Last week was a busy week for birthday parties, and there will be more coming up in
the next couple months. Now that LP is almost five, he has been to enough birthday parties to know what to expect. He looks forward to games, activities, craft, singing and cake. He knows whose birthday it is and wants to know which of his preschool friends will be there. In short, it ends up being fun for both of us.
However, we have now officially moved into the realm of navigating non-vegan events with a vegan child who is old enough to figure out that there are some things offered that we don’t eat. When we first started going to parties I made a point of making something special, like cupcakes, so that he wouldn’t feel left out. It was more work for me, but I was very conscious of making sure that LP didn’t feel like he was missing out. This week I didn’t have it in me to make cupcakes of my own volition, so I asked LP what kind of treat he wanted to bring to the first party. He picked Girl Scout cookies (Thin Mints are vegan now!! Yeehaw!!). So, we went to the party with three girl scout cookies in a bag, and he was thrilled. He munched on the thoughtful vegan snacks that the birthday girl’s family set out (hummus and carrots, strawberries and blueberries). And after we all sang Happy Birthday and the birthday girl blew out her candles he turned to me and said excitedly “Can I have my cookies now?”
For the next birthday party he chose to bring cookies again, except this time they were the Super Charge Me cookies he had made himself. While the other kids at pizza, fruit and veggies LP just loaded up his plate with strawberries, blueberries and tomatoes. I snuck some carrots on there, but then he made me eat them instead. Once again, as the cake was being passed out, LP happily munched on his cookies.
It’s easy to project my own hangups on my kids. I often worry about fitting in, and I definitely have the experience of eating out as a vegan being super awkward. This week I was glad to see that, so far, LP doesn’t seem to be worried about it. It doesn’t shock me that he sees being vegan as no big deal, because it is all he has ever known. The fact that he seems to take it in stride that other people aren’t vegan and that he might opt out of some party treats makes me happy. This is not to say that he doesn’t appreciate it when there are vegan things for him. Whenever we go somewhere and people make something vegan he usually says “that was nice of them!” This week his preschool will have Wacky Wednesday and he will be thrilled to have the same waffles as everyone else because our community is so kind about making things vegan.
But this week I learned that he was OK with being the kid with fruit on his plate instead
of pizza. And that he relished his special cookie treats when the other kids had cake. I think my 5 year old has a better handle on this “vegan in social situations” thing than I ever have.