Tuesday, August 1, 2017

My CBC Piece

Xavi's First Birthday
I'm a member of a local vegan group on Facebook, Vegans of Regina. I became a member when it had only 31 others. Our numbers have swelled to over 500 people.
About a month and a half ago, someone that I didn't know personally, posted a query for the other members:

"I think it would be interesting to talk to someone who is vegan and also has kids who are vegan about what that is like. Let me know if you or anyone you know would be interested."

A couple people tagged me and, of course, I responded, "Haha I have a vegan 20 month old."
6 days old. White Lotus Photography

 The poster contacted me via private message and we arranged a date and time to do an audio interview and get some pictures taken.

Carlos didn't want to be involved because he doesn't like having his private life made public. 
Carlos is vegan, btw.

The interview went well and there were no questions that I didn't expect. Which I was grateful for. It was all questions that I had thought a lot about before I was pregnant, during my first pregnancy, and my second pregnancy, and during the many, many hours I sat quietly nursing my newborn.

"What made you decide?" It's morally consistent. I'm doing it because I believe it's right, why would I have my child do something that I think is morally wrong?
 "Do you do supplements?" Yup. B12 spray, liquid vitamin D, and liquid iron occasionally.
 "What if they go to a birthday party?" I'll have something similar for them to eat, and I'll talk to the host. "What if they don't want to be vegan?" Obviously, I'll be disappointed like any other parent when their child decides to do something opposed to how they were raised.

Babywearing while I hung laundry (10 months)

 "What is your response to people that say that you're forcing your way of life?" I think we all 'force our way of life' on our families. That's what parents do, they parent.

It was a bit of time before the poster interviewed a doctor, then their team wanted to make a video of Xavi and I playing and snacking. We were able to get together and film on a hot, hot afternoon at a local park. Xavi gave the videographer furrowed brows for the first few minutes but warmed up quickly, smiling and waving at the camera. I answered essentially the same questions in the audio interview. That evening, CBC News Regina played the minute and a half long video of me answering questions interspersed with Xavier playing and eating his carrot breakfast cookie. It was a strange video because it came across like I was trying to defend our veganism. Mostly because of the way it seemed like I was offering answers for questions that people didn't hear because of the way it was edited. Which, I suppose, in a way it can be read that way. I'm not looking for other's approval. That isn't why I volunteered to be interviewed.
I volunteered to be interviewed because I know there are other people that want to parent as vegans and I want them to know it is an option and is totally possible. I want nonvegans to know that it is safe and healthy and appropriate to raise your children vegan.The next morning the written article was published and the radio segment was aired. Sadly, I only caught the last few minutes because I was so busy momming that I completely lost the time. The few minutes that I did hear sounded positive though and I was very happy with. 

Man alive, I sound different on the radio!

Xavi reads a book with Chaos (21 months)

There were also a couple points that I want to clarify from the article that didn't ring true for us. When the author wrote that Xavier "He hasn't had a bowl of yogurt or a spoonful of ice cream." That isn't accurate. While it is true that he hasn't had yogurt or ice cream made from another animal's milk, he has had yogurt made from coconut milk and sips of our soy milkshakes.

The pediatrician, Dr. Ayisha Kurji says toddlers "
going through picky phases and you're already limited in terms of choices". I don't believe nonvegans understand how much of the edible plant world expands when you become vegan. In the first couple of months of becoming vegan, I kept a list of foods that I tried. I had over 40 foods that I had never eaten before. That's astounding. Even though it seemed like what I "could" eat as a vegan, narrowed, it actually increased substantially.

I did make the conscious, well-thought out decision to not read the comments. Like I stated earlier, not looking for approval. Haters opinions aren't going to change how I raise Xavi. But I know myself well enough that I would fixate on the negative comment and play it over and over in my head and try to work out the best response to it. I also know that my response to those comments isn't going to change their minds. It's extremely rare for someone to react the way we want on a Facebook comment thread. Often it devolves rather quickly into passive aggressive comments and name calling. Neither of which are productive. So, I decided that comment reading was a waste of my time and energy. One of my fellow mom-friends did screenshot a couple of supportive comments for me. 

That made my heart happy.

Saturday night, we got together with my younger sister and her boyfriend for supper. We went to Selam for some Ethiopian food. Vegan, obviously.
While we ate, we talked about the comments they had read. I think the most memorable was someone claiming that "he looks pale." 
Ummm okay. Hahahahaha
Yeah, if you were comparing him to his primos ("cousins" en espaƱol) down in Chile. He is half Latino and when he stands next to any of my white friends children, he is vastly darker.

Or someone else commented that, "of course his name is Xavier and he's vegan. When he's grown, he'll be eating kale, doing yoga, and wearing a man bun."
Yeah, so that sounds awesome.

Another person commented on the fact that my boyfriend was not in the interview, and it was suspicious so he must be off eating a steak.
Again, Carlos is vegan.
He said that he was tempted to respond with, "I was with your wife." 
He didn't because he knows it's fruitless. But again. So funny!

And another criticism was about my shoes. I guess they looked like leather. 
The shoes are not leather.
I bought them about 5 or 6 years ago at Payless Shoes for $6.00 and they are "accidentally vegan".

I'm very conscious of my purchases. The stuff in our home is vegan. Everything from food to clothes to personal hygiene products to toys to cleaning products. Everything save for our cat's food.

I was concerned about private messages that I could potentially get from particularly aggressive critics but I've only received pm's from people thanking me for being interviewed and being "brave". Honestly. People are going to judge our parenting no matter what we do.
I know I have supportive family, friends, and doctors. Those negative, unsupportive judgements aren't going to change how I parent.