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Lunch Lady Loses It

Wednesday, October 23, 2013
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My boys making their own lunches — such a beautiful sight.

When you find me in the bathtub in the fetal position, blathering incoherently about how slider storage bags are superior to zippered, you will know that making lunches finally broke me.

When my sister-in-law told us she was having triplets (in addition to her 1-year-old son), you know what I thought?

That's four school lunches to pack. Four sheets of tin foil. Eight slices of bread to slather with peanut butter and jelly. Four baggies to fill with Goldfish or Cheez-its or Wheat Thins or Pirate's Booty. Four other baggies to fill with grapes or apple slices or some other fruit that will end up in the grabage can uneaten. Then the extras: This one wants a cheese stick. Not the orange cheese sticks, the yellow ones. The other one likes applesauce. Not the cinnamon applesauce. Don't forget the plastic spoon. Or the Capri Sun, except not for the younger one because he wants a yogurt drink.

Wait, there's more! The morning and afternoon snacks, because school tuition doesn't cover snacks. That's CLIF Kid ZBars or This Fig Walks Into a Bar. And four more baggies of pretzels.

Making lunches alone is a terrific argument for having fewer children.

Last year, Maxon told me he wanted cafeteria lunch. What a high that was — until he figured out that waiting in line, selecting food and paying for it swallows almost all of the time out of the school's short lunch period. And, back to making his lunch.

A week into October, I lost it. Can I blame the lunches? Not entirely. I also have to pass some blame to my two boys, who regularly act like they are new to this whole morning routine thing. "Brush my teeth? Get dressed? Fill my backpack? What strange customs you have, mother. Despite our intelligence, it will be years before we can perform these alien tasks without a dozen daily reminders."

One such morning in which no child of mine did anything that remotely resembled getting ready for school, I was into it with Ezra about cleaning up the sparkly blue Close Encounters toothpaste mountain in the bathroom sink. He was angry because the morning routine did not include Bey Blade matches. It was this argument, which I was having with a baggie full of Cheez-its in one hand and a granola bar in the other, that broke me.

Then my husband came home from his 6 a.m. CrossFit class and boy was he cheery. "Hey honey! How's it going?" and, "You won't believe this WOD (workout of the day): 1,000 meter row, 50 thrusters at 45 pounds, 30 pull-ups. It was crazy." I limped downstairs with Baby Jane eyes, fell into his chest and wept.

"What is this about?" he asked.

You couldn't hear my muffled answer through the sobs, but I was trying to say that I felt all alone on Bad Morning Island, where children don't listen and baggies don't zipper and it takes 45 minutes to tie a shoe.

Michael looked down at his crazy wife and instead of saying, "I see you've found the deep end," he did something amazing.

He taught the boys to make their own lunches.

Before bedtime for the last two weeks, our boys have laid out their own tin foil, made their own sandwiches, filled their own baggies and done their own complaining about how the zippered ones never stay closed.

This glorious advance has completely changed the morning dynamic.

What do I do with those extra 15 minutes?

I sip my tea and enjoy it.

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