How do you deal with sending your child to school where most of the teachers and children will not be vegan? What about bullying? Trips to places like farms? Teachers teaching that animals and their secretions are a vital part of a balanced diet? ect
I do not really have the option to homeschool, although it's something I really have thought about. My partner is very against it and he isn't vegan. Bringing it up will cause him to get irrational and will cause him to start raising his voice. He doesn't really do a lot with our daughter. I cook all of her meals and spend the whole day with her and at 18 months she still nurses and wants mum quite a lot. Sometimes he will play with her for a max of about 15 minutes here and there but he generally does his own thing. I also have Aspergers syndrome and ADHD, and have had to see off social services once because of this. I don't really want them coming back again and blowing things out of proportion and wrecking our lives. Chances are when my daughter starts school I will have to start working. We are not a middle income family, we don't have the money and rent including service charges, utilities and groceries still have to be paid for. I don't qualify for disability, I am very high functioning and able despite my conditions, although I am not sociable at all and struggle to make friends. Another thing, I want my daughter to have friends, which will be hard if I homeschool because I just don't make friends with other Mothers. My Daughters' health visitor already encourages me go to playgroups and I find I have nothing in common with most other women and I only go so my daughter can play with other kids. Not many 26 year old women like Pokemon RPGs, One Piece, Dragonball Z, South Park philosophy, politics, UFOs and possible conspiracy theories, important current affairs, environmentalism, sociology and psychology, melodic death metal music or insects and spiders and of course veganism. The conversation usually revolves around Eastenders, Britain's Got Talent, wedding dresses, gossip or something else along those lines. They seem like kind, nice and well meaning people but I don't think that any of them would want to hear anything I have to say and every time I open my mouth I just look odd. Then there are the snobby competitive Mothers, who always show off in front of their friends and like to keep up appearances. They are the worst. I would rather hear well meaning people talk about what I deem as garbage than be around someone with an ego. I am quite a socially isolated person and I don't really have any friends.. I want my daughter to have the opportunity to socialise. The only socialisation she gets apart from family are playgroups.
I also notice that I don't really live in an area where it's acceptable to be 'different'. I live in a very socially deprived area and I could imagine that a lot of the kids are about 'fitting in'. I grew up not far from here and was bullied terribly as a child because being 'cool' didn't truly matter to me but being liked did so I tried to pretend and failed badly. I see a lot of bullying and taunting of kids by other kids when I am outside and my partner saw a group of kids who must have been no older than 12 years old pressuring each other to smoke drugs near the laundry room in our block of flats which saddens me. I don't blame the kids or even necessarily the kid's parents, this is just the reality of things. I know how powerful peer pressure can be. I have already began to buy all of my daughter's clothes from charity shops and Ebay already for the future so she won't really be super trendy. We only buy things brand new in this house if we have no other option. I want her to realise that these things are not what is important but I also do not want her to feel the way I did. I suppose I should just tell her why we do things the way we do but kids don't always understand. I didn't understand these things myself when I was small. I just wanted people to like and accept me, and couldn't understand why they didn't and why having Nike trainers mean't so much to them. I am wondering if the fact that she has me as a supportive Mother will make a big difference? My Mother was an alcoholic and my family who I don't really see much of now taunted, abused and bullied me a lot and they still don't understand me (I often feel like an alien that has been dropped off on Earth and raised by people who are not my real family if that makes sense). I never had a family that backed me up but my daughter has me. My partner, as much as I care about him can be quite an ignorant person at times and he can be quite set in his ways. I often feel like I made a mistake a kid with him because we just don't see eye to eye when it comes to deeper subjects. We have the same sense of humour and both like nerdy things but politically we are very different and I don't want to be rude when I say this but emotionally he is not very intelligent AT ALL and has a tendency to be really irrational and defensive. he gets angry that I support white poppies on remembrance day and said that 'if a man thought like this he would beat him up. I only get away with this hippy nonsense because I am female' which I found really upsetting. We are never going to seperate because we still care for one another and this is the only place that either of us has to live. He has also left debts in my name that I am pretty sure he would never help pay off if we parted and I don't have the money when living on my own, so that isn't an option. My partner is also having some quite nasty neurological problems at the moment that are in the process of diagnosis and he needs someone there. He had encephalitis as a child and some brain damage and they think that it's possibly related. It just isn't possible or right for us to split and it's not going to happen. I also really dislike my Mother in law. She is just such a mean spirited and superficial person. My partner was street homeless for some time before we were ever together and she lied to everyone around her and told them that he was at university. My partner doesn't even like her and has admitted it to me, he has even called her names when speaking to me about her, but he says that he wants our daughter to have grandparents. My MIL thinks that veganism is stupid and has a lot of bad things to say about it or anything she deems 'different'. Such as 'your grandad didn't fight the war so that you could be a goth' was one of the stupid things she said to my partner once because he dressed this way when we were first together. She has similar things to say about veganism. I just feel like we are surrounded by all this negative energy all the time. I don't want to sound arrogant or come across that way but it seems like very few people have the power to question societal norms or think truly for themselves. I just want my daughter to see the world for what it really is. I don't want her to get sucked into all this egotistical, war mongering, capitalist, greedy, superficial BS that most people seem to be so wrapped up in including those around me. I feel that it's my responsibility that she ends up strong minded and is able to question and analyze things that most people don't.
Regarding a Vegan child - check out the cookbooks by Jennifer McCann (should be available on Amazon). The books have good recipes, but she also talks about some issues like how her son can "fit in" with the other kids. She also has a blog and a Facebook page, look up "Vegan Lunchbox." There may be other books on Vegan parenting (surely there are!!) where these issues can be addressed in greater detail.
I am not a parent, but my observation is that kids tend to travel a long, winding road before they eventually get to true adulthood. Your baby is only 18 months old; when you consider the brain does not fully develop until about age 25, that's a lot of years for her to grow, to learn, to try out a lot of different things, and evolve into the person she will eventually become. She *will* go through phases (maybe some that you, yourself, will not like too well). Chances are very good, though, that she will incorporate a lot of the lessons you are teaching her, and they will come back to her at the most unexpected times. Try to not get too far ahead of yourself; just focus instead on doing the next "right" thing for her. There will be times when you have to give thought to the distant future - but if you allow that to totally take over, you will miss some moments that will never come again.
One final suggestion - about your Asperger's. I have a good friend who also has Asperger's, and she attends a support group about once a month. This has helped her a great deal to discover coping mechanisms for things she has a hard time with - such as interacting with other people with whom she has little in common. I wonder if you might be able to find a group like this near where you live? Even if the group is *not* made up of parents, or Vegans, still you could learn some helpful things, and it could be comforting to know that others struggle with some of the same things you do.
In regards to education you'd have to have your research done. Minimum curriculum things like that. If a child is home schooled just watch out for social isolation.
In regards to potential social workers have your 'arguments/defenses' ready. Think of a reason they might want to take your child away; make a rock solid answer, ideally so solid that even the social work would question themselves. I'd guess a big chunk is knowing diet, nutrition and knowing what a growing child needs.
There are solutions to most situations. It sounds like your MiL is a close minded arse which is a shame, but is she an active part in your daughter's life?
Is there any organiseations and/or people you can get help from?