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Not an issue for a while, but.. (meat related)

post #1 of 99
Thread Starter 
*DD is only four months old*

I am vegetarian and plan not to feed DD meat until she is old enough to understand what it is, where it comes from, and can make the decision herself.

DH eats meat and totally agrees with me that our kids will not eat it as infants, toddlers, or until they can make the choice. My parents are also meat eaters and they are supportive in that they think, "She's your kid. Tell us what to feed her and that's what we'll do."

Right now all she gets is breastmilk and the occasional taste of something on the end of my finger (please, lets not have a virgin gut conversation ). I didn't think we would have to even THINK about this meat vs. no meat topic for years. However, I am already having to defend my right to choose her food.

MIL has made the following comments in the past couple of weeks:

"You see Granny's hamburger? You'll have to come to Granny's house to be able to eat hamburgers."

"Yummm...bacon. Bacon is yummy yummy in your tummy, Ada."

"Ooh, we'll have to get you some chicken baby food, you know, the organic kind so Mommy doesn't have a fit."

and to me, when I said (in response to the hamburger comment), "Yeah, maybe when she's 8 or 10. IF its grass fed Kentucky hormone free hamburgers."

"Really, you can't expect us to not give her ANY meat until shes 8 years old"

Actually, I do. I'm not trying to put any sort of age limit on it really. We live in a very rural environment. I figure if we are buying meat from our neighbors, and she knows that its a cow/chicken/goat/ect that she used to be able to see out the window, and she wants to eat it anyway..Im not going to stop her. I'm not trying to make anyone feel bad for eating meat, but I will NEVER feed my kid chicken baby food. (or really, hardly any baby food)

What can I say to these comments if they keep coming?
post #2 of 99
"I am serious that I do not want DD to eat meat until I think she is old enough to make her own decision as to whether or not it is humane. I would never leave DD with someone if I thought that they would disrespect my parenting choices. I'm sure you are just joking, but I find it offensive."
post #3 of 99
Tell Granny if she expects your DD be left at her house she better not be sneaking her meat and undermining your decisions. That's horrid. I kind of know what you are going through. With us it was high fructose corn syrup and beef hot dogs, stuff like that. It's like our MIL has this blanket trust of corporate-produced food, scarcely ever reading a label or questioning the almighty businesses who are selling us God knows what and putting the label of "food" on it. Whoops I feel a rant coming on.

Good luck to you!!
post #4 of 99
Wow, your MIL sounds very disrespectful of your parenting choices. How should you respond?

Quote:
"Really, you can't expect us to not give her ANY meat until shes 8 years old"
"Actually, we can and we do and if you're unable to respect that choice, you won't be seeing much of us or DD."

This is really something your DH needs to talk to her about, IMHO. But if he refuses or it doesn't work, then don't be afraid to bluntly put her in her place. She's being catty and passive aggressive and you do NOT have to change your ethics or parenting choices to suit her. I mean, she's practically telling you that she's going to feed your kid(s) meat when you're not around.

She sounds like a bully and I say that as an omnivore. I would be livid if anyone--family member or not--ridiculed such a fundamental parenting choice like that, especially in front of my child, and then all but told me she planned to ignore our wishes! She definitely wouldn't be spending much or any unsupervised time with the children until the children were old enough to let me know if her behavior was inappropriate.
post #5 of 99
My husband and I are both rather unrepentant meat eaters, so with that said...

My daughter had zero interest in meat for quite some time. We kind of sort of would offer it and she refused so after a while we stopped offering. During that time period I could not *believe* how many people tried to force her to eat meat. (This was during the baby-toddler stage.) I had to get in somewhat fierce arguments with people about not putting meat in her mouth when she was actively saying no.

I think this is going to be a big issue. I think that your husband is going to need to seriously lay down the law if you want this rule followed. I think you are going to need to supervise visitation until you are ok with her having meat. It really sucks, but if you feel that strongly about this issue you will probably have to enforce it.

