The Bento Box Solution


Well, it finally happened, the thing I’ve been dreading. Yesterday, my precious daughter rolled off the school bus bitching and moaning about the lack of artistic effort that I’ve been putting into her packed lunches. My first thought, “Oh shit, has she been on Pinterest?” My second thought, “We need to update our parental controls to include Pinterest.”

But no, it seems that some better-than-me mother (who, I guarantee, does have a Pinterest account) has been sending her daughter to school everyday with a lunchbox full of “love” in the form of Disney inspired entrees and Chicka Chicka Boom Boom carrots. And Ana has taken notice. Thanks a lot, lady. Thanks. A. Lot.

According to my daughter, Wednesday’s lunchtime was spent watching little Hayden nibble on Elsa’s certified organic noodle braid, while Ana despondently ate from a zip-lock bag filled with pretzels and an enormous amount of apathy. Her tale of woe was really quite heartbreaking. So, like any guilt-ridden mother, I decided to give this stupid Bento Lunch thing a try.

I promised Ana an Olaf lunch, but when I read the first three ingredients: Japanese Nori noodles, purple seaweed, edible modeling clay, I was all, “Oh heeeellll no!” Packing a lunch should not require me to source food from various specialty shops and craft stores. I haven’t shaved in four days and THAT needs to happen before I start driving around town seeking out cuisine for my five year old to throw out.

But I promised her an Olaf lunch, so it was on to Plan B. Unfortunately, I had no Plan B…at least not until I drank a couple glasses of 2009 Cabernet from the Napa region.

And so, exhausted, not-so-perfect mothers everywhere, I’d like to present my “Damn you, Hayden’s mom!” answer to this crazy, expensive, and time consuming lunch fad:

The “I ain’t got time for that. Here’s some lunch money” Bento Box.

Step 1: Get lunch money from your purse.
Step 2: Arrange money and tape down
Step 3: Use a Sharpie to draw the rest.

The "I ain't got time for that. Here's some lunch money" Bento Box - www.OneClassyMotha.com

Screw making little broccoli trees with an “I love you!” tediously carved into their stalks with an X-Acto knife while freebasing your blood pressure pills and trying to remember your insurance provider’s Mental Health co-pay. No thank you. Besides, unlike a scene from The Lion King made out of graham crackers and Russian caviar, my “I ain’t got time for that. Here’s some lunch money” Bento Boxes provide the perfect canvas for real communication between you and your child:

Confronting potty issues:

The "I ain't got time for that. Here's some lunch money" Bento Box - www.OneClassyMotha.com

Offering friendship advice:

The "I ain't got time for that. Here's some lunch money" Bento Box - www.OneClassyMotha.com

Calling them out:

The "I ain't got time for that. Here's some lunch money" Bento Box - www.OneClassyMotha.com

I realize the “I ain’t got time for that. Here’s some lunch money” Bento Box still requires a minimum amount of effort on your part, which is something I’m normally against, but just think of the look on your child’s face when they open their lunch box and see something like this:

The "I ain't got time for that. Here's some lunch money" Bento Box - www.OneClassyMotha.com

Arachnophobia, cured. “Thanks, mom!”

Ladies, even if your child doesn’t buy lunch, I’m here on my linoleum floor, begging you to step away from the melon baller and to embrace the beautiful quadrilateral simplicity of a square cheese sandwich.

After all, you don’t need to win the “MOM OF THE YEAR” title because, as far as your child is concerned, you already have it.

Related post: The Lunch-Packing Manifesto

Please Come Home

school-bus-in-city Image via Shutterstock

When my son stepped off the bus in tears last Thursday all I could think was that we didn’t even make it through week one.

I was fully prepared for him to start telling me how it wasn’t his fault, how the teacher was mean, or that he didn’t remember what got him in trouble. I knew he’d want to run in and hide his folder from me so I couldn’t see the note from the teacher. We went through all this last year.

It’s not that he’s a bad kid. It’s that he’s a six year old boy.

Sitting is a hard enough task for him to accomplish, but asking him to do it quietly for hours is nigh on impossible. I try to be understanding of that. I try to remember that he and his sister are two very different children and that I can’t compare them.

I was all ready to give him the it’s-alright-let’s-just-talk speech, when he hugged me. I mean, wrapped both arms as far around my rather large pregnant belly as he could and just held on like a tornado was coming and I was that pipe they always grab onto in the movies.

“I didn’t pee myself,” he mumbled into my shirt.

“What?” I asked. I tried to push him back to get him to look at me. Did he just say ‘pee’?!

Suddenly he exploded and that mile-a-minute mouth I recognized was relaying all the horrible things from his bus ride home.

I looked over his head at his older sister and I could see she was worked up. She’s pretty excitable anyway, and she was not-so-patiently waiting to tell me what had happened.

