Lunch was so uneventful for me growing up that I don't remember it. That is until I entered 5th grade where no one was allowed to bring their lunch and you had to eat from the cafeteria. I absolutely loved this. I have distinct memories of that cafeteria where we sat gleefully with our teachers and dined over a pleasant conversation while getting our first lessons in table manners (no talking between tables). I really enjoyed the tradition of it all.
Of course for me eating has always been an exciting event, so it's no wonder I embraced lunchtime at school. I recall loving the hot ham and cheese sandwiches, the breaded pork chops and mashed potatoes, and the mac and cheese. What do these have in common? They were hot. I happen to know my daughter loves when I put anything in her thermos because as she says, "it's always a surprise and it's always good." I think the idea of a hot lunch is really satisfying to kids, so sometimes the same 'ol pb&j just falls flat (and gets squished too, as I recall).
I also distinctly remember we had the option to make our own salad or sandwich and I invented a dish when I was in fifth grade where I took a tortilla, spread it with peanut butter, covered it with shredded lettuce and rolled it up. Little did I know I was making Thai food.
I never remember my parents never asking me what I ate for lunch. I never ate breakfast. Then again, I grew up differently than I am raising my kids. My mom was a schoolteacher so we ate every dinner together that she made from scratch, never take out. We also just didn't have sugared cereals and chips around the house. The worst indulgence I could make would have been to eat too much bread. Which I did, because that's what kids do, indulge in the things they love. My mom always knew she was getting that one good dinner in me so she probably didn't worry about the rest of the day. Unfortunately, I can't make the same promise.
The key, and I am trying to actually do this, is to not have the junk around. Knowing the choices of things to eat at home could range from good for you to not bad for you, you can let the kids make their own lunches and snacks and see what they invent. Even if it's as weird as peanut butter and lettuce, it's really not that bad for them.
In all seriousness, I had a few other bad habits. We always had a stick of pepperoni around and I would take big bites out of it and stick it back in the fridge. Nice.
Packing lunches. The bane of a parent's existence.
When I was in 6th grade my mom turned over lunch-packing duty to me and I brought a yogurt wrapped in foil and two cookies for lunch every day for two years. The yogurt usually ended up in the garbage and I had a nutty buddy for lunch. I survived. Now that I am dealing with my sixth grade daughter and her contrary attitude, I understand where my mom was coming from and am ready to follow suit.
A few days ago my daughter announced she didn't eat any of her lunch and ate her friend's spaghetti instead. Her lunch consisted of a turkey sandwich, grapes, baked chips, a yogurt tube, and girl scout cookies. Sounds good to me. What more could she want? I asked her what she would rather have and was met with her typical "I don't know." I guarantee if I packed spaghetti she would end up eating a friend's turkey sandwich. Grrr.
What do you pack for lunch for your kids?
I think that breakfast for dinner idea is brilliant. Rach calls it BLD (see our collection of these recipes) or Breakfast Lunch Dinner, meaning it's a recipe you can have for any of those meals.
You can make it so healthy, like you did with crepes and fruit, you can even use buckwheat flour, which I just discovered, is not wheat at all. I had no idea, did you? It's actually in the same family as rhubarb, although I don't really think it's a vegetable either. What the heck is it? Well, for one, it's gluten-free which means its groats make a great porridge and its crepes or pancakes allow people to enjoy these foods without the gluten.
Either way, I salute you for starting this trend, which I will be certain to try in my house. If only my kids liked eggs...
So I made my kids' week last night - my husband was out so we had breakfast for dinner - they were literally cheering. I made crepes (which they think is special - but just as easy as pancakes) and then put out all the toppings so they could make them the way they each wanted. I put out sliced strawberries and bananas, peanut butter, nutella and yes, some chocolate syrup. A fun occasional treat and needles to say, no need for dessert last night!
Mmmm. King Crab legs with lots of melted butter - a fave. As for the chicken vindaloo, the kids ate it - my son balked because the chicken was yellow (because of the turmeric) but once he tasted it he liked it. The girls insisted on soy sauce which I initially objected to as I tried to explain to them that the flavors didn't go together but ultimately let them drown the rice in the stuff.
I left out the hot pepper so my husband and I put our own hot sauce on. Speaking of, do your kids eat spicy food? My kids freak out, yet I know a lot of kids who love it.
So wait, how did your family like the Chicken Vindaloo? Was it too spicy? I brought home King Crab legs last night, which I remember as a decadent treat growing up and yet my son ran away, scared!
Well, my 7 year old son had his first sleepover this weekend where he slept out at his friend's house. I am very close to this family so I felt it was fine, I was more worried that he wouldn't go to sleep and would be a burden to the mom, since he tends to get very moody and cranky. I was texting her until I fell asleep.
He was better behaved than I have ever known him to be and for a long period of time-he didnt come home until the next afternoon. He was the only child in the house who came when she called everyone to breakfast and he was helpful.
It made me so proud of him for being a good kid, for embracing independence and for having courage. It also taught me that maybe it's time I let go a little bit...
It's so funny you mention the letting your kids walk to school alone topic because a friend just reminded me yesterday about the woman in NYC a few years ago who got in trouble for letting her 10 year old take the subway to school by himself. I grew up in an urban neighborhood and walked alone to school my entire life - starting at age 5. I usually walked with friends but sometimes on my own. I also regularly roamed the city streets unaccompanied and yes, would sometimes encounter some strange characters, but my parents raised me to be wary, and I am still proudly paranoid. It has served me well.
I am far more cautious with my kids and I am reading more and more that the world is actually just as safe today as when we were growing up. I honestly think the media has made us crazy. I do think 9 is a little young for your daughter to walk to school unless she was with a group. 10 or 11 sounds more reasonable to me (with some lengthy role playing to prepare her for any unlikely situations with strangers that may arise). I actually just the other day was encouraging my 11 year old to walk with a friend to the local coffee shop - independence is important.
I would have brought the shoes too, maybe she can have a few chances before you don't follow up. I have gone so far as to be late for work because my kid forgot something. They're little still, why should they have that horrible feeling of not doing something right at school.
Mornings, however, are terrible in my house. I let my kids sleep a little too late-my fault, however I feel like sleep is so important at this age, isn't it? My daughter is ready to go on time, but my son I practically have to brush his teeth for him and then I start yelling. I am thinking I should let him get himself ready and if he's not then he goes in late while I run my daughter over.
Another question-we live only three blocks from school. My kids are 7 and 9. I wouldn't dream of letting them walk alone. Am I crazy? One other parent lets the oldest-her 9 year old-walk alone if the other two younger kids are not ready when she is. I hate to deny my 9 year old that independence but she would have to cross two streets. I don't know, it just doesn't feel right to me.
So I am having a total Monday today. The day started off with everyone waking up late and not really caring about being late for school, except my poor son, who is in the car ready for 20 minutes while his two sisters are straightening their hair at the time we should be at school (good thing we live about 4 minutes away).
Then my daughter realized she forgot her gym shoes as she was getting out of the car. When your kids forget something for school - homework, a book, a permission slip - do you bring it in for them or make them pay the consequences of not being responsible for their school items?
My kids' school asks parents to NOT bring in forgotten items for the kids because it teaches them responsibility, even though they might miss out on something fun. I go back and forth, depending on what it is that they forgot. A permission slip I will make a special trip for, while I might let them pay the price of leaving a math worksheet on the kitchen table.
PS: I brought in the gym shoes:-).