At this point my daughter is eating meat because she wants it. You might be surprised at how early children can start to understand "an actual bird died so you can eat this flesh". My daughter is only two and she can describe the process pretty well. I'm very firmly in the camp that if you are a meat eater it's not ok to think that meat comes from the grocery store wrapped in plastic.
post #6 of 99
I think you need to say:

"Really, WE DO expect you to not give her ANY meat until shes 8 years old"

And if we think you will not respect how we want to raise our child, we will not have her visiting with you.


For real, what is her problem, talk about rude behavior on the part of your MIL. Sheesh. I would have your DH talk to her as well.
post #7 of 99
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by rightkindofme View Post
My daughter is only two and she can describe the process pretty well. I'm very firmly in the camp that if you are a meat eater it's not ok to think that meat comes from the grocery store wrapped in plastic.

Agreed. I just want her to know what her food is and where it is coming from.


I also think this is going to wind up being a huge issue. DH has told me that "we'll cross that bridge when we come to it" (we are at it Love!). He thinks that she is just joking and (something Ive heard since childhood) that she says those things to get a rise out of me because I have a tendency to get upset about things pretty easily. I think that saying something to get a rise out of someone one makes you an asshole.

I feel like this, among other issues , will drive me to not want her to watch DD. She will undermine me forever, and I married her son knowing that she was this way. She raised her two children as a single mother and DH has a lot of respect for that. She always had to work and I get to stay home, so I think she has some animosity about that. But, basically my DH is the only man in her life and he has a really hard time being direct with her because she doesn't respond well to thinking of us as adults or as people who are capable of making our own decisions. (for example, when we are supposed to meet her at 9:00 am, she will call Dh's phone at 7:30am just to make sure he's awake , even though he is almost always on time.). He walks on eggshells to make sure that she stays happy, even though she doesnt do the same for him. At any rate, he doesnt want to play go between between me and his mother for the rest of my kids lives, and hes made that very clear.

She does things like buys plastic toys because they are cute or vintage or something she knows we dont think is stupid, and she will present them commenting, "I know they are PLASTIC, but...." So, she acknowledges that she remembered your request, but is failing to respect it.

I am scared that she is going to start feeding my child meat as soon as she's old enough to chew it. Im going to have to find a good way to talk to her about it because there is no way that DH is going to be ok with me just saying no to her wanting to babysit. He really wants to make sure that DD has a good relationship with his mother because she lives all alone and so far DD is the only granddaughter. (DH's sister is only 18, and she is moving out next week)
post #8 of 99
Is feeding a baby/toddler who is simply not capable of making a sound cognitive choice regarding what to eat meat something that you really are willing to jeopardize your child's relationship with her grandmother over? I ask this without judgement- your relationship with her seems to be strained at best, and if you do indeed disallow one-on-one time between them, over something that Grandmother surely thinks is "silly," this could well impact their future relationship, and/or create a "let's keep things from mommy" dynamic that will grow to cover lots of other areas.

In short- what's worse to you: your child being slipped meat while oblivious to what it is, or your child not developing a relationship with her grandmother? If it's the meat, then I think you should be aware that the worst-case scenario is one where your child lives 8 years essentially without a grandmother.

Good luck to you, in any case!
post #9 of 99
Couple of thoughts here. First, pp's are totally right that VERY young children - as young as 2 or 3 - can totally grasp where meat comes from and what is involved in eating it. Children that young are also capable of saying "no". Would your MIL respect it if your DD said no, she didn't want any meat? There's no guarantee she would, of course, but if you explain in simple terms what is involved ethically in eating meat, she might well, especially if Grandma doesn't buy decent meat from a farm. Kids that young can also understand the difference between a CAFO and a good family farm, too.

