My boy is not at school yet but he has been attending the same nursery/ preschool since I returned to work nearly three years ago. They don't provide lunch for the children so you have to send them in with a packed lunch. You would have thought I would know what to do by now so why is I find myself the night before or even in the morning of a preschool day in panic mode.
It always seems that I have an empty fridge or the cupboards are bare when I need to find a suitable lunch. I feel like what ever I put into the boys lunch box will come under scrutiny once they start to sit the children down for lunch. Do they separate the pepper, carrot and cucumber sticks away from the crisps and biscuits? Do they judge and treat our children differently based on what we provide for lunch?
It's not even the lunch it's self but also the lunch carrier - yes the lunch box is that under judgment too? The nursery only offer water and milk as drink choices so there is no need to send the boy in with a drink. When he was a baby I used to send him in with his lunch in a recycled Chinese tub - is this bad of me? I didn't even question it until a hint of guilt washed over me when I saw all the other elaborate lunch boxes lined up on the side ready to be collected . Did my boy really need a proper lunch box where his lunch would be bashed around?
Maybe he did because when I eventually got round to sending him in with his own lunch bag, around 2 years old, he wouldn't let go of it. He clung onto it like a security blanket and would have tantrums when the staff would try and put it in the fridge.
Why do I feel so judged over the contents of his lunch box? Is it because of the Jamie Oliver hype over healthy dinners, the fact my boy was a really fussy eater (read about that nightmare here), or could it be that I have been pulled a side for the contents of my boys Chinese tub?
Yes like a naughty school girl I have been pulled up for putting a couple of small marsh mellows in the boys lunch as a sweet treat because he wouldn't eat cake, giving him peanut butter in his sandwiches but the nuts a few months previous where ok. It feels like the rules on what we can send in our constantly changing which isn't a bad thing but we need to be told about them.
Will I ever get over this thought that my boy is being judged based on what I send him in with? Probably not because I try and send him in with two pieces of fresh fruit and cucumber even though I know he wont eat all of it. I don't think I will ever be organised enough not to panic about the lunch box on pre-school day though and you may find me making a quick dash to the supermarket before drop off even if it makes us late.