What I Learned From A Summer of Packing Lunches

Who knew so many demands could fit inside these little bags?

I thought I’d save money this summer by packing the boys’ lunches while they attended day camp during our workday.  Sometimes savings is measured in more than dollars and cents, as I learned over the last ten weeks.  Here’s what I discovered:

  • My older son prefers cloth napkins over paper napkins.  It’s true – the same unused paper napkin has been in his lunch bag since the beginning of June, but his T-shirts are always messy.
  • My children are double-crossing spies, but this is how I found out that veggies aren’t eaten, juice is wasted and treats are devoured first.  I wonder how long it will be until they figure out that blackmailing each other gets more mileage out of such intelligence than spilling to the enemy (me)?
  • Given the choice, they would survive on Lunchables alone (even if it’s cold pizza and chicken nuggets.)  Ick.
  • I’m the “best mom in the world” when I pack their favorites (but I’m the evil witch when I send carrot sticks and turkey sandwiches on whole wheat bread.)
  • The single most important thing I learned:  I will pay for hot lunches next summer.

School starts next week, and so far, I’m not broken up over my baby starting Kindergarten.  In fact, I’ve planned something for the first day of school to keep my mind from dwelling on this milestone.  I’m looking forward to it, in fact!  In next Tuesday’s post, I’ll reveal if I was able to keep the tears at bay 🙂

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15 thoughts on “What I Learned From A Summer of Packing Lunches

  1. pattisj August 9, 2011 / 8:24 AM

    I love the choice of the cloth napkin over the paper one. 🙂 I can’t wait to see what you have planned for the first day of school! (Wow, is that here, already?)

    • jannatwrites August 9, 2011 / 9:05 PM

      That child has never taken to paper napkins, Patti. I was so embarrassed when he went to a cookie decorating party at a neighbor’s house and the neighbor apologized for the frosting-stained clothing. Sure enough, my son was the only one with red and green smears ALL OVER his shirt.

      As for next Monday, I’ll reveal details on Tuesday’s post for sure 🙂

  2. Carl D'Agostino August 9, 2011 / 9:47 AM

    Not to sadden your funny post but a fourth of the students at my high school where I taught did not eat lunch. They qualified for free or reduced lunch price but since their parents are illegal they don’t apply and have no money otherwise. Well, this is Miami sunshine’s heaven.

    • jannatwrites August 9, 2011 / 9:08 PM

      Carl, we are fortunate that our children have enough to eat. It is sad, but I know that is not always the case.

  3. Debbie August 9, 2011 / 10:59 AM

    Hot lunches prepared by someone else are so much easier, Janna. They also take the heat off mom and give the kids somebody else to complain about when they’re served fruits, veggies, and healthy options! After those really early elementary years, my son claimed NOBODY took a home-packed lunch, so he refused to. The payoff? Suddenly, mom’s cooking (even a sandwich!) seemed more delicious!

    • jannatwrites August 9, 2011 / 9:10 PM

      So, I should be upset if the kids ask me to cook something that’s on the school menu? I’ll keep an ear out for that one!

      If the school lunches have the added benefit of improving the appeal of my cooking, then I’ll be grateful for the boost. Thanks, Debbie 🙂

  4. nrhatch August 9, 2011 / 1:11 PM

    I loved this: My older son prefers cloth napkins over paper napkins. It’s true – the same unused paper napkin has been in his lunch bag since the beginning of June, but his T-shirts are always messy.

    Good luck on Monday! Be brave (at least when your little guy is watching).

    • jannatwrites August 9, 2011 / 9:14 PM

      Thanks, Nancy! I actually won a radio contest several years ago because of him. It was Mother’s Day and they asked for moms to email their 6-word “mom-ism” – mine was “use your napkin, not your shirt.” It got us a $50 restaurant gift certificate….where I could remind my child to use his napkin 🙂

      I appreciate the wish of luck for Monday. I’m feeling fine now, but a lot can change between now and Monday morning!

  5. Connor @ Citiesofthemind.org August 10, 2011 / 3:04 AM

    Man, I used to love turkey sandwiches! There was an approx. 3 year war over the inclusion of chocolate vs. 2% milk though, as I recall.

    Good luck with Monday, I hear it’s a hard day for parents.

    • jannatwrites August 10, 2011 / 7:38 PM

      I vote for chocolate milk 🙂

      Thanks for the support, Connor. I hope I can keep it together!

  6. Tori Nelson August 10, 2011 / 6:05 AM

    Haha! I will never understand the appeal of Lunchables. Turkey Product w/ Cheese Product on Cracker Product with a Brownie Product for dessert! I’m pretty sure they must put crack in them. Maybe in the juice pouch? I love the cloth napkin bit! In a boy’s brain, it makes perfect sense to wipe anything on their clothes!

    • jannatwrites August 10, 2011 / 7:43 PM

      I’m with you, Tori. We buy the cheapie ones without a juice box, so they must put the crack in the cheese 🙂

      Maybe your son can overcome the urge to use his clothing as a napkin. Aw, who am I kidding…I hope you have lots of stain remover handy!

  7. dorcas August 10, 2011 / 4:52 PM

    Good lock on starting school Janna… were you this nervous when YOU actually started school?

    • jannatwrites August 10, 2011 / 7:45 PM

      Thanks, Dorcas! As a matter of fact, I was a basket case every first day of school. I didn’t sleep well, my stomach knotted and I worried obsessively about doing something stupid that would draw attention to myself (I wanted to blend in unnoticed.)

      I’d much rather see the kids off to school than go back myself 🙂

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