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Daily dose of torture… April 2, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — Noelle Bickle / Abby Brooks @ 10:48 AM
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Making the kids’ lunches. Lord, how I hate making the kids lunches. It’s a task more tedious, taxing, and thankless than any other. Gone are the days of a brown bagging a PB&J, a cookie and apple . No  – making a lunch is far more complicated than that. I’ve seen lunch making evolve over generations too – since my oldest daughter just turned 26 (ahhhh! I know, scream with me!) and my youngest is just 9 – I can tell you – times have changed.

 

Let’s start with the lunches I went to school with. I lived in a rural community and I walked home for lunch from grade 1-3. My mom always had home cooked meals waiting for me when I walked in the door (she happens to be Midas in the kitchen). The upside  – amazing meals and a connection to home midday. The downside – not only was I late most days when school started, but was late after lunch too, giving my teachers a great reason to go for a second round of apeshit angry. What can I say  – bulrushes, ice puddles, and grasshoppers are distracting for a kid with ADD. It’s like I travelled back and forth through wonderland a few times a day and was expected to rush back to be put in lockdown. It’s a miracle I ever made it back to class.  As an aside – I think it’s very interesting that the teachers (except one) never made a stink to my parents about me being late – which I think in retrospect means my absence from the structured classroom, even for fifteen or twenty minutes was a welcome break.

 

I digress. Junior grades – I came home for lunch. From grades 4-8, I rode the bus to a school further away, so no coming home. I brown bagged it in an actual brown bag – although I do remember a yellow handled metal lunchbox for some time –  have no idea what it had on the front. Maybe Fat Albert? Maybe Bionic Woman? Regardless, it was short-lived (I probably broke it the same week I got it), and I remember unfolding the top of a small brown bag for years of lunch time meals. My mother was into healthy (non-processed) eating so you could always find carrot sticks (not the baby carrots, but the whole carrots, peeled and cut), a piece of fruit, a home-made cookie and a sandwich in the bag. I only had two kinds of sandwiches I would eat – peanut butter with grape jelly or bologna. The bologna had to be between two slices of plain white wonder bread. No butter, no mustard – nothing. I still remember how it tasted in mouth – which makes sense  – because I probably ate about 2000 of them during my school years. And as much as it pained my mother to send such a pithy of a sandwich when my sister went off with cream cheese on rye, or a thermos of something warm, bologna was alright by me. I do remember envying two classmates with working moms who came with pre-packaged hostess cakes, but since that was  a main staple of their daily brown bag, they were always eager to trade them away for a homemade chocolate chip or peanut butter cookie. Ahhh, the simple days.

 

Flash forward to my daughter Heather’s lunch days. She had the metal or plastic lunch boxes with whatever fad was current, and got a new lunch box every year. In terms of eats – she was the kind of kid who was more than happy with a PB&J most days, though she always did favour a warm soup in a thermos. Again though – pretty easy -she liked the same stuff everyday. It probably helped that on and off over the years I lived with my parents – which means my mother would have been packing the grub for her as a favour to me  – which let’s face it – is the easiest way to get through lunch making. The great thing about these lunch making days though – there were no restrictions about what you could and couldn’t bring, and no expectations about what they should or shouldn’t have packed in there. And lo and behold she grew up healthy and normal! Go figure!

 

Let’s look at the lunch routine of my two kids at home now. They’re both in public school and bus it – so no cafeteria and no coming home for meals. I pack them a lunch (in a trendy and multi-pocketed insulated lunch bag) that matches their backpack, and normally has to be replaced by the end of the year based on how ripped to bits it starts looking around March. We can’t send peanut butter (or anything with peanuts or nuts in it or near it). They get two nutrition breaks which are 20 minutes each, but that includes going into the hall and getting your lunch, bringing it back to your desk, deciding what to eat out of it, eating, and packing up again to go outside. So the kids today get about 4 minutes to wolf down something twice a day. The school requests you bring garbage-less lunches, which means you are taking pre-packaged stuff out of the package at home and putting into plastic containers, not a Ziploc bag (which is garbage) and you do this so you don’t look like a hater of the environment. The school wants the kids to have healthy choices – so you have to pack “good enough” stuff that your kids will actually eat it, but “good enough” stuff that the school doesn’t accuse you of feeding your kid all crap.

 

I’ve heard stories of teachers confiscating certain items out of  lunch bags – deeming them “bad choices”, but that has yet to happen at our school or to my kids It’s too bad in a way, because on occasion I like the excuse to go totally postal – and that would certainly be the ticket to get me there. I admit – I don’t send my kids complete garbage like candy or chocolate or deep fried sandwiches to school – but I can tell you that if I did, my kids would have the right to eat it, or by god – someone would feel my mama bear wrath.

