I know it is way too early in the year to be complaining about fixing lunches so I won't but let's just talk about how packing a lunch makes us feel shall we? For me it is complete and pure agony to figure out what to put in that lunch box. Not only do you have to think about what will last and taste good in a couple hours but you have to consider your child and what they like. And then once you figure out what they like be assured that after you dutifully make sure it is in their lunch every single day that within a few weeks they will be tired of it. And then there is that hidden worry that the teachers are laughing and wondering at your child's lunch. I can imagine them walking around the lunchroom peering over shoulders at contents of lunches and saying in their minds, "good mom, bad mom, good mom, bad mom." What happened to the days when Pa from Little House on the Prairie would take some bread and butter with him to work?
Joseph has a ton of food allergies so his lunch is very limited. I actually have to hide the few items that he can have in his lunch because everyone else in the family wants his special fruit leathers and applesauce. He cannot eat crackers like normal kids so we buy him these rice crackers from the health food store. They are actually very good but they have a certain smell. And anytime he eats them at school ( and in our car) everyone, and I mean everyone, goes on and on about how much they smell, and consequently makes fun of him, so Joe will no longer take the rice crackers to school thus limiting his choices to go in his brown sack even further. Why can't the kids at school just deal with something different in someone's lunch?
I don't pack the teenagers lunches but I still know what they put in them because they leave it all out on the counter for me to see...how thoughtful of them.
If there is anything "good" in the house for lunches my children act like vultures. Some of them will just try to take the whole package of the "good" food with them to school. Others will eat the "good" food for every meal and snack until it is simply gone. At our house "good" means that Pepperidge Farms Goldfish were under $1.50 a bag and I bought some or that I had an extra $9.69 laying around and bought the huge 80 pack of fruit snacks from Costco.
Tatiana and Natalie have learned fast and they must take the "good" stuff and hide it. Last week I noticed that every morning Tatiana would appear at lunch packing time with goldfish for her lunch. I finally figured out that she had hid them in a very secret place that I cannot even tell you. But it was a very good place and she was able to have goldfish in her lunch for many days. Someone moved a chair in my bedroom for a baby shower the other night and lo and behold there was a package of Pepperidge Farms zesty cheddar goldfish laying there. Do you get the feeling that I should just feed the kids nothing but Pepperidge Farms Goldfish for 3 weeks solid so they no longer consider them a treat?
Now my Natalie has figured out how to get good stuff when there is no good stuff in the house and I am fascinated by it and a little worried about it. I keep noticing when I empty her lunch box when she comes home from school that there are wrappers to things I NEVER buy in her lunchbox. Little Oreos was the latest wrapper but there have been many other wrappers of pre packaged fun, exciting, glamorous foods that a mom of 7 just simply never buys. I asked her about it and she always has a name of the child who gave it to her and a kind sharing story to go with it. I have no idea if she is bullying, begging or simply asking. It cannot be trading who would want her oatmeal (joking), carrots or raisins? I keep telling her it is not good manners to ask other kids for what is in their lunches. But Natalie has a sugar obsession that knows no reason and nothing I pack for her is ever eaten....unless it involves sugar.