I remember the day it happened.
Our school district has an evil contrivance called “Winter Break”. Don’t confuse this with the break that happens in December, the one punctuated by good cheer and the type of good behavior that can only be brought about by the imminent threat of No Presents.
The “Winter Break” of which I speak happens in February, near Presidents’ Day. Around the time when you haven’t seen the sun for about three and a half months and would cheerfully set your winter coat on fire you’re so sick of it, were you not so entirely dependent upon it to keep from freezing to damn death.
Most years Winter Break is an entire week long, depending on hurricanes and teacher negotiations.
This is a vile break for several reasons, but the most important are these:
1) It’s smack dab in the middle of peak production season for new Broadway shows.
2) CC is always in production on one of said shows during this break and working double time.
3) I am not, and am therefore locked inside during the day with the kids.
Yes, “locked inside” because, remember:
4) It’s February in New Jersey.
The first year we had the kids, we were approximately 38 hours into Winter Break. I was five hours past sanity. But we had finally landed on an activity that made everyone happy: they made cookies while I unpacked CC’s family china and washed and dried it.
I looked at the clock and it was 2pm. We had all been so absorbed in our tasks that I had entirely forgotten to feed them lunch. There were still three boxes of china left to unpack, and all the counter space was taken up with it. I was holding in my hand a shallow bowl that had a weathered old note indicating the origin and the date “early 1710’s”.
Me: So, ah, you guys must be hungry, huh?
Me: Do you want me to make you some canned beef stew, or would you rather eat cookie dough for lunch?
So it began that I don’t feed my kids lunch when they’re home. Lunches to take to school are no problem–especially now that CC makes them pack their own lunches.
At first I continued offering no-brainer choices like the first one to get out of making lunch. Then I moved on to having to run an urgent errand at lunch time and leaving a responsible kid in charge of lunch. Eventually, I stopped even trying.
They don’t seem to be bothered by it.
We have enough things around that they can fix themselves, or graze upon, and every so often one of them will come to me and say, “I’m hungry!”… and if it’s one that I like that day, I’ll make them something.
Once I noticed the frozen yogurt containers that #2 and #3 were eating out of very near meal time. The ability to obtain junk food on a whim is, I believe, the most valued benefit of having both a drivers license and a job for a teenager.
Me: I take it you guys aren’t super hungry right now?
#2, smiling sheepishly: Not really.
#2: Because you weren’t going to cook for us anyway, were you?
Oh wait, that was true. And it happened today. At dinner time. Nevermind, that story has nothing to do with this blog post.
What’s the lamest thing you’ve ever made for lunch?
18 thoughts on “True Parenting Confessions”
I don’t know about lunch, but we often eat cereal for dinner, which makes me feel like the worst wife in the world.
I like cereal for dinner.
I can totally relate to this. Lunch tends to be more like snacks. And frequently, dinner is breakfast food. Whatever, The Kid loves it, and eggs are healthy, right?
I do the same thing. The other night, my daughter wandered in to our home office and said, “Did you two completely forget about dinner?” I was fine with letting her eat cereal, but Cap’n Firepants always feels guilty and manages to whip something up.
My husband is like that. I buy stuff like popcorn chicken for the freezer and believe it’s a perfectly acceptable meal, especially when paired with mac-n-cheese in a box and frozen green beans. He disagrees and cooks them something else.
I’ll never do it again; but back at the university arising too late for breakfast we tried cornflakes with Budweiser beer for “brunch”, don’t do it; that was over thirty years ago and I still grimace when I remember it.
I’m pretty sure I did that with Cap’n Crunch. I’ve blocked it out.
Haha! I love your brutal honesty! I’ll have to admit that when my husband isn’t around, there are no fancy meals either. For lunch it’s either Lunchables, Kids Cuisines (those are healthy, right?) or sandwiches. And if the hubby isn’t home for dinner.. mac and cheese, soup or spaghetti Os. Why would they they advertise them so much if they weren’t a healthy meal for kids?? A few times I have been extra nice and made breakfast for dinner. Scrambled eggs are pretty easy to make, but pancakes, not so much. I was feeling really nice that day.
What you need to do is teach the kids to make pancakes. Then, for a period of time, they will fall all over themselves asking if they can make pancakes for dinner. Eventually the novelty will wear off, but it can always be revisited. Consider it an investment. If they’re still little-bitties, have faith, they’ll be old enough soon.
I am the PB sandwich Queen. More than a few times I’ve even made them something easy like a cheese stick and a juice box. But there have been many, many times I’ve ‘forgotten’ to make lunch for the kids. It’ll be like 3 pm and they’ll say, “hey, Mom? Um…are ya gonna feed us?!” Oops.
“No” is a perfectly acceptable answer. It prepares them for the real world.
Funny. I hate Feb. break too. Curse whoever started it, considering it’s only 5 weeks after the other break and it’s freezing and there’s nothing to do! Anyway, my kid just eats salami and hummus and crackers all day…not much prep needed and for some reason he never gets sick of it. Loved your post.
I always feel like I’ve won the lottery when I come across something decent that is super easy that they don’t get sick of. Oh wait, that’s never happened. I meant that you’re lucky, and I’m wicked jealous!
My kids made their own lunches for school starting in grade one. You heard me. And the only meal I make is dinner…you are on your own here other than that 🙂
You are brilliant. My new hero.
I was waiting for something terrible to happen to that early 1710s bowl …
Surprisingly, it’s still in tact. The only pieces that have broken were from my wedding china, and the dogs did it.