First, let me point out that much like everything in our nutty lives, Chris and I split lunch prep duty evenly. Monday-him. Tuesday-me. Wednesday-him. Thursday-me. And we alternate every other Friday. It is a “lunch bag” shared custody agreement if you will.
It is a well-known fact that Mom lunches rock and Daddy’s lunches are—”um, Dad can I buy??” This week I found out that Sam had already spent all $30 in his account–in the first three weeks of school. “Son, how is that possible?” He looks down and mumbles something about a drink. We are not fools. Milk in the school cafeteria still miraculously costs 40 cents. It is not humanly possible for that child to drink $30 worth of school milk.
Investigation commenced. But first, a comparison.
“Mom Lunch Days”
5:30 am: Mom awake
5:40 am: prep begins after coffee
5:50 am: water boils
6:00 am: pasta is cooked, seasoned and put into preheated Thermoses (one bedazzled pink, one Lego Star Wars, and one beaten out of recognition–you guess whose is whose)
6:15 am: Veggie Prep: Cucumbers for M and H: peeled and seeded, circles for H, spears for M. Sam gets celery–really.
6:30 am: Fruit Prep: Grapes for M and H, apple for Sam
6:40 am: Snacks: M and H get Goldfish, Sam gets Chex Mix
6:50 am: Drinks: Chocolate milk for H, Water for M, Iced Tea for Sam. (all in temperature controlled and insulated bottles)
7:00 am: Non-brown bag vessels are prepped with ice and hot packs for separate compartments, silverware, napkins and a single piece of candy are tucked in. Haddie gets a love note. Sam and M are not “weird” so no notes for them.
7:05 am: Top two are out the door, lunches in cooler bags carefully clipped to their packs.
I sit with steaming coffee #2 and catch my breath.
“Dad Lunch Days”
6:45 am: Chris awake (sort of)
6:55 am: Three PB and J sandwiches are assembled using only the heels of the bread and chunky, homemade raspberry jam. (note: none of our kids like PB and J, crusts, or raspberry jam.)
7:05 am: Top two are shoved out the door. Cooler bags are missing so each kid has a Wegman’s or Target shopping bag (not Walmart–what kind of people do you think we are?) As they fumble with plastic bags, browning bananas and baggies full of Grape Nuts are ale-oped from the front door. No my love. Kids do not like Grape Nuts. In fact, only old, constipated men like Grape Nuts.
Forget napkins, silverware or treats.
It turns out, Sammy has been supplementing on Dad days with soft pretzels, $2.00 iced teas, and about 17 chocolate chip cookies per week.
We had a family meeting. Everyone understood that not all lunch-packers are created equal. We had to learn to accept the limitations of others. Lastly, spending $30 on empty calories is not an acceptable solution. Dad promised to try harder and Sam promised to be less hungry.
On the way home today, I tested out our “therapy.” When asked how his lunch was today (Dad day,) Sammy looked forlorn.
Me: “Sam! What? PB and J again??”
Sam: “No, Mom it was a pepperoni sandwich.”
Me: “Oh. Frozen bread?”
Sam: “No…the bread was fine. It’s just that I had to take the whole sandwich apart to peel all the little pieces of plastic off of the pepperoni.”
Note: When Mom buys pepperoni, she invests the extra $1.49 to get the pre-sliced, unwrapped kind.