He told me that an older boy had sat in his seat with him and started tickling him. The boy wouldn’t stop and told my son he was going to keep tickling him until he peed himself. When it didn’t work, he turned and told all the other kids that my son had peed himself. He started shoving his head around, banging it into the seat and window.

When he got off, another boy took his place and started the whole thing all over again. They wouldn’t let him out of his seat.

They wouldn’t stop.

“Is that how it happened?” I asked my daughter.

“I didn’t know what to do,” she cried.

Within moments, both of my kids were crying, my blood was boiling, and somewhere I could hear my cell phone chirping off the ringtone that means my husband is calling. I grabbed the phone and left the kids inside and out of earshot.

“Where are you?” I practically yelled into the phone.

“On my way home,” he started. “What’s wrong?”

“I’m going to beat the shit out of some punk ass kids.”

Now you can judge me all you want, but right then and there, if someone had pulled that bus back up in front of me I’d have gone on there like Madea and slapped some sense into all of them.

They hurt my son.

They hurt my son.

I told my husband everything and we talked to the kids for awhile (when I’d finally settled down enough for proper conversation). We talked to them about how to help each other, to get help from an adult, and not to sit by quietly while things like that happen. We talked with them about standing up for themselves, but we kept coming back to getting help from an adult.

The last resort, we told them, was to fight back.

That wasn’t how my husband wanted to handle it at first. He wanted to tell our son to go on that bus the next day and punch those boys in the face. But we both paused at that. We stopped and talked and feared.

Because when we went to school the hallways would clog up for a few moments while two boys slugged it out. The teachers would come running out and push through the circle of kids to separate them.

They’d get suspended for a few days and all would go back to normal.

Except this isn’t when my husband and I were in school.

This is a time when I get advertisements sent to me for bulletproof book bags.

This is a time when during the first week of school I read three different articles about kids coming to class with knives.

There have been 74 school shootings since Sandy Hook.

74 in eighteen months.

I can’t tell my children to defend themselves physically anymore.

I’m not worried that they’ll get suspended.

I’m not worried that they’ll be labeled troublemakers.

I’m worried that they won’t come home.

10 Ways School Sucks For Adults Just As Much As Kids


school sucks

As I’m driving my daughter to kindergarten, she proclaims, “Mom! I hate going to school!”

It takes every ounce of self-control I have to resist saying, “You know what? ME TOO. Let’s go to McDonald’s, get ourselves a smoothie, and go back to bed.”

Because seriously, this all-day, every-day school thing is a pretty raw deal for everyone involved…

1. Rise and shine. I have to get up early every single day. The only reason I graduated was so I could put an end to this early-morning business, and now I have to start all over again?

2. The language police. Every day, I find myself worrying if today is the day she drops the “f” bomb at recess.

3. Having to get dressed. I’m losing out on at least two all-day pajama days per week, which is seriously putting a cramp in my ability to not do laundry on a regular basis.

4. The fact that that they lose stuff. And I’m stuck digging through the school lost & found, also known as “The Lice Box.”

5. The art projects. I can’t be trusted to bathe my children every night, but the teacher thinks I’m going to make time to help glue cotton balls onto this worksheet or cut letters out of a magazine?

6. The endless crap. “Oh cool! You brought home yet another drawing that you’re never going to let me throw away and expect me to keep and cherish forever!”

7. The late pass. The Walk of Shame to the school office when we’re late to school is way less fun than the Walk of Shame I remember from college.

8. High school, part II. When was anyone going to tell me that the same snobs that ran student government in high school are the ones now running the PTA?

9. Money! I have dysfunctional family members who don’t ask me for money as often as my daughter’s school does for field trips, class projects, book fairs, popcorn day, etc.

10. Homework. I suspect that homework is just a way for my kid’s teacher to figure out how much effort I’m actually putting into this whole parenting thing.

Related post: Going Back to School: The 1970s vs Today

Dear Parent who Likes Snow Days



Dear Parent who Likes Snow Days,

I like you. I do. I just don’t understand you. You seem like a normal person and then a snow day is called and you are all smiles. I worry that you don’t understand how snow days work so I am going to explain them to you.

When school is cancelled, the kids stay home with you.

If your response to this information is still, “Yay!” I am going to assume one of the following:

1. You are being sarcastic.

2. You work outside the home.

3. You have a nanny.

4. You have better meds than I do.

5. The kids have tied you up and are answering for you.

There can be no other explanation. However, in order for us to understand each other, I will explain why my reaction is not “Yay!” but “F@#!”:

1. I do not want to be a short order cook.

2. I need to write and cannot write while people cry about broken bands in their Rainbow Looms.

3. I like to go to the bathroom by myself.

4. I feel guilty if I let my kids watch movies or play video games all day but – oh my god – all the talking.

5. I have to share my snacks.

So, I hope you can understand where I’m coming from and, if you can’t sympathize because you are busy making hot cocoa for your blanket fort, please…please…can I drop my kids off at your house? Just for the day. Unless school is cancelled again on Monday.