Saturday, February 28, 2009

Rex and the Crisis of Conscience

We spent the afternoon examining fossils and how they are created.  One of our field trips, recently, was to the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History, where we gawked at the wonderful exhibit of all things dinosaur, and so we were continuing in that vein yesterday.  Our readings led us to Sue, the largest, most complete T. Rex skeleton ever discovered.  Sue is a Tyrannosaurus Rex - the favorite of boys across the globe.  I thought she'd make a nice art project, too.

And she did.

IMG_0002 (1)




I haven't quite finished mine, yet.


Onto the crisis of conscience.  It's not mine, for once - it belongs to the elder bug.  Here's the thing...

We went to the grocery store yesterday - a new one, actually.  I was so excited to find it, because the produce department was enormous and exceedingly well-stocked.  I've not been really happy with the other stores I've been to so far.  We half filled our basket before we moved on from produce.  At the seafood counter, there were many selections (although no flounder, which was disappointing), including some whole fish, packaged right alongside the filets.  Now, I'm sure that the boys have seen whole fish at the seafood counter before, and they've certainly seen them on the docks when we've been to Hatteras and watched the fishing fleets come in, right before we walked into the market and ordered a couple of pounds of shrimp and red snapper.

This time, however, something hit Doodlebug - right in his gut.  He's my sensitive one.  He loves animals.  He cried when Benji was knocked out by bad guys.  We couldn't finish watching March of the Penguins, because he was so upset that the sea lion had eaten one of the mama penguins and that meant that her baby would die.  He still can't talk about Ben

Somehow, though, it had escaped his moral core that the cheeseburgers that he eats (at every restaurant we go to) mean that a cow had to die.  It totally sucker-punched him.  He made that connection as we walked from the seafood counter over to the beef.  He stared at that red meat and grew a little pale.  He looked at me, eyes filling with tears, and said he wanted to be alone for a little while.  We finished our shopping trip with him walking morosely up and down the aisles.  He said he might want to be a veterinarian.

"An animal doctor?" I asked.  "You'd be a wonderful veterinarian."

He looked at me strangely.  "No, mom.  Someone who doesn't eat meat."

"That's a vegetarian, son.  Not a veterinarian."

"Oh.  A vegetarian, then.  I could just eat salads and fruit."

I told him we could talk about it - that we would have to come up with some protein substitutes and then his eyes glazed over and he wandered off to look at the doughnuts.  Dr. SmartyPants made hamburgers for  supper.  Doodlebug ate his fries and baked beans and about two bites of the hamburger.  This child has never left any portion of a hamburger on his plate.  Ever.

This morning, as per our usual Saturday morning tradition, Dr. SmartyPants made pancakes and bacon, and we all enjoyed those along with some delicious cantaloupe from the new grocery store.  After breakfast, I asked D about his grocery store conversion and he said he was still thinking about not eating meat.  I reminded him that he had eaten all his bacon at breakfast.

"I don't like pigs," he stated, emphatically.

So.  Apparently, if he doesn't like the animal, he can eat it.  That means cows and chickens are out, because he likes them.  Eggs are okay because the chicken doesn't have to die to produce it.  Same with milk.  He remains undecided about fish..  I told him I was making chili soup for supper and he requested that I make some without the meat in it for him.  I think there may be a lot of pork chops in our future.

It should be interesting to see how long it lasts.  Is this the start of  a lifelong eating trend, or just a normal reaction to a sudden realization?  Anyone else out there have a little wanna-be vegetarian in their household?  I want to respect his wishes, but still make sure he's eating well - but I love me some meat.  If anyone has advice...I'd love to hear it!