Our family was vegetarian for many years, from shortly before the time Eggmaster and I got married. Our wedding reception was vegetarian. I was vegetarian throughout my first pregnancy, and Violet was a vegetarian child for about 6 years.
As Victoria is proud to tell anyone in earshot, she was one primary cause of us dropping the label and picking up the chicken leg. And eventually the burger and the bacon. (Though we’ve dropped the burgers again, unless we grind the beef at home.)
Violet barely remembers being vegetarian, but she has decided to be a vegetarian for Lent. I won’t comment on her success so far, but I find myself thinking and saying all the things I used to think were so ridiculous: “What will you eat instead?” “Where will you get your protein?” I give myself a pass because she is (almost) 12, and she needs calories, protein, and fat on a consistent basis to keep growing healthily — not just growing surlier and more tired. Six years, and it is as if I had never been a vegetarian myself.
Victoria loves meat with wild abandon, and she wears her “vegetarianism killer” status with a great deal of pride. Steak is her very favorite thing — in fact, I believe I have convinced her to forgo a big birthday party this spring in order to have a steak dinner with a couple of chosen friends instead. That is the power of steak.
I never expected to be serving my kids steak even five years ago. Five years ago, almost to the day, I was still getting used to the idea that we were about to embark on a homeschooling adventure — yet another possibility I had never considered. Still, “Relaxed” homeschooling fit my personality perfectly. A little reading today, a little math tomorrow, a lot of days at the park — it’s all good. Textbooks, rote memorization, gold stars? Ha! No way. We were free and easy. School stuff was losers who couldn’t relax unless they reproduced school at home — suckers!
Sigh . . .
I am learning what all parents should learn, which is that feeling confident is a sure sign of blissful ignorance. My little Victoria has “memory issues” and simply cannot call up small facts. She can tell you everything that has ever happened in our family, so long as it can be a rambling narrative, she remembers everything she reads in great detail, and if you are looking for something she is the person to ask, but note names and math facts disappear out of her head with (genuinely) alarming speed. Before we address this professionally, we are trying a more traditional approach.
The Dreaded Flashcards.
They worked so well for note reading that I had to give them a try for math. We have a chart. We set goals. We give prizes for the goals. This gives me tiny fits every day. This is not who I am.
But of course it is. I’m whoever shows up that day, and hopefully that person is reasonably useful. I provide cottage cheese for the preteen vegetarian (with a side of bacon) and make steak after the unschooly 7yo hits her math goals three times. I cannot make all that cohere any better than the lentil-walnut patties I used to make ten years ago. It’s tempting to read that as hypocritical and weak-willed, but I’m going to try to stick with flexible and creative.