04 Jun Raising a Vegan Toddler
Opinion piece by Michael Hitchcock – Originally posted on Stuff.co.nz here.
Roosters are well known for waking us at the crack of dawn, yet have you ever wondered who wakes them? After a four year investigation I’m almost certain that this is a child’s role.
We live in the suburbs, and lacking a rooster, I was the one woken before sunrise this morning.
Last night we read a book about puffins so our first activity for the day was to watch a Go, Diego, Go! docudrama about them.
This was followed by Weet-Bix for breakfast (Ames’ current record is five in one sitting), and a quick walk around the block to look for some Pokémon before the rain arrived.
While our usual wet weather haunt is the museum, a recent fascination with the planet Saturn saw us visiting the Auckland Observatory for the afternoon.
The truth is, raising a vegan child is not really any different to raising any other child. Still, I am often asked, “is it hard raising a vegan child?”.
Yes, it is hard. There are the fights when he wants to wear his t-shirt as pants, races around the home when it’s bed time, or tears when one of us is tired, and the other of us cuts the toast into squares instead of triangles. Raising a vegan child is hard; because raising a child is hard.
When I think about what foods I can cook, and what Ames does not eat, animal products simply don’t cross my mind.
Like most parents, I am more concerned with producing meals that will be eaten with minimal resistance, are quick to prepare without creating too many dishes, and trying to hide the onion and capsicum that Ames doesn’t enjoy.
If anything, raising a vegan toddler may even be easier.
There is no need for moral gymnastics as I tell my child off for pulling the cats tail while simultaneously frying a chicken’s breast for him to eat.
When he has the opportunity to feed a calf, I can sleep soundly that night, knowing his new best friend is more than a waste product of the dairy industry, bound for the slaughterhouse.
And if we’re all being honest there’s nothing more that any parent wants than a good night’s sleep.
Top photo by Alex Bez©
Bottom photo supplied by Author, Michael Hitchcock© (rescued calf).