Monday, September 15, 2014

Back to School and School Lunches

School started last Thursday after a long summer break. Yeah really long. I think I have talked about "long summer breaks" enough in my last 3 posts which spanned over 2 months, to ascertain that they are indeed long. You have probably also realized that of the 2 adults and 2 kids in my house, the one who was most depressed about "back to school" was me. But I couldn't complain much because after all I am the Mother and it is my joi de vivre towards new school year that is going to influence innocent young minds. So I took a couple of Prozac, three deep breaths and told them how exciting the year is going to be.

Not that the Prozac convinced me to really think that way. After all you need something much stronger to think, that a dreary stretch of 180 days where the morning alarm goes off at 5:30, is indeed exciting. Maybe Faith, resilience and a "positive attitude" will work. I have heard those are wonderful miracle workers and I need to find them ASAP.

So far, we have survived 56 7 school days. Bus for the new middle school-er comes at 7:15 in the morning. I have managed to not hit the snooze button more than 3 times and wake up latest by 5:45. Okay today actually it was 6:15 but everything still worked fine and no one missed the bus. I even carried my cup of tea to the bus stop which is right across our house and sipped my cha, enjoying the crisp morning air. This is actually the right moment when I should start worrying about  the bitter cold mornings of January, but I won't because the Prozac is probably working. Or maybe the deep breath.

And then bus for the new first grader comes right after 8. At this point I should have let out a loud wail as I shall never have both the sisters attending the same school and going by the same bus at the same time. NEVER.You understand how heartbreaking that is. But I will not wail as the deep breath is weaving magic.

Thankfully because of  all the early morning cacophony LS is all ready and raring to go by 8. The first day of her first grade I worried a lot. This would be the first full day school for her. Kindergarten was only half a day and though she did got to a full-day day care , it was only a couple of days a week. I was sure she would fall asleep in the bus or in class. For some inexplicable reason I also worried that she would not be able to find the restroom. Well, this does have roots in my own childhood but that story later. And then like all Bengali Mothers I worried that she would not eat lunch and go hungry.

The Goofy First Grader
Nothing like that happened. I am a chronic worrier. Not "warrior". But "worrier". I worry a lot and I am really amazed that the girls did not inherit this tiny code in my DNA. They do worry about things like whether the garage door has been shut and the front door locked at night, stuff I forget to worry about, but on other aspects they are much more fearless.No wonder they jump on all those amusement park rides that go high up in the air while I close my eyes tightly, clench my heart and recite "Hanuman Chalisa"

Mostly it was LittleSis's calmness that amazed me. Probably being the second born, my expectations from her are more flexible. She was a tad anxious the day before school started but I told her a funny story where everyone from the Principal to the lunch lady is anxious about school and that relaxed her.The next day she dressed and got ready all by herself and walked to the bus with a big smile. Her being able to navigate first grade with perfect ease and without a single melt down surprised me. Keeping my fingers crossed.**No Jinx**.

BigSis too seemed to take to middle school with elan except of course for the lockers.

"How was your homeroom teacher BigSis? Do you have homework?"

"She was great. But I got the top locker and I am not tall enough so I swapped for a bottom locker".

"Okay, how was the science lab?"

"Good but the lower locker got jammed and has a different combination.I need to have more practice with lockers. Don't you have one at home which I could open? Do you think I can skip lunch tomorrow and practice opening my locker instead?"

"Did you make any new friend?"

"You know there is this one girl who got a tiny chandelier and a pink furry rug for her locker"!!! And this is real. The girl even got a pink wallpaper for her locker

You would think middle school is all about lockers and lockers alone. After a few days of  locker swapping, jamming and what not it seems she is a pro on lockers.

The first few exciting days will slowly give way to more homework, tests and a routine. Things will start falling into place, five more minutes of sleep will be squeezed in and I will pack sloppier lunches.

Lunch Menu

The first week I tried to be very organized with a menu printed on the board. There were slight deviations from there but more or less we followed the norm. After school snacks included Mini Wontons from Costco, Milk, Maggi and eggs.

Day 1 -- Snack for LS -- Goldfish and mini oreo. Lunch -- Pasta with basil pesto + Honest kids Juice + Belvita cookies for BS

Day 2 -- Snack for LS -- Goldfish and mini oreo. Lunch -- Grilled Cheese sandwich + Honest kids Juice + slice of Date cake

Day 3 -- Snack for LS -- Grapes. Lunch -- Indian Style noodles with vegetables for both + slice of Date cake

Day 4 -- Snack for LS -- Pocky Sticks. Lunch -- Bagel with butter and Bagel with jalapeno cream cheese + plum + chicken nuggets

Day 5 -- Snack for LS -- Goldfish and mini oreo. Lunch -- Macaroni  + chocolate milk for LS and Date cake for BS

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  1. couldn't agree with you any lesser, I wonder why are we bangali's so worried about so many things. I am still struggling with my first grader as we recently moved in and back in india it was a school breakfast and lunch, she is an out an out maache-bhaatey baangali but how could that fit in the school lunch box...idea are my need :) al the best for your little ones

  2. Thanks bong mom. Much appreciated your sharing of lunch ideas. Am struggling with a picky kindergartner myself and such posts are really appreciated

  3. I have one more year to go before Soh goes to 1st grade! In this one year I have to convince/coerce/cajole him to start eating sandwiches! Lovely lunch ideas... will refer back in a year!

  4. I'm a worrier, and unlike your daughters, I did absolutely take the gene off my Ma. You did a fine job of the back-to-school pandemonium though (Prozac or not!) My new first-grader sends a high-five to yours. Hope she found the restroom (yes, we had that talk too).


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