School is still not out yet, folks. Ruby did hand in her last homework of the year on Wednesday, which means I am at least free of any more fights that involve me yelling: “Look, if you want to go above and beyond and write an acrostic poem at 9:45 at night the night before your homework is due, Ruby, be my guest, but I am done spelling words for you.” (And yes, I do italicize huge phrases like that when yelling at my kids that late on a school night. I never said I was perfect. Abuse of italics is really one of my lesser offenses.)
But we are still doing the crazy morning scramble, digging through the dirty laundry to find a uniform shirt 10 minutes before she actually has to be in class, enduring the agony of the carpool lane. And worst of all, packing lunches.
I hate packing lunches. I really don’t know why. It’s not like it’s all that onerous. But I would definitely put it on my Top 10 list of Most Hated Parental Chores.
I will do just about anything to make my mornings easier and maximize the amount of time I can stay in bed, so I always make lunch the night before; maybe that’s the problem? Maybe I should just get up 10 minutes earlier and make it while my coffee brews?
Actually, now that I think about it, the “making it the night before” thing originated more as a tactic to avoid morning sickness, as I spent the majority of Ruby’s pre-K year pregnant with Georgia. One too many times running for the bathroom after smelling peanut butter or having to touch lunch meat convinced me to make her lunch at night after I’d topped up on the delightful Phenergan/Zofran cocktail that got me through the days, and now it’s just engrained as a habit. I quite possibly would not hate it as much if it were not one more thing to do at the end of a long day. This counts as an official blog realization.
In any case, though, I do not make elaborate lunches. Given that I outed myself last week as someone who made mandarin orange cups into tiger faces, I can see why some of you might be surprised by the lack of effort I put into lunches. But there are just some things I won’t do as a parent (and won’t judge anyone else for doing if they want to!), and these include but are not limited to handing out baggies of earplugs and candy on airplanes when flying with infants – sorry, but babies get to travel, too, and I don’t owe anyone anything – and making faces, animals, or cartoon characters out of everyday snack foods. I also don’t do cutesy bento box-type lunches, although I have spent way too much time on Pinterest to feign ignorance of their existence.
Georgia eats what they feed her at school, which according to her, every single day, is “spuh-GAT-ti.” On the rare days when the Sodexo school lunch website both works and reveals that chicken nuggets are on the menu, Ruby will eat at school, too. Otherwise, she’s getting a sandwich, some kind of fruit or vegetable that she will never eat but that I feel like I have to put in for show, a bottle of water or a juice box, some kind of chips, and some kind of dessert. Occasionally, I will throw in yogurt or Babybel cheese if I have recently read something about kids not getting enough calcium. It’s certainly not the worst lunch, but it’s also not orange slices arranged around a raspberry center to look like a flower or birds made out of mozzarella balls snug in a cold pasta nest.
People make time for what’s important to them. I make time for party favors, teacher gifts, class valentines and anything birthday-related (I made a chocolate angel pie for my stepson’s birthday last week that took probably close to five hours to bake and assemble, and I’d do it again in a heartbeat). But making lunches is just so not a priority for me.
Maybe I will find some inspiration during the very last week of school. More likely, though, I will just send her with a Lunchable every day.