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The guys and school lunch – at least two of us are happy

Submitted by on Thursday, 6 January 2011 One Comment

For Big Guy it fell into the category of Things That Are Really Important. That meant he was going to keep pestering me until I got around to making it happen.

For me it fell into the category of Things I’m A Little Opposed To But Not Militantly So. That meant I was going to drag my feet about making it happen.

Just before Christmas break, though, I’d run out of excuses and finally let the guys loose in the vast wasteland known as school lunch. I still feel a little dirty about that, though in all it’s been a nutritional wash. A wash that’s nonetheless made at least Big Guy incredibly happy, so I suppose the sacrifice was worth it.

I never thought the day would come. At least not so soon. The district could have worked around his nut allergies fairly easy, but the garlic one would have been near impossible. It was hard enough at home. I wasn’t about to ask the less-than-a-handful of folks who feed hundreds of kids a day to try to figure it out.

Then in September a doctor cleared him to eat garlic. Can I eat school lunch now? Big Guy asked.

Not so fast. There’s a pile of paperwork I have to redo, and I also have to talk to the folks in the cafeteria.

All of which was true, but it shouldn’t have taken until December to get it done.That’s what I always do, though,  when I’m a little opposed to something the guys want to do: I take the passive aggressive route and plead “paperwork.”

Finally, the day of reckoning came. It felt odd to not pack Big Guy’s lunch for the first time since he’d started day care at age 1. I missed tucking the cheerful seasonal napkin in the box. I longed to once again sneak in a covert chocolate kiss that would surprise and delight him at lunch. Why, why, why was my first baby boy rejecting me so coldly?

That’s when I realized he’d been rejecting me for years. Unless the lunch was macaroni and cheese or chicken soup it was likely to return home no more than half eaten. The chocolate kiss would be gone, but the rest would ooze out of his lunch box because he never would reseal the containers. He’d be ravenous when he got home, and I’d pretty much prepare Lunch: Round 2. He’d go through spells when he’d actually eat Lunch: Round 1, but they never lasted.

Now that he’s eating at school, he’s at least eating. Yeah, I know. There’s nothing particularly hard about getting a kid to eat pizza rolls or hot dogs or chicken nuggets. But he’s also eating the fruit, which was more than he used to do. He’s trying new foods, too, just like he did at day camp during the summer. Cooked carrots are cool now.

He’s also getting less junk at home – not that he was served a lot to begin with – because that was part of our deal. If you’re going to eat stuff with more salt and less nutrition at school, your snacks are going to have to be healthier at home, I’d warned him.

As for Boots, he still takes his lunch about half the time. Apparently the lunch ladies don’t know how to make pizza yummy for him either – they use that yucky marinara sauce on it, just like I do.

Copyright 2011 Debra Legg. All rights reserved.

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