2014-THANKSgiving

The Bento Box Solution

244 Comments

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

10 Ways School Sucks For Adults Just As Much As Kids

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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

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snowman

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.

Sincerely,

Vikki

Homework Sucks And I’ve Had Enough Already

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homework-sucks
Dear Teachers,

I used to be one of you.

Overworked, underpaid, and under-appreciated.

For ten years, up until I got married, I was an elementary school teacher.

Back in those single days, before I had kids of my own, I felt pretty strongly about homework.

Kids should have it.

They should get used to it.

I’m not really sure why I thought that.

But I did.

Now that I’m a parent and I’m on the other side of the homework equation, things are different.

I still feel pretty strongly about it.

But not in the same way.

Homework sucks.

Kids shouldn’t have it.

Not much of it anyway.

My feelings on this matter aren’t due to laziness.

If you know me, you know that you’d have a difficult time finding someone who works harder than I do.

This aversion to homework is not about not wanting to work.

No.

It’s about the value of time.

My time is valuable.

And so is my kids’.

Just because a human being is only five, or nine, or thirteen years old, it does not make his or her time less valuable than yours.

And I know you can relate.

There is never enough time in the day for a teacher.

And when some asshole sitting in an office in Washington D.C. or Hartford decides to add a useless standard or benchmark or whatever to the list of things you need to accomplish each day, it’s annoying.

Infuriating, even.

Those exams you have to take for your certification?

Imagine if, even after you passed them, you had to continue, for up to three hours nightly, in writing, to demonstrate that you had mastered those skills or memorized that information?

And once you were done with that, then you could get to all the other things you needed to get done?

Insanity.

Speaking of insanity, I’ve had my battles with that.

I’m no stranger to mental illness and depression.

And what I know about those things is that too much work can push you right over the edge.

I don’t want my kid to have to wait until she’s done a couple stints in the nuthouse to figure out that there has to be balance.

That all work and no play is really fucking dangerous.

That sleep, and exercise and music and sports and family and friends and quite possibly therapy are all important components to being a healthy and productive and happy adult.

Sure, there are days you will have to spend more time on an assignment or project than others.

Studying for tests takes time.

There are some things that just need to be memorized.

And there are some things you need to practice.

If you don’t know how to read, that’s a problem.

If you can’t multiply three digit numbers because you don’t know your math facts, that’s not good.

If you are not meeting the basic requirements, then there will be a consequence.

That’s how real life is. I get it.

If you want to play varsity basketball but you can’t make a free throw to save your life, well, you’re gonna need to spend some extra time practicing free throws.

But if my kid has demonstrated mastery of all her math facts, why does she need to do multiplication worksheets when she gets home from school?

My eight-year-old’s time is just as important as anyone else’s, no matter what age he or she is.

So I’ll make a deal with you.

You teach my kids to read and write and add and subtract and some important stuff about history and science and some different ways in which they can solve problems because everyone has different ways of learning things and figuring shit out.

I, in turn, will teach my kid to not be an asshole at school, and how to strike a balance with all the other things that we adults realize are important for overall health and productivity out in the real world. Things like exercise, and the pursuit of our passions, and maintaining healthy relationships, and listening to our bodies, and getting rest, and  following through, and taking responsibility.

If my kid is really struggling with a subject or concept in school, let me know. I’ll help you out.

But take it easy on the homework.

And before you assign it, think about why you are asking my child to do it, and whether or not it’s even necessary.

Because if I have to spend too much time helping with that,

well, then I can’t guarantee I’ll have enough time to work on those other things.

And I don’t know about you, but I’d rather send a healthy, rested, and well rounded child into school

than an asshole who can explain the irony of Edgar Allen Poe.

Related post: 10 Ways School Sucks For Adults Just As Much As Kids

What to Expect From Your Kindergartner

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Little Girl in Classroom

Dear parents of new kindergartners: As a long time teacher to children like yours, I thought I’d give you an idea of what your children will be doing when in school, in case you are wondering just what to expect…

1. Your son or daughter will go into the bathroom and leave the door open while doing their business. They might even occasionally break into song.

2. Your child will pick their nose in front of the class for about 6 months, until they are SICK of the teacher telling them in front of everyone to “Get a Tissue!!” Then they’ll graduate to doing it with a hand in front of their nose. THOSE kids are talented, brilliant, and have learned good manners.

3. Your child will forget to go to the bathroom while out at recess, and accidentally pee in their pants.

4. Your child will walk out of the bathroom with their pants around their ankles.  Oops.

5. Your child will call the teacher mom, dad and grandma at some point during the year. The first two will evoke a chuckle, and the latter will result in a shriek and a run to the Hand and Face lotion in an attempt to smooth the wrinkles. She will also probably either take a long leisurely bath or go straight to the liquor store. Or both.

6. Your child will tell an incredibly embarrassing story about you, your husband and your family.  More than one. The teacher will chuckle, make a mental note to remember that for the family picnic, and move on to the next child. Teachers also know not to use real names when repeating funny stories. They know that their OWN kids are in someone else’s room doing the SAME THING.

7. Your child will tattle on their best friend, make mean faces to them, and then play house or Lego’s with them all within the span of 5 minutes.

8. Your child will take a tumble on the playground, get pushed by someone, skin his or her knee and then bounce up and get back in the game.

9. Your son will forget to push his penis down and pee all over the bathroom floor, wall, toilet and his own pants. (He might also throw the wet underpants at the teacher.)

10. Your child will find a way into the teacher’s heart, and she will cheer and laugh and wipe a tear from her eye when your baby reads her first word, writes her first sentence or makes their first friend.  It’s what makes it all worthwhile.