It’s March Break, which means I don’t have to make lunches for a whole week! Hurray! I’m a night-time lunch maker because I don’t move fast enough in the morning, and there’s nothing worse than realizing at a quarter to midnight on a school night that, [insert naughty word], I forgot to get started on the lunches.
My creativity definitely ebbs and flows when it comes to lunch making. Girlchild is pretty good about eating a variety of foods, but her brother is not so versatile, especially when it comes to fruit.
A typical bagged lunch in my house might consist of a sandwich, juice, yogurt, fruit and a snack such as crackers, cheese or a homemade muffin. Most of that stuff is palatable to my darlings, but if anything is going to get rejected in Boychild’s lunch, it’s the fruit.
He likes fruit and he’ll eat it at home, but it rarely gets consumed when I send it in his lunch.
(I should also mention I long ago conceded defeat when it comes to sending vegetables in the lunches. Maybe someday, but for now I figure getting fruit down their gullets is a victory.) On the fruit front I’ve tried lots of different things – from a variety of fresh fruit to tinned options and even things like applesauce. I draw the line at the rubbery fruit snacks – I just can’t get my head around those. On rare occasions I will send one, but it’s always accompanied by real fruit.
I have even tried sending extra fruit in place of the snack, but that just means more fruit comes home.
As you can imagine, I spend a great deal of time standing despondently in the kitchen, staring woefully at a selection of fruit and fighting the inner demon that is telling me to just forget about it. It’s like having the imaginary angel and devil on each shoulder.
Devil: Just skip it. What’s the point? He won’t eat it.
Angel: Don’t give up! You must send the fruit! Occasionally he eats it – he might surprise you!
Devil: Don’t be silly. He’ll ignore it and it’ll come home limp and yucky and there goes all that good money into the composter.
Angel: You must send the fruit! It’s in the Good Mother contract, section 9: “Good mothers send fruit in their children’s lunch bags.”
Devil: Good mothers don’t waste food.
Angel: Someone will notice you haven’t sent nutritious fruit in his bag!
Sigh. It always comes back to that. I imagine all the teachers gathering in the hallway at lunch time, tsking and shaking their wise heads. “Can you believe that Gray woman didn’t send fruit in Boychild’s lunch AGAIN? What an awful, hideous woman.”
So I always send the fruit.
Don’t tell anyone – but sometimes I cheat.
A while back Boychild was on a kick that he liked canned fruit cups. I was all over that. It’s fruit, it comes in a recyclable container and he’s eating it. All good things must come to an end, however, and the fruit cups fell out of favour. That left us with a small, lonely supply left over. We’re down to one tin, actually.
Sometimes, when it’s a quarter to midnight and my heart’s not in the whole lunch-making thing, I reach for that lonely tin and toss it in the bag. It’s the fruit decoy. He’s not likely to eat it, but he’s not likely to eat any other fruit, so what the heck. More importantly, I am not in breach of section 9 of the Good Mother contract AND there will be no need for anyone to tsk about the glaring lack of fruit in the lunch bag.
Soon I will have to invest in a new batch of decoys as the label is getting a bit worn on “Fruit Cup: The Last,” not to mention I am mindful of expiry dates. One day Boychild actually ate one of the decoys, which was a joyous and wonderful surprise.
Now if you will excuse me, I have to go and polish my Mother of the Year award. Where did that thing get to….
Published in The Perth Courier on March 18/10.