I’m in the habit of real parenting but one day recently I took a notion to make aeroplane shaped sandwiches for the kids’ lunch. It was just that; a notion. I’ve never done it before and I don’t plan on making a habit of it.
It did get me thinking though of all those websites out there that are full of lunchbox ideas for kids. And the ones with rainy day activities for kids and just how inadequate they would make you feel. If you were inclined to feel that way. I’m not by the way. I’m happy to be proficient in real parenting.
However, I do struggle to offer Aidan and Sarah a variety when it comes to lunches to send with them to the childminder’s place and to playschool. And I have, on numerous occasions, clicked on those links on Facebook. You know the ones that direct you to websites that promise to give you all the lunchbox ideas under the sun. But I reckon these websites are put together by people who don’t have kids and who sit around at home making animal shapes out of food for the craic!
Seriously what mother or father has time to make fruit animals for example? I spotted a mouse made with an apple cut in half, two almonds for ears, raisins for eyes and fruit leather (whatever the hell that is!) for the long tail. Now would you be well in the head? Plus the apple would be as black as the ace of spades by the time they opened the lunchbox the following day.
You’ll find anything from heart shaped boiled eggs or the bloody race car sandwiches online. If you’re wondering, they are made of a bread roll, with a super healthy filling, cucumber slices with halved cherry tomatoes in the middle for wheels. There’s a semi circular piece of cucumber as a steering wheel. You get the drift, right? If you don’t you can see it here.
Well let me tell you what lunch making in our house is like. It’s around 8.30pm or 9pm when either myself or Daddy Chambers get round to it after Aidan and Sarah are asleep and the house is tidied over. Then we throw a ham and cheese sandwich together. If we’re feeling adventurous we might cut it into four triangles but most days it’s four squares. We grab some fruit, stick a few rice cakes in a tub, throw in two yogurts and fill two beakers with water. We lash the lot into their bags and Bob’s your uncle. Sometimes we swap rice cakes for raisins but, I can assure you there’s no race car sandwiches or apple mice in sight! It’s called real parenting
Also, my kids wouldn’t eat the half of the ingredients these websites suggest. They are not adventurous at all when it comes to food. I reckon even if they had a pretty race car sandwich, they would turn their little noses up at. Green things like cucumber push them over the edge altogether you see.
And while I’m on it, some of these websites offer the most ridiculous suggestions for things to do with your kids on rainy days. I spotted a link last week that led me to an indoor ‘sand’ table filled with rice instead. Yes I said, rice. Perhaps there are some kids who would play with it as intended. However, I know my two would dump the rice out of it and have it scattered in every single room of the house. It’s hard enough to try keep a bit of order on the house without entering rice into the equation.
They have plenty of things to do at home on a rainy day. I might do a bit of colouring with them. Or let them wash up in the sink. Or build Duplo. I might make a few buns with them but I draw the line with a rice table! They are not deprived just because I’m not bothered picking up rice in the evening with the vacuum! And here, what’s wrong with the television? Lets be honest here, it’s a great piece of kit on a rainy day. Do Peppa, Ben or Holly play with rice table? No, not even animated pigs or fairy princesses and little elves get rice tables because their ‘parents’ aren’t off their rockers either.
I think there’s a big gap in the market for a realistic lunchbox ideas website one. One by an Irish mammy maybe. Jam sandwiches, toast, a few sausages or bread and Kerrygold would be as elaborate as it came. And the rainy day activity website would consist of the RTE Junior schedule for the week! I call it real parenting.