Friday, June 13, 2008

My daughter, the vegetarian (24 weeks)

I remember the day that I started hating my hair. I was about 6 years old and my grandmother asked me what I thought about it: “Do you think your hair is regular or coarse?” she asked, brushing my hair to the side in the guest bedroom of her house.

At 6, my hair wasn’t something I ever gave much thought ( I do remember thinking that however my grandmother was styling my hair at that moment was really ugly) I didn’t know the meaning of coarse so I responded “Regular.”

“I think its coarse.” She said. Although I didn’t know what coarse meant, I could tell by her tone of voice that coarse=bad, or at least something worse than regular. From that moment I felt like my hair was “bad” for about the next 15 years. Once I realized that there was nothing wrong with my hair I told myself that I would try to avoid making those comments that would scar my child for life.

Fast forward to 2008. Kya is online in the living room, playing a game where she is catching pigs to slaughter them and chop them into sausages. After watching this for about 30 seconds I tell her to turn it off because it seems inappropriate. About 30 minutes later we are sitting at the dining room table, eating the pork chops that I had made for dinner. Just trying to make conversation, I say to Kya:

“As much as you love animals, I’m surprised you would play a game where you kill pigs.”

And the scarring begins.

Kya looks down sadly into her plate. Steve looks at me with his eyebrows raised and a face that asks “why would you say that?” I am bewildered. My daughter cries hysterically at SPCA commercials and includes animals in her prayers every night. I thought it fairly reasonable that I would be surprised at her murdering animals for fun.

“Well at least you were killing pigs and not cats and dogs or something.” I say, trying to make the situation better.

It doesn’t work. Kya starts crying. Steve tells me to shut up loudly under his breath.

“I don’t want to eat animals anymore. I’m going to be a vegetarian.” Kya says. I tell her that she needs to eat her food.
“But its pig!!” She says.
“Its not pig. Its hog.” I say. Trying to minimize the damage.
“Isn’t a hog still an animal.” She asks
“Yes,” I say,” but a hog is a bad animal. Hogs eat little animals. They kill cats.”
Kya looks horrified
“Hogs are bad. The more we eat them the better.” Steve says, finally on my side.

The rest of the dinner is filled with questions: “Do hogs kill dogs? Will it fight a tiger? Will it eat a squirrel?’ She eats what she now thinks is an evil hog but vows that starting the next day she will not eat any meat. I thought that it would be about a day long phase but surprisingly she has stuck to it for a few weeks. So now I wonder, 15 years from now will she remember this moment as the day her mother made her hate meat?

(Oh and I'm having a boy!!!)