Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Lunch Lady

I get slowly better at doing this life. Some things are obvious, I know, but I am just now getting wise to them.

That last sentence should be engraved on my tombstone.

One small victory in my domestic sphere is that I'm finally making the kids' lunches at night and not in the morning before school. I know. I know! For the five previous years of Laura's elementary school career, she has bought lunch at school, despite the fact that the food there is not that good. Somehow I thought that she preferred it that way, and that it was more convenient. Turns out, she would rather bring her lunch from home because that way, she can choose her seat as soon as her class enters the lunchroom. When she buys lunch there, she has to go through the line and then accept the vagaries of lunch table seating fate, or, even worse, sit at the dreaded "overflow table," from whose bourn no traveler returns.

Laura, self-portrait.
So now we're packing her lunch at night and she is free to place herself precisely in the coterie of her choosing.

She gets: cheese quesadilla, boiled egg, fruit, yogurt, juice box, and a crunchy (crackers or the popcorn Matt makes nightly).

Hank gets: peanut butter and jelly sandwich, fruit, yogurt, juice box, and crunchy.

I don't do pretty bento lunches, and I over-rely on baggies. But again, progress is slow for me in some areas.

Related: my beagle can count to four. Whenever I start to make Hank a sandwich (a zillion times a day), she smells the peanut butter or something and stations herself at my feet. She knows that I will cut the crusts off and feed them to her. I make a cut to each side of the sandwich, and she eats them one, two, three, four and then turns and walks away. Genius counting dog!

I'm telling you about this lunch thing because when it is late and I am tired, I think, "I still need to make lunches." And here lately in April, I think, "I still have to make lunches. And blog." So I am using the one to furnish forth a post for the other.


I will not lie, I had a pretty awesome day today.

Even though it started off with a fretful and feverish Hank. I assessed him this morning and decided that he needed his ear checked by the doc. They could see us at 9:50, which gave me time to go through the drop-off line at Hank's school and drop off not him, but the day's snack for his class. I am the snack mom this week, and I couldn't let the kids go without their individual cups of applesauce. Then I drove through the rain towards the doctor's office, thinking about how hard we are all trying. Just trying hard to get things right and do things well, all of us, you and you and me. And I thought, "I should just say to myself, 'You are trying hard, to do right and do your best. Good work.'"

Then we got to the doctor and they were able to see Hank quickly, and all was well. I got him medicated and got him set up comfortably at home. And I know it sounds weird, but I treasured the ordinariness and remediability of that ear infection. Little problems with ready solutions.

After lunch, thinking the rain would cancel all tennis-related activities for the day, I did the shred workout with Pretty Neighbor. Then my foster children came over to play. Then, later in the afternoon, PN and I fed our kids together at my house and then went to a meeting for rising sixth-graders at the middle school.

Middle school!

This school is just like Lake Wobegon; all the kids there are above average.

While I was at the meeting, my tennis buddy T called me and said the courts were dry and that we were on at 7:30, our first match in the T2 season. (T2 is a so-called flex league, where you just grab a partner, get matched with opponents, and schedule your own matches.)

I went home, greeted the kids, changed clothes, and went up to the courts. I was nervous because we're new to this league. And y'all, we had such a great match! T and I won in three sets, it was really close: 6-2, 4-6, 6-4. We knew the girls we were playing against, and I remembered them as much better players than us.

But we've gotten better! And, as Matt says, they stayed the same.

At one point, the score was 15-all and the girl hit a lob to the corner on my backhand side. I was running to it, watching the little yellow ball, seeing nothing else, when all the lights on the court went out. We were plunged into black darkness. For a second I thought that I had gone blind, because I couldn't understand why I could no longer see that yellow ball.

Then we moved to the other court and replayed the point and then there was winning! So much more fun to win in a competitive match than to crush or be crushed.

I know, one of those tennis blogs.

We played for over two hours, yet when I came home the kids were still awake. I set that right and visited with Matt. Then I made lunches. And here we are.

Goodness I do go on! Thanks for reading me. I hope you found some pleasure in your day. xoxo


Allison said...

Laura's self portrait is wonderful. Such insouciance.

Elizabeth said...

