There I stood at 7:15 this morning, the dregs of a box of Cheezits in a metal colander, shaking it gently back and forth to allow the crumbs to fall through into the kitchen sink so the Cheezits would be deemed worthy of inclusion in a plastic baggy in a school lunch.   I’m rather proud of this bit of kitchen wizardry.  It works with the remnants of the cereal box too.  Just pretend you’re panning for gold.

Today, two kids needed brown bags, but there was only one left.  Then I remembered the paperwhite bulbs I bought the other day – hey, they were packaged in a brown lunch bag!  Malcolm may have to explain why his bag says “10 PW Bulbs” but this should not generate much shame in the lunchroom.

Chris remembers the humiliation of having to pack his lunch in a used bread bag – his mother’s memories of WWII privations still fresh in her mind, she recycled everything, and still does.   I remember my metal Mary Poppins lunch box, the never-changing boloney sandwich on white bread with a bit of mayo I always packed, the year my school cafeteria switched from bottles of milk to waxy cartons, and how the carton milk always smelled weird and tasted lukewarm.  Mary Poppins didn’t smell much better after a while, either. 

Several years ago, I was moaning to a friend about the tedium of packing school lunches.  She looked at me in shock and said “You still do that for your kids?  Stop!  They’re old enough to pack their own!”  Her system was to coddle her kids in the morning by cooking them a hot breakfast while they packed their lunches, under her supervision - which I found very admirable.  And since her eldest is now a freshman at Brown, it appears her hot breakfast plan worked very well. 

My admiration for my friend did not extend to the point that I’ve managed to successfully copy her her system, but once in a blue moon, one of my kids will request a scrambled egg, a bowl of oatmeal (from a packet), or a reheated stack of pancakes, and I will hand the plate to them at the breakfast bar, with the words “Here youse are, Hon.”  I alone find this amusing.

I did take my neighbor’s advice to start making the kids pack their own lunches, which has met with a 66% success rate in this household.  Two down, one to go. 

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