the politics of a school lunch box

D started kindergarten this week, which is a full day program here where we live.

I’m packing him a lunch from home, so far. I’d first been worried about his peanut allergy (come to find out, they only have one, very apparent, item that has peanuts in it – a peanut butter and jelly sandwich). Then I was then worried about all the other hippie stuff I worry about, high fructose corn syrup and hydrogenated bullshit. But that’s sort of beside the point though – the point being that D broke his brand new Transformers lunch box zipper on the second day he used it. That was kind of tragic for him, because he loved that lunch box and was very excited when we found it.

You know, it’s Transformers.

So for now, until we can fix it (I tried, and I’m not sure if I can), or until we get a replacement, I thought, well why not use his perfectly good Star Wars lunch box from preschool last year?

“But mommy, what if the other kids say nah-nah, you had that lunch box last year?”

And I was stunned. Like, wow, would they even remember? These are five year-olds we’re talking about, who were four last year in preschool. And secondly, OMG, is it already time for social politics like this!?! 😮

And so that got me worried more. How many of the kids packed their lunches at all? Do most of them buy lunch? Is it uncool to bring a home lunch at his school? Will he be ostracized even more, besides having a peanut allergy to begin with? Will he fail to make friends because of it and grow up spiteful and insecure, secretly resenting me for it his whole childhood, and will that eventually manifest itself in a drug addiction and/or gang involvement because he didn’t have the support system at home he so needed in his tender formative years!?!?

“Do any of the other kids bring their lunch from home in a lunch box?”

“Yeah, some of them do,” he said.

Whew! *swipes brow*

Okay. Next question. “What kind of lunch boxes do the other kids have?”

“I don’t know, like, mostly princesses.” He shrugged. “I don’t know why all the girls have to have princesses on theirs.”

Next chapter in the school of social politics, puzzlement with the opposite sex begins.

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ETA: I actually have no clue why the comment form is closed on this particular post – I didn’t do that! lol! Thanks for reading everyone! 🙂

8 thoughts on “the politics of a school lunch box

  1. Oh, you are just learning the politics of fitting in at the kindergarten level. The competition is fierce! I let J buy his lunch for the entire year in Kindergarten, and for most of first grade because I thought it was the “cool” thing to do. Ends up, it was just a long wait in line to get food he didn’t like, which only gave him about 10 minutes to scarf down whatever he deemed edible. He eats much better when I pack his lunch, and actually likes the routine of the same old thing day in and day out. He’s not at all concerned about what the other kids think of his food, but he does insist on a cool lunchbox (currently Bakugan, but he also broke his this morning, so we will be on the hunt for a replacement.) And no, I don’t think our kids are going to need therapy over their packed lunches or their year-old lunch boxes. But what do I know? My kid already sees a therapist twice a month. 🙂 Hope D is enjoying his first year of ‘big’ school.

  2. I can’t help laughing and at the same time feeling your pain. Who knows what the future will hold? But I’m positive D will turn out better than just okay. Look at his parents. 😉 I’m betting right now he’s going to be well liked by the other students in all the years to come.

  3. How funny! The politics do start early. I decided that, in order to be certain that I was not the cause of Brooke having issues at school related to her lunch/lunch container, that I would let her choose all the time. She picked her own lunch container (it has skulls on it, not the princesses that Dylan spoke of. This is Brooke, not a girly girl). Then, each morning, I tell her what is on the school menu and she decides if she wants to buy or not. If we pack her lunch, I let her help me pack so she can pick her own food. If something isn’t cool, she lets me know it. I am no longer allowed to kiss her when I drop her off (heaven forbid! How embarrassing!) for that very reason. But Dylan is lucky to have a mom that considers this type of thing and doesn’t just expect him to deal with it himself.

  4. Angie, I so remember that from school, buying lunch and having no time to eat it! We only got 25 minutes or so, and sometimes we’d spend 15-20 minutes waiting in the lunch line!

    I noticed that Dylan’s school does kind of staggered lunch periods, where new classes will come in halfway through, and then another new class comes in halfway through that one. I have no idea if that’s to help the kitchen congestion, but it seems like it would help.

    Nina, LOL! Well, if you look at his parents, then he’ll be smart but socially invisible (which is about one rung up from being an outcast, lol!). But I suppose it’s the social outcasts like us who grow up to do well and be interesting and prosperous adults anyway though. In fact, this, from the Oatmeal, was going around Twitter this morning, and I had to LOL at the P.E. one. We’re cultivating our GARDENS, lmao!

    Meaghan, OMG, Brooke and skulls! Love her! She’s already her own woman! 🙂

    I agree about letting them make the choices and own the consequences though, lol! Awww, I’m glad I still get a kiss in the morning. When does that stop? Probably sooner for boys than it does for girls.

  5. Awww, that’s cute 🙂

    But at the same time, it’s kind of sad that the social politics start so early. Makes sense, though, considering the world of today 🙁

    I sometimes worry about my future offspring, if I ever end up having any. I decided a long time ago that I’m okay with being a social outcast, but I’m not sure if I want that for my kids. I guess I just want whatever makes them happiest, but on the other hand it’s a little unnerving to think that thoughtlessly going with the majority might make them happy. If nothing else, I hope they at least know to think about things.

    I hope Dylan has a great year 🙂

  6. This is so sweet and funny and cute. It’s all very valid, of course. I can’t imagine how hard it must be as a mother to worry about things you can’t really control — but what good mother doesn’t? (And you obviously are a great mother.) It seems to me that this isn’t a social issue so much as a human issue. Everyone wants to be liked and fit in. I’m sure your son will find his way, be it Transformers or Star Wars. Thanks for making me smile. =)

  7. Renee, oh I bet the whole media culture that everyone is focused on these days plays a big part in it. I can only imagine it’ll get weirder as we go on.

    True, that is the scariest thing. No kid wants to feel different, even if being “the same” is not always the best thing.

    Annie, awww, thanks! Yes, it kind of makes me want to study anthropology again, lol! I do wonder, at what point did “fitting in” become so vital to our human experience, or was it always this way? Fascinating to think about! 🙂

  8. Man, i remember when you were pregnant with him – I can’t believe these kinds of things are on his mind already! Sometimes I look at E and realize she is going to make friends (beyond the baby friends at daycare she has, of course) and then she’s going to lose them and there is all of this STUFF she is going to face and I can just barely st and it!

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