The Lunch Box Fiasco

So, you might remember a few weeks back when I decided to start packing my kids’ school lunches due to the inadequate fare at their school.  This decision was also based in part on my viewing of Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution (Insert quick Jamie Oliver worship here…the man is a cooking RockStar!). At the time I went all gung-ho, gathering all manner of kid-pleasing lunch recipe books/ideas/tips etc. I also made the grave mistake of promising said kids new lunch-boxes.  As the deadline grew near and I could not find suitable lunch boxes at reasonable prices, I decided to improvise.  I actually came up with what I thought was a genius idea: large Ziploc containers that hold everything including the juice boxes.  This idea worked for a while…that is until Prince Focused noticed that I hadn’t come through on my promise of new lunch-boxes. The boy is like a dog with a bone, hence the name…

Well, I explained to him, ” School’s almost out, so there are no good ones out right now.”  I promised that by the end of summer we’d have new lunch boxes. He complained for a couple of days, but after that he seemed fine with his make-shift lunch box. All was well in the A|M household…

That was until the day that Hubs decided to purchase Prince Focused a lunchbox!  Little did I know that the little man had continued to pester his dad regarding the lunchbox. As a matter of irony, all the stores have by now unleashed a flurry of cute new lunchboxes at great prices! I didn’t buy any because I thought we were all good on that front. But Nooooo, Mr. No-nonsense Tough-guy Dad caved in to the pressure because he had “promised” the boy a lunchbox.  So Dad shows up brandishing a Blue lunchbox (mind you, his favorite color is red, but no worries, homeboy is thrilled). Of course he proceeds to show off his new toy, making sure to exaggerate all the bells and whistles, much to his siblings’ chagrin. I tried to explain to Hubs the hailstorm that he had just started, but of course he brushed me off, saying I worry too much. Anyone who has multiple children (except, apparently Hubs) knows that you can’t just buy for one.  You must buy if not the same item, something of equivalent awesomeness for all 3.  Or there will be trouble.  And there was.

So of course immediately the Princess starts pouting that she doesn’t have a lunchbox of her own. Suddenly my little Ziploc thingy is making her backpack too bulky and weighing down her bag…She actually shed REAL TEARS behind this.  Usually her tears do nothing but infuriate me, and this time was no exception. This goes on for a couple of mornings before I decided to buy her a damn lunchbox and end this saga.   I figured that with the upcoming summer break, the lunchbags will come in handy for all the picnics in the park I have been daydreaming about. I had initially decided not to get one for Prince Ruckus because I don’t pack his lunch since he goes to school only until noon.  Of course, anything the others have (especially his big bro) he must have too, but I’ve managed to stave him off on the lunchbox issue.

So off Hell-Mart I went, yesterday for their probably-sweatshop-produced-but-perfect-for-my-tiny-budget $6.96 insulated lunch bag.  I got a purple one because next to pink (which they don’t have), it’s her favorite color.  I proudly present it to her after-school, to some well-deserved shrieking on her part…Only for her to notice that the zipper is busted! Arrrgggghhhh!  Now I’d have to brave a trip back to Hell-Mart, hope they accept the return (I still had my receipt, thank goodness) and get a replacement.

Well, yours truly made the grand mistake of taking the 2 Princes along on the sojourn to Hell-Mart. As we approached the array of colorful lunchboxes, Prince Ruckus starts clamoring for his own lunchbox, and Prince Focused is noticing that the lunchbox comes in his favorite color, red.  And guess which color Prince Ruckus must now have?  Why would it be anything but the red one???  So now Prince Focused is upset that he doesn’t have his favorite color, the little ingrate.  Well, of course I wasn’t about to buy him a red one too!  Of course Prince Ruckus insisted on holding his new red lunch bag the whole time, right under Prince Focused’s very upset face.  This reduces him to tears and sobs, which he would not stop.  I told him he’d better pull himself together, or he would lose the treat he’d picked out earlier.

I understood his disappointment.  Not only did he end up with a color other than what he wanted, but the insult to the injury was that now little brother had it to taunt him with.  But lets face it, this is a terribly unimportant concern on the grand scheme of things.  Lunch still tastes the same whether it comes from a red lunch bag or a blue one. Furthermore he needed a lesson in appreciating what you have, instead of lamenting what you don’t.  It was important for him to get the lesson that if  you don’t appreciate what you have, you don’t get other things you want.  I believe in natural consequences, so I returned his treat.  This further upset him, but I had to stand my ground.

Prince Focused is such a sweet, sweet, good-natured boy.  He RARELY gives trouble and is always helpful, especially to his siblings. His teachers all rave about him, both for behavior, and for grades.  So, I have to say that that was really hard for me to take away his treat, especially when he was just hurt, but he had to get the lesson.

Well, he sobbed even harder for the insult upon injury.  He cried himself into a headache.  And I let him, because they were his feelings and he had to work through them.  But you know what? When it was all done, he still had NO treat, and he still had the blue lunch box.  And he is okay.

I on the other hand, was not.  By the time we left Hell-Mart I was ready to burn all 3 lunch bags!

Moral of the story? 1. Be on the same page as parents.  Don’t let the little munchkins run a game on you.  2. Don’t be afraid to discipline your children.  They must learn that there will be disappointments in life, but they will be okay.

(But I maintain that it’s all Dad’s fault…and he has learned from his mistake)