Alternately, you could buy some ethically raised, pastured chicken and give it to Grandma to give to your DD, as a compromise/peace offering. I did that for the first couple years of my DD's life - any time she went to Grandma's I sent along good food because my MIL believes food comes out a grocery store too. (It's a never-ending bone of contention - it would be NO extra effort on her part to shop from farms as I do - I would do it for her! but she likes things neat and tidy in packages. ) Anyway, if you could somehow explain your stance (as I understand it?) that you don't want your DD to participate in the animal cruelty/environmental harm of CAFOs, but offer Grandma an alternative (which, frankly, would be a good deal for her if she got a whole chicken with which to feed your DD now and then - babies aren't known for their whole-chicken-gobbling ways!) I bet she would go for it. I understand you not wanting to watch or participate, but your DH could go along for the ride and the tasty chicken, and if it makes you feel any better, pasture-raised chicken is full of lots of healthy fat, protein, vitamins and minerals for a growing baby.
post #10 of 99
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ErinYay View Post
Is feeding a baby/toddler who is simply not capable of making a sound cognitive choice regarding what to eat meat something that you really are willing to jeopardize your child's relationship with her grandmother over?
No. I stated previously that it would not be ok to just not ever leave the child with her. DH would have huge issues with that, and it would be unfair. However, since my parents are both remarried, she would live 8 years with out 1 of her 3 grandmothers.

The idea of feeding my child meat really grosses me out, and I have every right to tell her not to do it. She DOES NOT COOK. Ever. DH and I have been together for over 8 years and I have seen her cook maybe 3 times. She eats fast food. We arent talking about good, farm raised meat here. We are talking about McDonalds and pureed chicken in a jar. I wouldnt expect anyone to eat purreed meat.

The point really is that I dont know how to respond to this chidding and joking at me about the topic. Im not sure if she will really do it, or where we will be in our desicion at that time. One thing I am sure of is that she will cultivate a "lets keep things from Mommy" dynamic. She has proven this by telling my DH (when he tells her that i dont like something) ell, what Holly doesnt know wont hurt her,now will it?"

But all in all, she and I are going to have a war if I find out that she fed my (exclusively breastfed) baby chicken out of a jar.
post #11 of 99
Quote:
Originally Posted by Adaline'sMama View Post
But all in all, she and I are going to have a war if I find out that she fed my (exclusively breastfed) baby chicken out of a jar.
Chicken out of a jar isn't a "meat" issue, it's a food quality issue. I am a big fan of meat and encourage my DD to eat it (not that it's hard, she would live happily on fish, meat, eggs and fruit.) But chicken in a jar is just yucky. You could tell grandma she'd have to eat a jar first.

Seriously, though - if this is really important (and it sounds like it is) - play the drama card. Next time MIL says something about feeding your DD McYuk or jarred chicken, burst out into tears. Sob that you are heartbroken because every day you learn more about the horrible chemicals in that stuff and you hate the thought of your perfect baby eating that, but it also breaks your heart to not be able to foster a close a loving relationship between DD & her grandma and you don't want to live through years of worrying about what grandma is going to be feeding her and you want so much to trust Grandma but you feel like nobody is respecting your desire to have a healthy baby. In other words, fight dysfunction and issues with your own kind of dysfunction and issues. She's not playing fair, no reason for you to be reasonable - just do it before your child is old enough to think you're a nutcase when you "lose it".
post #12 of 99
Thanks for clarifying. It does sound like you're stuck, vis a vis the MIL thing. If she's going to have alone-time with the baby, and you're pretty sure she's going to feed her uber-processed "meat food product" (which makes my stomach turn, too), it also sounds like you're going to have to figure out how to deal with it when the time comes.

As far as the comment, if people are doing it to get a rise out of you, maybe spin your responses a little.

"Bacon is sooooooo yummy, baby. Poor thing, mean old mommy won't let you have any."
"Actually, I served her up a nice suckling pig this morning. She particularly enjoyed eating the eyeballs," said in your sweetest, most matter-of-fact way. The rude person will likely be taken aback by such a response, and when they don't get the satisfaction of your usual response, will clam up.
post #13 of 99
Unfortunately, my MIL is like this too, in fact, to the extent that when DD was 6 months old, she started really yelling at me constantly to feed her cow's milk because she was SURE my milk wasn't healthy and "looked disgusting" because I'm vegetarian.

DD is now almost 8 and the ILs have never once babysat her. She's never once been alone with them. (They are toxic anyway, so this is no great sacrifice.) I know that's not what you're looking for, but our stories are so similar I wanted to tell you what we decided. You do have every right to tell MIL to feed or not to feed your child whatever you decide. In our case, I KNEW my MIL and FIL would give DD meat if she was with them. They truly believe a meatless diet is unhealthy.

