October 5, 2012 2:52 PM
Fight Michelle's lunches - pack your own!
I know this is old news, but I've been meaning to encourage those of you with kids in public schools to fight for your right for your children to eat what you think is appropriate with this foolproof strategy:
These are Jesse's and Daniel's lunch boxes. Jonny and Justin have the same ones, but Jonny is enjoying a more grown-up living situation - spending Monday through Friday sharing an apartment with Big Bro Matt in Purcellville, where he can walk independently to school, the library, Subway and Tropical Smoothie. You know, all the important places. Justin catches his bus first in the morning at 6:54, while Jesse and Daniel leave almost an hour later. And I snapped this photo after Justin left.
The important thing about these lunchboxes is that they are really big. And since boys have big appetites, and since they need food not only for lunch but for morning and afternoon snacks, we need to pack a lot. We've had these lunchboxes for so long I can't even remember when we got them, but I know they're old enough that they originally said Matt Curtis, Ben Curtis, Zach Curtis and Jonny Curtis - but they wore down and thanks to my faithful Sharpie, they now say Jonny Curtis, Jesse Curtis, Daniel Curtis and Justin Curtis. I almost bought new ones this year, and then I realized they were still holding up fine. The boys love them.
And they love their lunches:
Like I said, I'm packing for lunch and two snacks. Today is typical:
- The black round container - saved from Chinese carryout - typically holds leftovers, often a casserole with potatoes or rice with meat and vegetables. If there are no suitable leftovers, I make a sandwich for Daniel and a salad with meat and cheese or cottage cheese for Jesse. Jesse has celiac disease and so has to have a gluten free diet. While he is asymptomatic and so I don't have to be religious about gluten in soups and salad dressings, I don't give him bread and we substitute gluten-free pasta. The boys love my cooking and so are really happy to have a second chance at last night's dinner :)
- A baggie of tortilla strips - I get the huge bag from Costco that's gluten-free and seasoned with sea-salt, then divide into small bags.
- A teeny bowl of salsa - we get Jack's Salsa from Costco.
- 2 juice boxes
- Fresh fruit - today a banana and clementine.
- Rice Krispies treat
- Chobani yogurt
- fork, spoon, napkin
I actually get a lot of joy from making the boys' lunches. I know it means a lot to them. Since Jesse and Daniel have a dual diagnosis of Down syndrome and autism, it's hard for them to express their feelings, and sometimes not all that easy to receive affection. As I make their lunches, I imagine how loved they must feel each day when they open them.
So why am I complaining about Queen Michelle's interference with school lunches since they have nothing to do with me? Simply on principle, since it's yet another battleground in the Obama's War on Individual Freedom in this country.
But it's also another illustration of the inescapable truth that anything that the government gives comes with a price tag involving giving up our freedom. We can take back the freedom by doing it ourselves!
I too pack my 4 kids' lunches, every day, mainly because of the new guidleines. Last year, the kids liked some of the lunches (baked ziti, mac and cheese, pizza), and I gladly let them buy becuase 1) it was easier for me and 2) I liked the idea of them having hot food during the day and 3) they liked the freedom to by a school lunch. Now they are not at all interested in anything served at school, and they tell me their friends who have to buy the lunch b/c there is no lunch sent from home just throw most of it away. So I pack lunches, a lot like yours, and that is fine. What is not fine is that I found out today that my 2 younger sons, in 1st and 4th grade, have to have recess inside their classrooms every other day because the teachers have decided there are to many kids on the playground to manage. Our schools have huge blacktops and fields, they could easily just throw a few balls out there and let them play, but instead they are chained to their desks all day. I can't help but blame this on unions and the fact that the teachers won't come up with a creative solution. I love teachers, I really do, but I think this situation is appalling. My son can't have pizza or french fries at lunch, but can sit inside during recess. How does this help our national obesity crises?
Posted by: Danielle M. | October 5, 2012 5:14 PM
No teachers that I know of monitor recess anyway - that's usually their lunch time and and it doesn't make financial sense for a school to pay teacher salary for playground duty. That's an administrative decision, not a teacher or union decision.
Go to a board meeting and help come up with some out of the box solutions. Maybe with some parent volunteers they would feel safe having all the kids out at once.
This comment is not directed here specifically, but as reaction to all the complaints I've heard of how bad the food is with the new guidelines. Maybe your cooks need some training! Our local cook is working hard, and some of the food she prepares surprises me that it comes out of a school cafeteria...sometimes I'm tempted to eat it myself! And protesting your local school about the amounts/contents...the cooks are obligated by law to follow the guidelines. Protest the folks who make the guidelines.
Posted by: Becky S | October 6, 2012 10:03 AM
Your sons are so blessed to have you as their mom!
Posted by: Lily | October 6, 2012 12:39 PM
You are such a caring mom, Barbara! You start the clementines, just a bit so that they can peel them easily.
Posted by: Kathy | October 6, 2012 2:14 PM
Those look like great lunches! No allergies in my house but I am trying to give sadwiches a break for a while. About outside recess, I remember one teacher being responsible for about 75 students some days.
Posted by: Mel | October 7, 2012 3:38 PM
I am a lunch packer, but one of my sons come from an Eastern European orphanage and has fears of not having food to eat. In his second year at school, it is a therapeutic exercise for him to go to the line and buy a lunch, because if requires him to not carry food or control his food supply. Now, this option is closed for him, because the lunches aren't enough and it would reinforce his fears of not having enough. We must find new ways of helping him practice food trust.
Posted by: Sue | October 8, 2012 10:38 AM
This is completely beside the point of your post (which I love), but when I just read "Purcellville" mentioned in it I almost fell over! I have lived in California my entire life except for 3 years in Hamilton, Virginia (1977-1980). I am sure things there have changed a lot but I remember Purcellville as being the place we went to get pretty much anything. Your post made me smile thinking of it! :)
Posted by: Tamie | October 8, 2012 11:43 PM