With Giggles Magoo starting school in 2018, I’ve found myself getting ready for the onslaught that school is widely said to be. I feel I’m in a great spot expectation-wise though. We have a number of close friends who had their first-born kidlets start school in 2017, and I’ve been able to watch them, their kids, their family unit to get an understanding about how we will be impacted.
The first major action I wanted to take was The Lunchbox. Daunting topic I know! I’m pretty passionate about the food we eat being as fresh as possible and as un-processed as practical. Also, our family has a big commitment to reducing waste, so I want something that we can use over and over again. I want to have a positive attitude to the lunchbox and probably naively am thinking that if I’m positive, hopefully Giggles Magoo is just as positive to the contents of his lunchbox (long-term). So, with all that in mind I drafted my ideas on how to approach he whole lunchbox thing :
- Giggles Magoo wanted the ‘Bento Box’ style lunchbox…and while I love the theory behind offering a variety, the practicalities of this won’t play out in his first year – being a Crunch n Sip school, there needs to be a separate container for that. Plus, having my genes Giggles Magoo can be incredibly clumsy. I have visions of a beautiful Bento Box being opened at recess and in his excitement/hunger, he knocks it all to the ground, losing it all to the dirt. Needless to say, my instincts (and friends) advised me to stay away from the bento-style until he is a little older.
- The containers/lunchbox needs to be as easy to access as possible. I thought about when I’m Hangry and in a rush to move onto something fun, I need something that is all there, in the one spot and easy to open. Giggles Magoo, being an extension of myself seems to be the same – make it easy to open, and he’ll eat anything. I really wanted him to be feel confident in his ability to access all his foods.
- The containers/lunchbox needs to fit nicely into an esky/freezer bag, so if possible a set is the way to go.
- Giggles Magoo needs to feel connected and in control of his lunchbox, so he needs to be involved with the lunchbox choosing.
- I follow a few great individuals on Social Media who provide fantastic resources and inspriation for what to send in a lunchbox (if I was any great sort of blogger, I’d link them here…but I’m not, so I haven’t 🙂 ), and I’ve consciously been working to incorporate many of them into Grimace and mine work lunches over the last year.
On one of the days we’ve had just the two of us, we wandered on in to a well-known storage store. We looked at each of the containers, lunchboxes, bento boxes and drink bottles for sale. He sat there and tried each one out – he told me what he liked, what he didn’t and seemed quite excited by it all. And then it all went out the window – he spotted a Paw Patrol-branded sandwich box, and the rest was history – he could not be talked round not using this box. Although every ounce of me was against the choice (I mean, really – Paw Patrol?! Worst. Kids. Show. Ever), I had to let him be in control. I was so pleased I’d reflected on what was important in the process of lunchboxing – it meant I was able to step back, assess the container and remember it will probably get broken or lost in the first few weeks of school! It wasn’t going to be the be all and end all of his school lunchboxes. So, I let him choose the containers, and slowly built him the lunchbox he can own.
We sat in the aisles of the store for close on an hour, figuring out how it would all fit together. We had customers stepping over us, reaching around us but Giggles Magoo was not aware of the chaos around us – quite simply, he loved his choices and was so heavily focused on working them all out – Where would the ice pack go? Is there any room for cutlery? Can the thermos flask have yoghurt in it? Where does the sandwich container fit? He was loving the whole ‘school lunch’ idea and was practising opening and closing the containers, packing and unpacking the little esky bag he’d chosen (luckily, NOT a Paw Patrol-themed bag) and making suggestions about what he could take to school to eat.
In hindsight, teaming up with him was a great way to connect with Giggles Magoo around his new school journey and something I know will become a big focus of the family. He has practised eating out of the lunchbox each day since, and I have to admit – I am a little excited at the prospect of all the food discussions we’ll have as a result of his interest in the lunchbox process.
I do also know that all too soon, the lunchbox will become a drag. It will be the painful ‘thing’ we have to do each day – but for now, I’m revelling in the lunchbox love.