The kids' and I's first day back to school went well today. Norah was completely cool with the change in school and seemed to easily settle in with her new teacher and new friends. Caleb cried at drop off, but that was expected. We could hear that he'd stopped crying right after we left his room, and at the end of the day, his teacher said he did well.
I did a little car-crying. Also expected. But, it was brief, and soon, I was fine as I sucked down my coffee and listened to NPR in blissful silence.
I also learned a little bit of the successes/weaknesses of what/how we packed the kids' lunches. I don't know why this is something that confounds me. Maybe because I grew up eating the crappiest packed lunches in the history of humankind that I want their lunches to be totally rad, but still healthy.
Seriously, when I was a kid, my packed lunches were the WORST. Reasons for this were aplenty:
1. My mom hates waste, so I think she thought of our lunches as an opportunity to use up food. I opened that bag with trepidation: It was like a game of roulette. I never knew what I'd find in there. My brother often referred to the sandwiches she concocted as "dinner between bread." I'm sure she often thought she was being inventive and creative whilst using up what was leftover, but by god, I can't describe how many times those science experiments went right in the trash. Wasteful. Sorry, Mom.
2. My mom is a thrifty person, who thinks packaged, prepared foods are over-priced, but she was also health-conscious before it was cool. So...you got Lucky Charms when you were growing up? Awesome. I didn't. We didn't get sugary cereals. They were gonna "rot [our] teeth." I also didn't get a single Hostess product in my lunch when I was growing up, and I can tell you this: It's a hard sell to try and trade your goddamn apple for Twinkies.
3. Lastly, our packed lunches were train wrecks because my mom had some kind of grudge against actual sandwich baggies. Don't ask me why. Baggies were probably socialist or something, I don't know. What I do know, is that she used Saran Wrap for virtually any kind of preservation. Guess what? Saran Wrap doesn't work for shit to keep loose chips grouped together or to keep unruly grapes from breaking free and disseminating all over your brown bag and ultimately getting squished and oozing their squishedness onto other disorderly, free-rolling lunch companions.
So, most days, I loathed the lunch my mom packed me, and I loved the days I got hot lunch, or later in high school, when she just handed me some money to get lunch as I pleased.
Thus, my feelings now. I want my kids' lunches to be healthy (no Twinkies for them either) but I also want them to like what they're eating, or if nothing else, not dread it.
Any hints or advice? Little helpful tidbits for packing the right balance of healthy food they'll actually consume that won't take me half the night before to prepare and package? (Unlike my mother, I appreciate companies that do some of the legwork for me and I'm totally willing to overpay for convenience.)
What did you get in your lunches as a kid? Was yours awesome? Or, did it suck like mine?