As for the joking . . . our family is vegan, and they HATE it, and still make comments about it every time we're together and make fun of what we eat. Honestly, it doesn't even bother me anymore, it just makes them look ridiculous to be SO focused on our diets. We usually just go along with it. As in: FIL: "Son. What do you EAT?" DH: "I eat nothing. Just lettuce. That's it." Or: MIL: "Don't you ever want a CHEESESTEAK?" Me: "Well, I ate six of them yesterday. So I'm sick of them now."
post #14 of 99
It might not be what you want to hear, but I wouldn't leave my DD alone with someone who jokes about sneaking her meat behind my back. I wouldn't leave her alone with someone who jokes about doing anything secret with her behind my back. That is totally unacceptable--it is unacceptable to joke about, unacceptable to do, and unacceptable for DD to hear. My own sister won't be left alone with DD for exactly that reason. This is the language of disrespect and abuse, and I will not tolerate it.

I would talk to my DH, tell him my concerns, and that the comments are making me very uncomfortable, etc., and have him bring it up with MIL. If he supports your decision, he should make it clear to MIL that it is not just your decision, but his as well, and that he, as well as you, will be extremely upset if the joking does not stop (or if meat is fed). A marriage is about a partnership, and he needs to portray that. He needs to take your side over his mother's.

If he can't do that...well...I'd suggest counseling. Seriously. What you describe sounds like a very unhealthy, passive-aggressive relationship between mother and son, and it's going to come between you for the rest of your marriage if you don't put an end to it. You should also keep in mind that the kind of relationship he has with his mother is likely to be the kind of relationship your DD will eventually have with Grandma. He needs to be modeling a healthy way of dealing with her.

I know that the above sounds kind of harsh, but I've been dealing with this sort of MIL for over a decade now. I could not have handled it without DH sticking up for me. He made it clear to her from the very beginning that my decisions were his decisions and that he would always side with me in a fight. Because of that, MIL has chosen not to fight with me--she can see that she would lose. In this case, losing means that DH would not call her (ever), she wouldn't get pictures of her granddaughter, etc. Instead, we have a pretty good relationship, because she doesn't push me and I don't push her.

You might get some more BTDT advice in the Vegetarian forum, or in Parents as Partners.
post #15 of 99
There is no way I'd let my MIL alone with my child if she said something like that (heck, I don't let her alone with my child as it is!) If your child not eating meat, or being asked if she wants it before you think she is ready to make an educated decision is important to you - then follow through! Make sure your husband is on board and make it clear to MIL that it's not acceptable.

Funny thing on the opposite side- my mom told my son that eggs are baby chickens. Now everytime I get out the eggs, he says, Babies! I don't eat meat and my son doesn't either, but we do eat eggs.
post #16 of 99
We are unrepentant meat eaters as well but I believe that every family has a certain set of philosophies that each live by and that grandparents should be able to respect whether they subscribe to it or not. Something especially as sensitive and as important as what goes in your/our children's bodies is definitely at the top of my priority list in the inflexible category.

If someone insisted on feeding my children something that I am vehemently opposed to, that someone would not be with my children. Period. End of story.

As far as your MIL being passive aggressive by those comments of feeding your DD meat, I think that is something that your DH needs to address with his mom.
post #17 of 99
Quote:
Originally Posted by Adaline'sMama View Post
No. I stated previously that it would not be ok to just not ever leave the child with her. DH would have huge issues with that, and it would be unfair. However, since my parents are both remarried, she would live 8 years with out 1 of her 3 grandmothers.

The idea of feeding my child meat really grosses me out, and I have every right to tell her not to do it. She DOES NOT COOK. Ever. DH and I have been together for over 8 years and I have seen her cook maybe 3 times. She eats fast food. We arent talking about good, farm raised meat here. We are talking about McDonalds and pureed chicken in a jar. I wouldnt expect anyone to eat purreed meat.

