YESSSSS! It’s May!
Who’s happy that school is almost out? With only a few short weeks left in the 2013-14 school year, I can’t help but look forward to and create a perfect mirage of smooth, delightful summer outings, adventures, sibling rivalry, wait….how’d that get in there? I guess even my imagination can’t be fooled.
This year Corey, Spencer, Tucker, and Kendall attended new schools. At the beginning, I saw resistance in the way of bad grades, tantrums, and faked illnesses. But it wasn’t too long before I started seeing smiles, hearing stories about new friends made, and witnessing great efforts put forth.
Whew— it was a roller coaster. It still is some weeks. I’d like to say that the thing I’ll be most glad to see end is getting up at 5:30am to put Tucker on the bus at 6:30, but even that doesn’t compare to the annoyance, inconvenience, and sheer strife brought on by a little detail of the day called “What’s for lunch?”
Day in and day out, I honestly dread—not packing lunches—but packing something that they like and will eat at school. Let me tell you, just because your child likes it at home does not mean he will eat it at school. One-hundred-eighty lunches—scariest phrase I know. I bet you’re thinking, it’s only a few lunches, how hard can that be? And actually, it’s only three lunches because Tucker’s school day ends before lunchtime. My children aren’t necessarily picky eaters (except Corey who is a tiny bit), but when it comes to what they are taking to school to eat in front of other children, they turn into very peculiar creatures. Spencer and Kendall go to a school where lunch isn’t provided, unless I purchase what is delivered there on certain days, but Kendall can’t eat any of it because there are no gluten-free choices (except a salad on one day, but that won’t happen!), and Spencer wants everything that’s delivered but I can’t spend $20 a week on his lunch. So I send their lunch every day. Kendall is good about taking leftovers when it’s something she really likes. Corey, who has the option of school lunch, but prefers something from home, and Spencer, only wants to take the “trendy” lunches that are full of “food opiates”! There aren’t a lot of healthy choices out there that they will actually take to school—that don’t cost $6 per day per child. Ugh. I can fix a really healthy supper the night before, which they all love, but let me try to send it with them for lunch the next day and they think it’s the lamest thing ever. OK, I get that. No one wants to be the kid who pulls out a Tupperware plate with grilled salmon and roasted potatoes on a bed of rice. They all have access to a microwave at lunchtime so I thought it was the perfect plan! Not so much. I give in to the Lunchables a lot because I think eating something is better than nothing, right?
So when school is out, I’ll be feeding all the children at home and the dilemmas will be over. Or will they? As I recall, getting lunch “right” for home is sometimes as tricky as sending it to school. Besides the fact that leftovers will actually be eaten from time to time, I’m really not seeing any perks, now that I think of it. They know that some people only get one meal a day, if that. They know that some people have no choices at all over what they get to eat. So why have lunches become so complicated and maddening at my house? Breakfast and supper aren’t like this. Why lunch?
I’ll tell you why…lunch at home is associated with lunch at school. That’s a shame. I remember really enjoying lunchtime. It was the one part of the day that no work was involved! Today, children pick on other children for what they bring to eat. It happens. My children have told me it happens to them. Why can’t a child just eat!? Tucker can’t even eat at school anymore because of it.
Eating is an intimate act. To be ridiculed while eating is really damaging to a child. Consuming food is necessary to live. Who do these children think they are? Sitting there eating their school lunch, making fun of the child eating something different, something healthier.
I will end this article here. When I began this article, it was going to be funny and upbeat. Along with the lunches at school issue, I was going to complain about how much the children eat while they are home during the summer. I didn’t make the association to lunch with school until I got to the end. I do not believe in belittling children for any reason. So for that reason, I will leave it here.
I’d like to hear from you. Email me with your child’s school, grade and what they eat for lunch at school. firstname.lastname@example.org