As of a few months ago, Arlo, who just recently turned four, has decided that, with a few notable exceptions, he’s a vegetarian. I’m not sure how it started, as we never brought the subject of vegetarianism up in any substantive way, but one day he just started asking us if the food that we were serving him contained meat, pushing it away if we said that it did.
For the most part, he doesn’t want to talk about his decision. He just says that, except for bacon and “chicken nuggets,” he doesn’t eat meat. [Those are the notable exceptions that I mentioned earlier.] A few days ago, when Linette was talking with him about his decision, however, he responded by saying, “I think the meat just wants to wake up and go home.” And, as I found that really beautiful, I wanted to record it here.
As a former vegan, Arlo’s decision to give up meat is making me feel more than just a little guilty. At the same time, I’m also incredibly proud of him for having the capacity at four years old to make a decision like this and stick with it, even if I don’t quite understand why he’s chosen to make an exception for chicken nuggets, but not my homemade chicken noodle soup, which he used to absolutely love.
For what it’s worth, this announcement of Arlo’s came at a good time for us. He’s full of energy these days, and not listening incredibly well. There’s a lot of running, screaming, and boundary pushing. There’s lot of chaos. And it’s nice to be reminded that, somewhere in there, beneath all of the wildness, is a tiny spark of compassion that’s growing.
[If you’ve got a few extra minutes, be sure to check out our Totally Quotable Arlo archive.]