The point really is that I dont know how to respond to this chidding and joking at me about the topic. Im not sure if she will really do it, or where we will be in our desicion at that time. One thing I am sure of is that she will cultivate a "lets keep things from Mommy" dynamic. She has proven this by telling my DH (when he tells her that i dont like something) ell, what Holly doesnt know wont hurt her,now will it?"

But all in all, she and I are going to have a war if I find out that she fed my (exclusively breastfed) baby chicken out of a jar.
I'm sorry-this is totally obnoxious. I too am a vegetarian surrounded by carnivores and I have taken some "friendly" abuse because I won't let dd or ds eat meat until they can decide for themselves. My parents would NEVER feed her meat on the sly-thank goodness!-so I do trust them fully not to do that, but I do have to put up with the comments-i.e. my parents and dp were all eating sausage at the table with us and dd commented that it was pig (lol-clearly we have had discussions about meat before) and they had to make it a big joke until my mom started snorting like a pig and talking about how delicious it was-it just verges on offensive, you know? Luckily I am super close to my mom, so I was able to tell her to quit it without worrying about how it came out. I hope you find a way to make yourself clear to your MIL. I would be so uncomfortable having to worry about what my child was eating while I wasn't there in that situation. I agree with the the pp to just provide food that you want her to have, but that won't help if you don't trust your MIL to feed your dd that food and not anything else. Good luck!
post #18 of 99
I agree, she's breaking your ability to trust her, so it's reasonable to not leave DD with her, watch her when you're all eating, etc. My MIL knows how we feel about food and plastic/commercial toys and screen time, and yet DD has begun telling us stories... we ask if they are from books gma read her... no, turns out gma is showing her tv. And suddenly, each day a new plastic disney toy showed up at her house. SIGH. Luckily for me, DH is just as annoyed and said he will speak to her. In her case, she's just clueless, truely. And VERY scared of drama/offending, which makes it very hard to deal with her b/c I feel like I'm SCARY when I'm really not, I swear. But DH has got my back. Anyway, just going along with her doing things against our values is NOT a good thing-- it's not like a hill I'd die on but it's definitely way more damaging for our relationship than just talking about it and working it out. And if she suddenly said she refused or acted like she'd just go behind our backs... well, we would know anyway. But THEN you're darn tooting I'd keep DD away from someone who couldn't respect our parenting decisions (grandma likes to see DD multiple times per week-- if it were even montly visits, I'd be SO okay with crazy TV and toys, no big deal then). Anyway, I think it's better for relationships to talk it out. Just letting it go (in the past few weeks as this has emerged) makes me much more resentful.

I would be seriously annoyed with that kind of joking and lack of trustworthiness. I would have DH make it gently clear that she can stop or not get to see grandbaby as much.
post #19 of 99
It isn't a choice between "no relationship with Grandma" and "DD eating things Mum finds unethical". It's a choice between "DD having a supervised relationship with Grandma" and "DD eating things Mum finds unethical". Just don't leave them alone together. There's no absolute need for your DD to go to Grandma's house unsupervised (although I realise babysitting is handy!). I don't remember staying at Grandma's house without Mum when I was little, and we have a perfectly nice relationship.

I feel your pain, BTW. Not with meat, but MIL and FIL don't quite get modern baby nutrition. They tried to feed DD ice cream when she was four months old - stuff like that. And recently they took DD and their other grandbaby - a 7-month-old with dairy allergies - out together, and DD fed the baby a spoonful of her ice cream. I felt really guilty, but of course she didn't know any better, and after talking to SIL it seems like they thought it was funny and didn't try to stop her. They just don't seem to believe in food allergies.

So basically I didn't let DD stay with them - she would have screamed anyway! - until she was older. Now she goes to visit, because there's nothing she abolutely can't eat and it's fairly infrequent. At my parents' house, I draw the line at Coke and soft drinks, because my father's a bit clueless and would never think "Hmm, I wonder if she's allowed this?".
post #20 of 99
OP -- OFF TOPIC -- how do you guys plan to do this? do you guys cook meat at home?

is dh going to stop eating meat in front of your dd?

if dh is going to continue eating meat in front of her and she wants to have some what will you say?
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