I was looking in the cupboards today for a snack to give my four-year-old, hoping to find something fairly healthy to hold him over until dinner tonight. I asked him, "Would you like some peanut butter crackers?"
"No," was his response. "I'm a vegetarian."
Vegetarian? He clearly doesn't understand that concept. "Vegetarians eat peanut butter," I told him.
"No they don't," said he. "It's disgusting."
Now, I KNOW where he learned THAT word. It's my 12-year-old's response to anything green on his plate.
I just kind of shook my head. What was I thinking, offering peanut butter to a four-year-old "vegetarian"? I found some fruit snacks and tossed him a packet. "Here, eat these."
He took all the fruit snacks out of the packet and, being a four-year-old, had to inspect the shapes and sort them by color before he would actually eat any of them. Soon I found that the green ones had been pushed in front of me. "What's this?" I asked.
"I don't like the green ones. I'm a vegetarian."
I tried explaining what the word vegetarian actually means, and that most vegetarians actually eat a great many green things. Of course, he's four years old. His only response to that was, "Green things are yucky."
"All right," I asked. "So what can the little vegetarian eat?"
"Rice Krispies treats," was the immediate response. "With peanut butter on them."
"What?!" I tried not to laugh. "That's disgusting. I thought vegetarians couldn't eat peanut butter."
"They can eat it on Rice Krispies treats," he said.
I don't know where he comes up with these things. We sometimes do have Rice Krispies treats, but never with peanut butter on them. Chocolate, yes. Peanut butter, no.
"Can I have some tuna?" he asked.
I knew what would happen with the tuna. He wouldn't eat it---he hates tuna. He would "accidentally" drop it on the floor, conveniently in front of the cats. They love tuna more than anything, and my children know this. The cats, of course, take full advantage of that fact.
"No, you can't have tuna," I said. "Just eat your fruit snacks."
He went back to playing with his fruit snacks. He's four years old. Anyone who's ever had a small child must know that fruit snacks make great little toys.
I started looking for something to make for supper tonight. I've been ill lately and so have some of the children, so planning ahead for supper has not been a priority these days. I've just been fixing whatever I can find that I have on hand.
"So what sounds good for supper?" I asked. "What can vegetarians eat for supper?"
"Rice and meat and bacon," he said.
I suppose that answer makes perfect sense to a four-year-old.