The Lunch Box

Good Morning school day and lunch boxes. Good Morning daily “war” with one or all of my children.

I have four children and each has a different like or dislike for their food intake. Each is also limited with foods they can’t eat either through lack of teeth or allergies and sensitivities. Add to that the texture sensitivities and taste distortions when their noses are acting up and our choices are very limited indeed.

So here I am on a morning, packing lunch boxes to the sounds of “Mum, I don’t want this in there” “Mum, you know I only eat this at home” and various other things I won’t repeat here as they sound abusive even to me. I don’t listen to half of it anymore. I just pack it the way I have for the last 4 years, the remarks of some teachers still ringing in my ears. “This is not suitable for lunch….this will make other parents complain…” and the piece-de-resistance “Not very nutritional is it?!”

Well, I pack an apple bar, an apple (real, peeled and cut so they can eat it), an oreo bar, a small apple juice, a twiggy stick (recent addition) a babybell cheese and two “sandwiches” made out of Sao’s with Vegemite & butter. This is the content of the two school boys’ lunch boxes.

I had heard back from one teacher that she is so pleased when my second son brings bread to school. “So good for him, aids his digestion, is ful of fibre…” Were some of the reasons she quoted.

 Well he hates it and tells me off every time I put it into his box. I have to hide it and pray he doesn’t check his lunch before he gets to school. I cop it when he comes home though “Why did you pack it, I hate it and hte teacher makes me take a bite before I can go to play time”. As for a Banana, no way no how will any of my kids accept it in their lunches. They will eat them at home, sometimes two or three a day, but at school…no way!

The last two weeks, I have been packing a small lunch for the twins so they can get used to having “big lunch” at day-care. They brought home a list. Always with the lists, I understand there are some parents who may be struggling to work out lunches but really, those lists make me feel even more guilt than re-assurance.

My Daughter has really come out there, she asks for apple (cut like the big boys, without skin) and Watermelon and apple juice. She even had Mango but it got squishy so no more. As a little treat she also gets Tiny Teddies.

My little boy….so sensitive in his younger days that he was limited to the strictest diet, well, he doesn’t like anything at all. Hates fruit, will only eat two or three strands of spaghetti (no sauce at all) for dinner, makes his own fairy bread (but only for at home!) and practically lives on milk, rice wheels and chocolate frogs. He makes lunch a real war.

I packed him a lunch made up of an oreo bar, a little packet of tiny teddies and a sandwich made up with berliner (fancy devon) and I cut it into squares just like he has it at home.

You should have heard the explosion when he saw the sandwich in his box. He screamed blue murder, telling me he only eats that at home and to put it away straight away. He practically threw it at me in the car on the way to day-care. “Mum, you know I choked on berliner once!” was a major point to his argument too.

When I gave it to the teacher in the kitchen, he insisted I go tell her to throw it out. It was not pretty.

At the end of the day, when I picked them up, he had successfully refused all food except for the teddies and the Oreo bar. But the teacher said it wasn’t healthy so he wasn’t allowed to eat it…..

So here I am, 4 years into making lunch which causes the least grief at home, which is allergy, teeth and teacher friendly (to some extent) and about to have to start all over again with my youngest. Give me strength and the wisdom to answer diplomatically when the inevitable food question comes.

With Love and Support,

Tarja Kelly

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