Freakin’ ‘Tarians: 30 Days of Vegetarianism Continues
Bryan and I are now on our 12th of 30 days of vegetarianism, and things are mostly going swimmingly, with only the occasional flailing of willpower. For him, the biggest temptation has been the fried chicken he’s so often confronted with (north-central Florida is very much the South); for me, it’s not so much been the bacon as it’s been the seafood (Florida is very much a peninsula). But really, the biggest obstacle hasn’t been the mild temptations or even the dining out– it’s the kids.
Our 12-year-old son is a real meat-and-potatoes guy. When he was in preschool, he so loved his Michelina’s meatloaf and mashed potatoes frozen dinners (lay off– we were young parents) that he composed a song: Meatloaf and meatloaf and MAAAAASHED potatoes! So that coupled with the fact that he’s a wretchedly hormonal tween means he’s taken our 30-day veg-out with all the grace of a cat in a rain shower.
Our nine-year-old daughter has secretly been enjoying the switch-up, but she makes a good show of disgust and defiance because she will go to great lengths to be contrary to me. I resorted to soy crumbles far earlier in the game than I’d intended, and my admission of this fact brought on a delightful torrent of “that’s what she said” and “if you know what I mean”:
Made it exactly 3 days without using fake meat. Morningstar, you temptress, you. #30daysofvegetarianism
— Tamára Lunardo (@tamaraoutloud) July 27, 2011
I didn’t tell the children they were eating spaghetti with meat sauce; if they made assumptions, that would be their problem. But I also didn’t tell them they were eating spaghetti with soy-crumble sauce. They ate their dinner and even thanked me for and complimented me on it. I was so pleased– and then hubris ruined the whole event. I let them know that what they’d just so genuinely enjoyed was not meat but veggie. The nine-year-old led a chorus of “Eeeew!” and “Groooss!”
A few days later, after observing her dad pass up not only fried chicken but also crock pot meatballs at a party, our seven-year-old daughter suspected that perhaps he was under duress and snuck him this note of encouragement:
Even the little ones have it in for us. The leader of our two-and-a-half-year-old identical duo began offering Bryan fake food, to which he responded within the confines of his new identity:
“Want hot dog?”
“No, thanks. I’m vegetarian.”
“No, thanks. I’m vegetarian.”
And, as the follower twin is wont to do, she began imitating her sister so that over the course of several days Bryan became bombarded with precocious toddler accusations and taunts. Soon the word had morphed into “freakin’ ‘tarian” with an audible pause between the fragments that perfectly echoed the derision with which they were spoken. I managed to avoid association with the term for a while, but Bryan soon tired of being the twins’ only object of contempt and tipped them off.
I’ll get to escape the taunts and tantrums in less than a week when I go to a conference in Maryland with some fellow church members. But I’ve already made plans to be thoroughly pissed off at any of my travel companions who dine on the state’s famous crab cakes without me.
Thanks to everyone who voted on the series’ name last week. I’m pleased to announce that 63% of you share my brand of humor– “30 Days to Beat the Meat” was the winner. I’ll probably use “The 30-Day Veg-Out” if this bad boy becomes an article, but we can all have a good laugh with the other title right here on the blog.
So tell me, how badly am I going to be missing out on those Maryland crab cakes?
And– please, it’ll make me feel better– what awful names do your kids call you?