What the hell is wrong with us as parents that we think that for our kids to have a good time we have to fill them with crap food??? At virtually every kids party around the country you'll find pizza and cupcakes (unless you and your kid gets super lucky and it's being thrown at the local Micky D's - ack!)
What's a poor, devastated, deprived, excluded vegan to do? It really depends on the kid. Mine are so different when it comes to birthday parties. My son, Vegan Boy (10 years) has never had an issue with it. He's totally fine bringing along his Superman lunch box with his vegan food and eating along side everyone else. No issues. I email the parents before the party, explain that we're weird and why, ask what they are serving, and try to duplicate it for him. My effort goes wholly unnoticed by this kid. I could pack him PB&J and he would be fine.
Vegan Girl (7 years) is a whole different story. She will not attend a b-day party without me, but this year is THE year it's not super cool to have your mom there. She's getting better, but doesn't like to be there alone when there is a center around food. I attribute this to the 1st party we went to as vegans - the mom, who truly meant no harm, was waiving a piece of pepperoni pizza in her face and trying to coax her to eat it. She is a polite child, and was declining but the Pizza Mom was persistant. What does Super Vegan Mom do? I lept over the 4 tables separating us, knocked her grandmother and a small child to the ground, grabbed the slice of pizza from her and gave the pepperoni slices CPR, resurrecting the animals it had once been.
Okay- obviously not. I hurried over to the table, and (tried to) graciously explain that we don't eat certain foods. It was well received, but the hostess (as often happens) felt badly. Hence my reasons for now preparing people ahead of time. At least she didn't give me the 'special exception' plea. You know, the "can't she just have a little? It's a special occasion" pouty face. Ummm....NO! Would you even THINK of asking me that if they were allergic, or diabetic? (More on lying about these in a post to come).
So, this morning a mom at school asks, "Is Vegan Girl coming to so-and-so's birthday party
?" I remind her that we don't eat certain things, and ask if she minds if I bring alternative food for Vegan Girl. She doesn't, not at all, and on the contrary, joked that I should bring all the food! So, this evening I happily tell my please-don't-let-anyone-know-I'm-weird daughter the good news. She says, "but everyone else will be eating different cupcakes". I agreed, and used all the parenting skills from the books; acknowledged her feelings (yes, it's sometimes sucks to eat differently), agreed it would be a little uncomfortable (but remember the animals!), discussed exactly how long she would be uncomfortable for (about 5 minutes, while everyone was eating cupcakes), etc. I encouraged her to be brave, reminded her why we eat the way we do. I thought it was a good talk.
But alas, it was unacceptable. And she has now decided that the only way she will go is if I bake cupcakes for everyone, so she's not eating a different kind. What's a mom to do? I want her to be comfortable with our eating choices, to be okay with being different. But she's 7. So, maybe this time, I'll give in.
Though knowing my lovely daughter, I do not put it past her to have ulterior motives. She knows I always bake extras : )