Bored Housewives Network

Getting through the day, one bonbon at a time.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Lunchbox Angst

Sam isn't even one year old, and I already feel guilty about the inferior lunches I'll be sending him to school with.

I've already told Anne-Marie that I once had a bout of insomnia when Sam was about four months old, due to the fact that I realized I had NO IDEA what I was going to pack for his school lunches... a bout of insomnia that was only alleviated when I got out of bed, brainstormed a list of lunch options, and wrote it down. I've since lost the list.

I have an uneasy relationship with school lunches. I was the world's pickiest eater when I was a kid. I didn't realize until I was, oh, twenty-eight years old, that my pickiness was due to the fact that my mother was a terrible cook (except for desserts; my mom is a grand champeen baker).

Here was a stereotypical lunch for the Wee Doppelganger:
  • one sandwich, the contents of which I forget and which are destined to remain shrouded in mystery
  • one home-baked dessert (i.e. cookies -- always packed in threes, which to this day remains the quantity in which I consume cookies -- or cake or pie or tarts)
  • one store-brand granola bar
  • one apple
Most days, everything went in the garbage... except for the dessert, of course. When I think about the thousands of mom-hours spent packing those disrespected lunches, it makes me want to cry. And yes, it's selfish crying. Because the thought that I could spend thousands of mom-hours packing sad little abandoned lunches breaks my heart. Because, dudes, I hate to cook, yo.

Does anyone other than me worry about stuff like this? For you moms of older kids, how do you figure out what your kids will want to eat during the day? Do you have to come up with a brand-new lunch concept EVERY SINGLE DAY? How do you keep sandwiches from getting nasty? Is there a fruit other than the apple that travels well? How much bloody Tupperware do you have to invest in to keep this particular ship afloat? If you make crappy lunches but are really good at making little drawings and notes on post-its that you tuck INTO the lunchbox, do you get any points for that at all? Or are those embarrassing, and if so, at what age does this embarrassment commence?

Oh, and this woman here? With her perfect, home-made, nutritionally balanced, creative, cutely packaged vegan lunchboxes and her little kid who loves them and actually eats them... I kind of hate her a little bit. Sad, huh?


  • At 11:13 PM, Blogger Anne-Marie said…

    This week, on the eve of (my) Sam's first day of daycare, I broke into huge, sobbing tears trying to figure out what to pack for his lunch. See, daycare provides snacks but not lunch and Sam's a huge eater of all things solid and since he's not breastfeeding during the time I'm at work, yet still refuses formula, he compensates by eating ridiculous amounts of solids. So. All this to say I had visions of Sam hungry and running out of food and calling out my name... and i lost it. Right there in the kitchen, uncontrollable sobs.

    Is this the beginning of the joys of motherhood? Worrying about stupid shit like what to pack in lunches?

    And by the way; vegan lunch lady - what ever happened to bologna and mayo sandwhiches with a bag of chips? That's what I grew up on and I turned out ok. sort of.

  • At 11:36 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    There's no way that lunch is vegan; you can't make biscuits rise like that without yeast. She's a fraud.

    My mom made us all kinds of things for lunch that most people would find revolting but which I loved and still love: cold Zoodles/cold Kraft Dinner/cottage cheese in a thermos; individually wrapped raw wiener; standard sandwiches (turkey or bologna); bagels with cream cheese in repurposed margarine container. I don't remember getting vegetables, but I bet we would if we were kids now -- celery (maybe with Cheez Whiz), baby carrots, cherry tomatoes. And we also got cookies in threes (standard serving size, as far as I am concerned), or else pudding or granola bar or Fun Fruits. And a piece of fruit: apples are good, but oranges, not-too-ripe pears, or bananas work too. Peaches or nectarines, I would put in a Tupperware so they don't get their skin rubbed off in transit.

    It's so sad that I still remember our lunches in that much detail. But she truly did make them up until I was out of high school even though she commuted over an hour each way to work. Aw. Mom!

  • At 4:22 PM, Blogger landismom said…

    Well, one major difference I can see with my daughter's lunch--the use of a real fork. I ended up going with plastic (wasteful, I know) after she absentmindedly threw out two real ones. We do a lot of peanut butter & jelly, with fruit and water. She loves pasta, so she'll usually get leftovers from last night's dinner, if we have them.

    On a related note, we've recently been having a Bread & Jam for Frances and Best Friends for Frances marathon, and I'm amazed by the lunches those badgers eat!

  • At 6:10 PM, Blogger Molly said…

    If lunch went in the waste bin, what would you eat?

  • At 8:22 PM, Blogger Tammy said…

    Other than the aforementioned dessert, I wouldn't eat anything. I've always had a camel-like ability to go without food for hours, or sometimes even a full day or two if I'm really forgetful. Pretty pathetic, I know. This probably also explains why I was the runtiest kid in my class.

  • At 8:15 AM, Blogger Unknown said…

    My preschooler stays for lunch 3 days a week, two of which, I can send money with her for pizza (which I do). That one day I have to pack lunch is torture. I'd rather clean the toilet (but of course, I don't). But I usually give her macaroni sprinkled with grated cheese and grapes.

  • At 6:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I used to love sandwiches cut into triangles (if it wasn't a PBJ day, my dad would put the turkey, cheese, and bread in separate baggies to prevent mushiness), Campbell's chicken and noodle soup in my tiny thermos, mini bags of chips, granola bars, apples, bananas, pears, oranges or kiwi, leftover pasta, bagels (the first kid in my class to bring them. The Midwest, what can I tell you?)...I think what made the most successful lunches was breaking out of the sandwich, chips, fruit and cookie rut though. The coolest lunches were the ones that weren't "lunchy."

    Leftovers of dinners I particularly liked were a big hit. Anything your kid doesn't mind eating cold will work. My little brother would sometimes ask for raw hot dogs in his lunches, but maybe your kids won't grow up to be quite that weird.

    Another thing, which Vegan lady touched on, is that kids in most schools only get twenty minutes to eat if they're lucky, so it shouldn't be stuff that requires too much assembly or too much chewing. And don't stress. My mother sometimes sent me off to school with nothing but a slice of pizza wrapped in foil, and I turned out just fine.

  • At 2:04 AM, Blogger ... said…

    I once sent Finn to school with a chocolate croissant, a bag of Lays and three fruit leathers - all bought from the corner store near her school.

    But when I'm not riding the Child and Family Services train, I send her with a blueberry bagel, some fruit, a few pieces of cheese and a yogurt. I KNOW she eats the bagels... but the rest of it? Who can tell? She doesn't have rickets, she has all her own teeth and she can run pretty fast. So, I reckon alls good.

  • At 2:06 AM, Blogger ... said…

    My mom always sent the same sandwich - white bread topped with margarine, a processed cheese slice and a leaf or two of iceberg lettuce.

    And cupcakes! Always delicious cupcakes.

    Man, I'm fat.


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