I've been packing the kids lunches this week. I don't know, it was one of those moments of weakness that made me do it. The complaints of "Mo-oom, the lunchroom food stinks." finally got to me.
I always envision myself packing those lunches you see in the parenting magazines. Fruit and veggies. Hummus. Little pita pieces. All artfully arranged and cut into cute little pieces, of course. A juice box or bottle of milk, with the perfect cookie alongside. In a chic, adorable, lunchbox. My children beside themselves with anticipation that their lunch is gonna rock.
My reality is: Cut the crusts off the bread. Peanut butter and jelly for Nolan, or tuna; peanut butter no jelly for Ben. Chips. Capri Sun. A cookie, fruit snack, or apple for Ben (oooh, an apple!); cookies for Nolan (extra to share). Sometimes, they get a carton of milk at the cafeteria, but more likely, if I don't pack one, they buy themselves a cookie, and I look the other way. Packed in Star Wars lunchboxes they've had for like 3 years. It doesn't always represent the food pyramid like it should, but to them, it rocks.
And then there's Ryan. He is my picky eater. He makes his Dad look like a picnic (we'll get to him in a minute). On the first day he said he wanted string cheese, chips, a Capri Sun, and that would be that. I am still in the process of trying to get him to eat breakfast, and now I have to try and talk him into something more substantial for lunch? I'm stressing about it, but then have a moment of clarity....
Fine. I'll stop reasoning with him, and give him what he wants. Even if it means he'll be a bit hungry. I'm hoping that that would make him realize he needs to eat something for lunch that packs more of a punch. And that he realizes breakfast is a good thing. Hey, it may make me a bad Mom, letting him go like that when I know in all likelihood, it's gonna suck. But I know he's not gonna be starving all day, that he can eat when he gets home. Hopefully, a temporary hungry situation will make him more open to what I can pack him.
Afterschool, I'm going through their lunches so I can pull out the ice packs for re-freezing, and I open Ryan's lunchbox. I'd managed to talk him into half a sandwich that morning, so I was hopeful. Hopeful for nothing, he brought it all back! "We can go out to play after we eat," he earnestly explained to me, "and I wanted to have a lot of time outside." Oh, sure, fabulous, son. Don't eat, and go outside and bake in the 110 degrees. Be my guest. Not even his new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle lunchbox has excited him about eating at school.
I can't even complain to his Dad about this, either. He's picky too. This is a man that will spit out a bite of a burger if he even detects a hint of onion, much less accidentally bites into one. Who once said he didn't like a particular chain's pizza because it was "too cheesy," and the crust was "raw" (chewy). Who told me this very evening that he didn't want me to make him a cheese crisp because I put too much cheese on it (I do not!). Whatever. I can think of more transgressions, but you get the picture. For the love of God, he used to prefer slightly overcooked to al dente! And because he himself is so picky, I've forbidden him from giving Ryan any lectures. "He's just like you," I sigh, as I roll my eyes at Mr W.
I'm going to continue to pack Ryan's lunch for him, to keep trying the first week of classes. If he still is bringing me home a whole lunch's worth, then I'm gonna have to try something else, like the "yuck" cafeteria food. I bet he'll eat it, too, knowing him, but......
The way I look at it, if he throws the "yuck" cafeteria food away, I don't have to see him do it, and at least drinks his milk, it'll be fine.
I can live with that.