By KATE HUNTER
This year, my friend Sophia stopped packing lunches for her eight-year-old son Matthew.
‘What?’ I asked, ‘Does he do them himself?’
‘No,’ Sophia replied.
‘Does he have tuckshop?’
‘No, he just doesn’t eat at school. He’s too interested in playing. I got sick of chucking out sandwiches and fruit and crackers and yogurt, so I just send him off with water.’
‘Really?’ I was impressed. It’s what so many parents I know dream of doing but wouldn’t dare.
Sophia mistook my astonishment for admonishment: ‘He’s fine. Look at him.’ Matthew was in our pool that day – a handsome boy with a mop of goldy blond hair and a killer freestyle.
‘He eats a big breakfast – porridge, an egg, banana,’ explained Sophia. ‘Then he inhales afternoon tea and always eats a proper dinner. Now we don’t fight over uneaten lunches. We’re all happier.’
Good on Soph, I thought and resolved to call a similar truce in the new school year. I’ve tried everything to get my elder daughter to eat lunch – I’ve made every bloody couscous wrap, vege muffin, pasta salad, turkey pinwheel in the Women’s Weekly back-to-school lift-out but they all came home.
I even resorted to making my daughter feel guilty – telling her to sit and stare at her uneaten chicken sandwich, reflecting on the love and time I’d put into it along with the HOME-MADE mayonnaise.
So… Food is one fight I will not have in 2013. My kids will not starve and I will retain my mental health, which in probability terms, may not have otherwise been the case.
And there are other battles I’ve wasted time on. Time I won’t get back. They include:
1. Inappropriate clothes that don’t go together. If my kids don’t care they look like visually impaired Hawaiian pole dancers, why should I? Sure, their grandparents might not appreciate the look when they take them to church, but the church needs numbers, surely. There’s no commandment about wearing floral shorts with a boob tube and poncho is there?
2. Tomato sauce on peas. Erk. I wouldn’t want to eat it, but I don’t have to. Unless the additives in the sauce somehow cancels out the vitamin A in the peas, I’m all right, if not happy for others to season as they please.