THE LUNCH POLICE + HOMEWORK

the three feb 25

Jetlag had a firm grip on me today despite a futile attempt on my part to resist it. I finally gave in shortly before noon when I laid down for a nap. Something caused me to awaken at 14,56h - four minutes before the bus arrived. I scrambled to dress and grabbed my jacket on the way out, running up the driveway to the street and arriving at the top just as the bus pulled up.

Sage was first to exit the bus, followed by the girls. I was still half asleep wishing I could have slept more. The sun was shining and I noticed Cinnamon was without both her sweater and jacket which she packed away in her backpack. The thermometer registered 16 degrees Celsius, quite the change from yesterday's 2 degree weather. Tomorrow it will be back down to 7 degrees.

The children waited outside whilst I ran upstairs to grab my camera. Sage questioned me about my taking a photo of him. Why do I do it, he asked. Then I had to explain to him it was so I had photographs to remember him on the days he was not here with me and to have a record of when he was younger.

As I was photographing the children, I noticed Saffron's sticker on her dress. It said 'MY LUNCH ROCKS!'. All three received the stickers. I asked Saffron why they had those stickers. She informed me someone inspected her lunch and deemed it nutritious - except for the two Croatian napolitanke cookies I packed. Since there were only two, her lunch passed the test. They also had her eat the bell pepper and carrot for them. 'What?!', I said.

The notion of a lunch police struck me as strange. Then again, with the state of American food and the junk food consumed in American homes, it is no surprise the lunches are being monitored. Growing up in a European home, I had 'strange' food I took to lunch. Strange for my schoolmates but normal for me.

My children are exposed to healthy foods at my home. I do not buy junk food and we never eat fast food - ever. Their lunch always contains one fruit and one or more vegetables. The sandwiches vary and are made with healthy bread or naan or a flour tortilla. They usually are made with real peanut butter (the freshly ground one) and honey or some type of real cheese - either Parrano or cheddar cheese. Nothing processed, everything real. They also have one or two snacks: a granola bar where all the ingredients are pronounceable and some kind of crackers - usually Pecan crackers or rosemary crackers. I stay away from Goldfish and other American snacks but on occasion give in to the organic cheddar bunnies. They drink water or pineapple juice - the one which is 100% juice. No juice packs. In the case of the lunch police, I was glad to hear my children's lunches passed.

Homework is another issue which will take a while getting used to. Having three children means at least two to three hours of homework time in addition to preparing dinner. I often wonder how parents who work manage this. I know I will have to go to work soon, so it is not an issue at the moment, but I wonder how I will be able to take care of my children after work. A work-at-home parent has certain advantages in this case. I can only hope to find a job with flexible hours and/or the ability to work from home on occasion.

Saffron's homework was my main focus. We sat down for an hour and went through reading, writing, and spelling. Cinnamon did not have her homework with her as I do not own a printer where I can print it out. Instead, she went upstairs and read a book. I am happy she loves to read and does it so well. Sage worked on his Lego dump truck - taking it apart and putting it back together.

Dinner was quickly put together, but not fast enough for Saffron. She was hungry and wanted to eat immediately. 'Hangry' is the term as she threw a fit. Her siblings were happy to eat pistachios as a snack but she refused them. I heated up a tortilla for her and put some shredded cheddar cheese inside. A few minutes later we all ate our soft tacos with rice, black beans, sour cream, avocado, and cheese. Today had its challenges. Tomorrow is another day with possibilities and opportunities for being better.