Well, first of all, that photo of Laura is outstanding. Those eyes --

Secondly, I highly recommend the online company -- they have awesome bags for sandwiches. If your kids can be trusted to bring them home, they're a good buy, easy to wash and quick to dry and no plastic!

Thirdly, I did have a good day -- lunch with a friend and we talked a bit about wonderful you!

Beth said...

You are a busy lady.

I am thankful that you wrote that bit about everyone just trying to do their best. I think I don't remember that all the time, especially about myself. It's important to give ourselves a break now and then and remember, we're doing our best.

Your kids get a lot for lunch! Mine just get sandwich, fruit, veggie (usually tomatoes or carrots), and drink. How long do your kids have for lunch? Mine are always bringing home food because "there wasn't enough time." I so wish they had a more leisurely lunch.

Nina said...

Excellent tombstone line. I'm trying to get into the habit of chopping the veg for dinner nice and early in the day. It makes so much difference. Managed it yesterday and a good thing it was too, because we went on an outing to a big DIY store that was far away and we have no car and the staff there were under-trained and also very few in number and the whole thing took a really long time and involved self-checkout machines and some asthma (sawdust?) and rain and overcrowded commuter trains. So when we arrived home and dinner was all there ready to be thrown in a pan, it was pretty excellent.

My parents used to make our packed lunches in the mornings and when it was my dad's turn we'd sometimes get rather aftershave-flavoured sandwiches!

delaine said...

Love that picture of Laura! Beautiful eyes ! You busy day wore me out. We had a good day. Keeping Gracie busy and happy. I'm on the way to running her a bubble bath right now. It rained today so we couldn't walk to the park. Maybe tomorrow. I know totally what you mean about treasuring the ordinariness of a minor ear infection. Easily treated and back to normal soon. Would that that were so for everything...... Mwaah!

Lisa Lilienthal said...

I've had about two years longer than you to figure out this make lunch at night thing and I still find myself scrambling in the a.m.! So, good work, indeed. And my good day did, as Elizabeth said, include a great lunch and conversation, some of it about how much we love your blog!

Jenni said...

What a great day. Congrats on the win. We do try, don't we? I'm off to do some more of that, xo.

AlGalMom said...

Lunches. They plague me. I have not yet found the gumption to pack them at night. The girls used to regard once-weekly school lunch as a treat, but now they categorically refuse it. Part of me is proud (b/c the cafeteria food is crap) and part of me is dismayed b/c it means I have to pack lunch every gol-durned day.

However, my grandpa just sent the annual birthday/Christmas check for the girls, and I (somewhat guiltily, since I knew I was really buying them because I wanted them) bought each of them a Planet Box and the girls were over the moon about them. Plus my 9 year old has been making all of the lunches this week for the sheer fun of filling up each little compartment (I totally get it) so I have had a lovely lunch-cation, and when she loses her zeal I have a waste-free option with divided compartments that delight my anal retentive heart. The end.

Kate said...

My dog would be jumping up and snatching that pb sandwich. He's that rude! Love Laura's self portrait!!

Becky said...

Thanks for the lunch technology recs, guys. Just looked up the Planet Box, nice! Looks like a more deluxe version of the laptop lunch, which we have but somehow are not keeping in regular rotation.

Beth, do you think they really don't have enough time or are they just talking nonstop instead of eating?

Lisa, you and Elizabeth are too sweet. I just the other day remembered that you guys are "real life" friends! Thanks for the kind words.

Jenni, hang tough mama.

Elle said...

Any time my kids do summer day camp or spring-break workshops or anything lunchmakey + snackpacky, the whole day-after-day business of it just brings me to my knees. My hat is off to you!

Pam said...

I love your writing - am in awe of your dieting and tennis playing, but has Hank had a lot of ear infections? Seems like he is at the Dr. alot. Do they take kid's tonsils out anymore? (I am from a generation where they did that to everyone.) Not criticizing, just wondering. way to go on doing things the night before. I try to do that with gym clothes. it works a few days a week.

Becky said...

Hmm, I don't think they do tonsillectomies as much as they used to. I do know they still do ear tubes, but it hasn't been a persistent problem for H.

I had my tonsils out when I was thirteen after having nearly chronic strep-throat. Ugh! I still remember it well.