Monday, September 20, 2010

Meat is Murder (Tasty, Tasty Murder)

Thus reads the T-shirt of my eldest. My youngest, as you may remember, is a vegetarian.

Yeah, Liv has taken a little ribbing (mmmmmm....ribs.....) about her vegetarian lifestyle ever since she made the decision to follow it. It is usually not meant to cause offense. Sometimes people ask her questions about her choices and she's always been able to answer them. As I've said before, she is a cool little chickadee who has never tried to impose her beliefs on anyone else. She has, however, always held firm to her own personal convictions.

So today Liv comes home from school and says to me (she says), "I hate the boys at the next table at lunch."

I nodded for her to continue. A story about obnoxious behavior from Jr. High boys isn't exactly ground breaking stuff. I didn't even put down my knitting. "What happened?"

"Well, this boy, he said, 'why did you made a cow backpack?' and I said, 'because I like cows and it's hug a vegetarian day.'" (actually, that's not till the 24th - but it's hardly the point...)

"Did he hug you?"

"Not exactly. When I got up to put my tray away, I came back to my seat and there was half a hamburger on it."

I put my knitting down and gave her my full attention. "That's bullying, pure and simple."

She shrugged. "I guess. People throw meat at me all the time in the cafeteria when they find out I'm a vegetarian."

"They THROW meat at you?" (That sound you hear is a momma bear being poked with a stick...or - more accurately - the sound of a momma bear who has just heard about her cub being poked with a stick...)

"Yeah. Once it hit my baritone mouthpiece and I almost cried because I have to put my mouth on that every day."

"You need to talk to your school counselor about this", I said, trying rather unsuccessfully to remain calm.

She shrugged again. "I don't even know exactly which boy it is. It might even be a couple. I'm not even sure what table they sit at."

"Liv, sweetie, this is NOT OK."

Another shrug. She's resigned to it. No big deal. I can tell she's already regretting having mentioned it to me.

So here's my dilemma: I don't want to be THAT MOM. I think kids should fight their own battles OR go through the proper channels at school. Mommy doesn't have any place in that chain. But DAMMIT - people are throwing MEAT at my sweet little tree-hugger and SHE'S COOL WITH IT! That's where it becomes ok to become THAT MOM, isn't it? I can't call the school till tomorrow. I have tonight to think on it.

I think I need to call, though.

Just don't start calling me THAT MOMmakin...


Unknown said...

I'm 43. I've been vegetarian for 25+ years. I've been dealing with that all my life. It may be wrong but she's going to live with it, looks like she's done a pretty good job of putting it into perspective so far.

It's not (yet) bullying. Part of learning how to be an adult is to learn how to ignore idiots. She's doing a wonderful job of it so far.

-- Nik

Nancy/BLissed-Out Grandma said...

My hubby coached my stepdaughter to express her concerns to her teachers as early as elementary school. But they were concerns she wanted to address. You probably should call attention to it, but not in a way that causes the boys to retaliate. Rats, why does everything have to be so complicated?

Hello Jodi said...

That's a toughie. You're not gonna help the situation, I bet. So long as she knows that it's not ok for boys (or girls) to treat her this way.
I got plenty of this in middle/high school too because I was different. Now they're all envious of my cool, different life.
She has a good head on her shoulders and a sympathetic ear at home. She's doing alright. :)

Pam said...

Ugh! This is a tough one. My first reaction was hell yes you should call the school. But after reading the other comments here, maybe that's not the right thing to do. I agree with you that it is bullying and she shouldn't have to be subjected to that treatment. Could you just alert the school so that a teacher could be nearby to simply witness this behavior without anyone being called down to the office, etc. Where the heck are the teacher's anyway? Good luck and keep us posted.

Unknown said...

I understand how you feel; I don't know the answer.

Mama-Face said...

ugh. I want to be THAT mom along with you. I could feel your pain as you put down your knitting needles. Hey, those might come in handy.

your girl rocks. just like her momma.

Anonymous said...

As a high school teacher, I hate these kind of stories. Kids are generally so nice and kind except for a few assholes like these boys. I would call if it will make you feel better in defending your girl. But, I would also talk it over with her before you do. It's so hard!!

Cheryl said...

I heard the mama bear before you mentioned her. Damn tough situation. Good luck Tammy.

Gibby said...

OMG! What jerks. I have to say, I'm surprised...being a vegetarian isn't that unusual anymore, is it? Regardless, that's not the point. I hate bullying stories. My first reaction was hell, yeah, call the school! But my girls are in elementary school where calling is still sort of OK. But Jr High? Probably not so much. I really don't know what to tell you. Maybe work with Liv on how to deal with the situation on her own? (Something like "listen you F*CKERS..." wait, that's not appropriate.) Maybe do some role playing? Are you sure she's cool with it, or just trying to put on a strong face? I wish I could help more...

Carma Sez said...

middle school is absolutely awful. My son had several run-ins with the bully at his school and I'm so glad it was over relatively quickly.

I hate that she is having to endure this childish behavior.

And like you I'd be already to act out like that dad did on the bus this week (all over the news) - but my son didn't want me to do that for him when he was having to go through his bullying episode because it just causes our own kids more pain - which is ironic.

Hope you find a way behind the scenes to put an end to this crap.

as you prob know, I've been a vegetarian since I was 17. I agree with Gibby - it is incredibly common so why are they making such a fuss???

Joanna Jenkins said...

Sheesh. My first response was to comment Hell Yes! Call the school, then I read all the comments so I have absolutely no idea what to do.

Did you call????

xoxoxo jj

Joanna Jenkins said...

Sheesh. My first response was to comment Hell Yes! Call the school, then I read all the comments so I have absolutely no idea what to do.

Did you call????

xoxoxo jj

Ginger said...

I think all bullying needs to be addressed. Yes, Liv needs to understand that people are mean and sometimes being passive (peaceful protest) is the right thing to do. But the boys have a lesson to learn too. They need to understand that what they are doing is unacceptable and that there is a consequence for not respecting another person's values.

My suggestion is to go to one of Liv's favorite teachers or the counselor and address it as a shepherding method. As in, "Hey this is happening to our Liv. Can you keep an eye out for her?" In my experience the teacher (i.e. me) can get the base of the issue via the principal or he/she can call parents. He or she can also watch out for Liv at times when Mama Bear can't (and can possibly offer a "safe place" for lunch if things get too much for Liv to handle.