A year before Summy was born, I read about being vegan for the first time. A vegan is a very strict vegetarian. Not only does a vegan not eat meat, but s/he also avoids eggs, dairy products, honey, etc. A vegan tries to be non-cruel in every way possible - no leather, no fur, no silk, and so on. S/he is, in general, an annoying, righteous, guilt-inducing, pain in the neck.
After that, I stayed away from milk, cheese, pizza, eggs for a few months. I stopped buying leather shoes and purses, and silk clothes. Slowly, I returned to eating pizza and eggs again, because I craved these things.
Summy has always been a careful and suspicious vegetarian. But slowly, she is growing past me. Last year, we had a discussion about eggs and how egg-laying hens are treated, and then she decided to stay away from them. So of course, I have to stay away from them too.
Now she has taken this further, and refuses to eat things like cakes that have egg in them. The green dot that is on snack packages in India helps her decide what's okay and what's not. Whereas, I have never considered egg in cakes and waffles and things, to be actually egg, somehow. Now I have to stay away from those too, now.
And then, she started to think about leather. I always bought her non-leather shoes, but this year we got her uniform shoes from the school, and apparently they are leather. She was upset about this. I've been looking for a purse, and it's hard to find one that's not leather in India.
It goes like this: I ask the store clerk: "Is this a leather bag?" And they say proudly, "Yes, 100% leather." "Well, " I say, "I want a bag that's not leather. Do you have any?". And they give me a strange look, randomly pick a bag, and say, "This one is synthetic." Riiiiiight, sure it is. There are no tags that say "leather" or "man-made material", like there are back in the US. So I'm tempted to just pick any bag, but I have these two huge watchful and disapproving eyes looking at me (in my mind, even if Summy is not actually present).
The other day, she came back from school with a horrified expression on her face, and said, "I know how silk is made. I don't ever want to see silk again." Science class taught her how the cocoons, with the silk worms in them, are put into hot water. So I can't buy silk, but thank goodness that one's easy. I've never been fond of it.
I wonder if all this is something that she will grow out of, or something that will stick. But I'm hoping for the latter. I would proudly put up with an annoying, righteous, guilt-inducing pain in the neck.