 

On top of all the restrictions and requirements imposed on families by the schools these days, I also have an in-house struggle with lunch making. My kids don’t like the same thing every day. They have their favourites  – Lainey loves a bagel and cream cheese, Sam loves a tuna fish sandwich, they both love a veggie fajita,  but they don’t want any two lunches the same in a week, and as a must – neither of them wants deli meat on a bun more than once a week. So every day I have to think of another great plan for the lunch menu. It’s exhausting and quite honestly I live for pizza day, hotdog day, pita day or any other day where I can send a few bucks and get a break from being the lunch lady.

 

If we look at the change in schoolyard lunches as a measuring stick for how much our world has evolved – I’d say things are going turning to muck. Like a processed pudding cup left out in the sun. I long for the lunch days of bologna and plenty of peanuts. Where have those good ol’ days gone?

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11 Responses to “Daily dose of torture…”

  1. Colleen Says:

    I’d be happy to pack a very UNhealthy lunch for your kids just so that I can read on here about you going postal at your children’s school! 🙂

    I have food allergies but I swear to the peanut gawds that I would love to just once shove a peanut butter sandwich in my daughter’s lunch on those winter mornings when I’m making her or rather cooking her lunch after I’ve landed in the kitchen standing up on two aching legs well before my cup of tea. But I wouldn’t really do that because I do understand the whole allergy thing – a mom can dream once in a while though. Disclaimer: please other moms I really do understand the peanut allergy thing can cause death. I’m just expressing myself. I would never want to harm another child. So please don’t feel the need to berate me. Pretty please.

    My daughter is so picky that she actually has to see a doctor for it because her ability to eat only about five items over a very loooooong time made her pretty sick. She’s doing much better now though with his wonderful help, her getting older and being willing to try foods, and me pretty much laying down the law along with a new spread and variety of foods to help her with her weird things with food. Her food can’t touch either so her lunch isn’t always garbage-less.

    She gets spaghetti, soup, chicken nuggets, grilled cheese (sometimes with bacon inside!), tortilla chips with hummus or salsa. I could go on. I remember my mother making me asparagus freaking soup in my thermos! Barf! How I didn’t end up at the doctor’s myself after drinking what I thought was milk only to spit the asparagus blech onto the floor I’ll never know. I think I’m scarred for life I tell ya!

    I wish that I didn’t have food allergies – just yesterday I was reminiscing over bologna in white Wonderbread with lots of mayo. But I can’t eat that anymore and I probably shouldn’t eat it even if I could. That brings me to middle age spread – best left on Wonderbread but now happily residing on my middle in places where I never knew it could live.

    Sorry for any spelling/grammar mistakes I’m in a hurry out the door but you made me howl with laughter and I just had to let you know you made my day lady!

    Kids lunches mouhahahahahahaha!

    Have a great day xo!

    • My kids arn’t what I would call picky – I can only imagine what you and parents of the picky eaters go through! It’s a challenge when they’ll eat anything (just not twice in one week!) 🙂

      Thanks for letting me know Colleen – and as far as the wonderbread giving the middle age spread – I hear you sista!

  2. Jenna Says:

    Omg how true is that. I hate hate making lunches I am not doing it any more Emily is 13 so she can. And next year high school I am sure it won’t be cool to take a lunch but I will be damned it I am sending money for cafeteria crap everyday….. Guess she will have to walk home 🙂

  3. Lisa Llamrei Says:

    I totally ignore the litterless lunch thing. Removing food from its original packaging and putting it in a container is worse for the environment, not better, because you then have to wash the container, which requires hot water (i.e., electricity) and soap. I’m almost disappointed that no one has ever given me a hard time about it because I’ve had that answer ready for years. What the schools really mean by “litterless” is that they want YOU to dispose of the litter not them, so they just send the litter back home, which is fine – then you know what they are eating.

    I’m totally with the school boards on the healthy lunch requirements. I always tried to pack healthy lunches, only to have my kids whine to have the crap their friends have. I’m also sympathetic with the teachers who have to deal with the sugar highs all afternoon if kids are eating candy for lunch. Plus, kids on sugar highs don’t learn well, so it’s really counterproductive anyway. My only objection is that teaching staff usually aren’t well equipped to assess what constitutes a healthy meal.

    It occurred to me while reading this that you don’t need to worry about packing lunches at all anymore. Your kids are plenty old enough to do it themselves. All of mine do, and my youngest is only one year older than Lainey. That was one of the benefits of breaking my leg last summer – I found out the kids are far more capable than I gave them credit for, so I no longer pack lunches every day. Woot!

  4. Susanne Hinds Says:

    Amen to that!

  5. This post was all I needed to get my equilibrium back after a visit to the Dentist’s. I laughed far more than necessary whilst reading it, but truly enjoyed the ride. If you wish to read some more fun stuff about parenting, go to:
    http://www.bethanywrites.com

  6. Winfield Scott Says:

    I think most of us from our generation are with you on the lunch thoughts. Our two have announced they want deli meat sandwiches because I rely to much on left overs from the previous supper to make lunches. PB&J would be a life saver some days.


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