand all this and don't fall for his ploys of "I don't eat meat Mommy. Can I have fruit snacks?"