Samantha has been in kindergarten for 8 weeks now. That means I’ve been packing a snack and lunch for 8 weeks now. I pack either a PB or turkey and cheese sandwich, a piece of fruit, usually an apple or banana, water to drink, and one other thing, maybe a yogurt or applesauce or a fruit and veggie puree pouch.
I’ve been noticing a trend on what is coming home. Bananas always come home. She doesn’t like that the peel turns brown in the lunch box. I’ve stopped sending the yogurt because she never ate it. Not once. But I’ll still send a banana if I’m out of other fruit in the house.
Why? Do I think if she’s really hungry she’ll eat it. No, I know she’ll skip a meal if there’s not something she likes, and really, she’s not going to starve. She can always go get a hot lunch too, if she’s desperate.
I pack it so I won’t be judged. There, I said it. I volunteered the first week of school at lunch time. Since Sammy’s mixed, no one really knows she’s my child unless she’s with me. I was helping open juices and containers for the other kids and I saw one of the lunch ladies go over to Sam to give her a napkin and fork. Sammy gave me this look that let me know I had screwed up. Of course kindergartners needed napkins and forks even though I only pack finger foods.
And I hoped the lunch lady didn’t know she was my child. That she didn’t judge me as a negligent, napkin forgetting parent who was clearly depriving her child of basic necessities. So, I send the bananas. So if one of the other parents (who know she’s mine) is helping out at lunch will see I provide wholesome, well-balanced lunches, with fruit. They will know, I care about my child’s nutrition, and that I can’t help if she doesn’t eat it. In fact, they’ll make sure it comes home with her, so I’ll know she didn’t eat it, and I can appropriately admonish her for not eating well enough.
On banana days, when she gets picked up, the only admonishing is coming from her and directed at me. She scolds me about the banana because I should remember she doesn’t like them. Oh, I forgot, I say. Because I don’t want her to judge me either.
Do your kids eat what you pack them? Do you feel judged by the quality of your lunches?
P.S. Ella had a tantrum and pounded on my keyboard, breaking the “n” off. It’s really annoying now and do you know how often the letter “n” is used?