Saturday, October 8, 2011

Stinky Locker Syndrome

Good news, my husband found my patience! You'll never guess where he found it! And he gave it back to me. <3.

One other piece of good news. This year we finally qualified for reduced fee lunches at school! This tender mercy is probably why I'm not writing this from a mental hospital.

Almost three years ago, I bent over backwards to make appealing school lunches for my kids. See here. Which came from here and here. Now that you see where I was coming from, I will catch you up on what has transpired since then. I spent two years alternating between trying to teach my boys to make lunches they would want to eat and trying to make exciting things for them that would make them the envy of the lunchroom. No matter what marvel went to school with them, a certain person's backpack and the recesses of the mini van were often found harboring old rotten lunches bags in this child's backpack and under back seats of our vehicles. Strange lunch bills appeared from the school. I tried to curtail this activity every way imaginable without any permanent success. Things would get better for a little while, then the lunches would start appearing again. Then the last term of last school year we had the famous incident. The one I'm sure you're dying to hear about. You aren't? Too bad.
This will go down in the annals of history as the stinky locker incident. So, it's spring of 2011, and the uneaten rotten lunches are back. I am desperate. I send an email to the teacher in hopes she can help me come up with a plan. No response. Since parent teacher conferences soon followed,I asked about it but this was an IEP/PTC in a hurry because they all had a lot to do and they sort of brushed off that concern as unimportant. 
Not more than a week after that, I get an e-mail from the teacher. There was an incident at school.  It turns out no one wanted to go to their locker anymore.  Everyone was complaining about a foul odor on that hall.  So, they had each child open their locker to try to find what the source of this stench was.  When they had Huck open his locker, what did they behold but a locker stuffed to the gills with rotting lunches in brown bags.  No wonder they started showing up at home again, there was nowhere else left in his locker for them.  I'm not sure why he couldn't just say, eat them each day or if he was going to refuse them, just throw them away.  I guess that he somehow had my other admonishment to not throw away food emblazoned in his mind and heart, NOT the one about just eating your lunch.
So, I digress a bit.  The e-mail went on to say that the stench was so awful, the lunches had to be taken out to the trash bin outside because the toxic fumes were making people feel faint and or nauseated.  This was all such a shock to the teacher because she always assumed he ate school lunch. I mean, she'd never seen him with a lunch bag before the whole year.  She also never read my e-mails or heard what I had to say about it in person the week before.  Her proposed solution to this dilemma?  "Could you please put something more interesting in his lunches so he'll want to eat them?"  I consider it very fortunate that she chose this method of communication because if it had been in person or over the phone, I think it might have gotten nasty. As it was I could cool off and then explain why this was impossible.  I did have a long talk with my son about his see food diet- I see everyone else's food, that's what I'll eat.  We talked about the health consequences of some of these foods he was mooching off others, because he wasn't begging for their carrots.  I let him know that everyone was going to be watching him now so he'd better start eating his own lunches.  The last week of school I found out he was buying two milks a day.  How?  Turns out he convinced a friend to give him the money to help the other guy buy his milk for him and pay him back with one of the milks....ARRRGGGGGH! BUT! THE! SCHOOL! YEAR! ENDED! So I heaved a big sigh of relief and hoped the world would end before he started second grade.  When it didn't I started suffering panic attacks.
Now thanks to our underemployment, we can let the boys just eat the hot school lunches for no more than we were wasting on homemade ones and one big huge daily burden was lifted from our collective shoulders. Of course, I can never quite relax.  Who knows how much of the hot lunch gets stuffed into someone's locker?  Sometimes I think I look a bit like Chief Inspector Charles Dreyfus at the end of the Pink Panther, eye twitch and all...


RAQ said...

love how you tell these stories!

4boyzmdmom said...

Oh my goodness! Your kids are something else! I would have been so annoyed with that teacher, though! My kids hate brown bag lunch and are really happy we qualified for free lunch and are enjoying school lunch right now...won't be for much longer, though. I didn't realize you are underemployed--sorry about that! But there are silver linings, aren't there?