For years the boys have been taking 2 "lunches" to school. One for the morning break, and one for lunch. They almost never took a snack - even though they come home between 4 and 5 every day. The problem started when they decided that they didn't want to wash for one of these "meals" as the break also served as playtime. Washing and bentching just cut into that free time too much. They would then either take nothing - or just a corn shnitzel (which they insisted on heating up in the monring, but would only eat 4 hours later, when it would most certainly be cold). This resulted in some very hungry and crabby children arriving at home - vert close to dinner time wanting to eat "lunch". Very often insiting that I make again (if none was left) whatever I had served to the younger children earlier in the day. You see, I have the 3 and 5 year old who come home 15 minutes apart startving - along with the baby that is picked upand sneeds to nurse at the same time. Then the 11 year old comes home. Every day is a different time between 1:15 and 3:30. She is also "Starving" as she also only takes one thing - if that - and the one thing is often just a peice of bread.But we will leave her for now - this is about the boys. I end up serving lunch anywhere between 3 and 4 times a day.
When my younger son started school in the same building I had to walk a nd pick him up every day. I started seeing another mother or two that were carrying lunch to their children. Real lunches like chiken and rice, sometimes potatoes and pasta, and once I even saw pizza. Once I brought them hot chocolate on the first rain of the year when they had left their caots home and I had to bring those too - but never lunch every day. They asked in the beginning of the year - and I told him that that was really not necessary and that he could bring his own lunch in the morning like very other boy.
I tried unsuccessfully offering snacks, or having fruit or vegetables cut up on the table - anything to calm them down when they came home. - nothing worked.
I then discovered something that at the time seemed like a great idea. Some boys get an"ishur" to come home for lunch. Since we live 3 buildings away from the shcool - I thought we could try it. That would mean that I would only have to server lunch once on most days and twice on the others! - this was great news. The boys thought so too for about a week. They then realized that coming home took almost as much time if not more than washing and eating in shcool which they had already quit doing. So we came up with a "compromise" - and this is when I realized how smart and possibly manipulative they really were - I wouwld still make them lunch with everyone else - but I would make it before I picked up the little ones and I would drop it off on my way. Smart -no? They had me bringing hot lunch everyday - and me thinking this was all a good idea. Well there were still a few issues:
1 - What I brought up they needed to wash for most times - though I must admit they ate it without a fuss
and 2 - they still came home HUNGRY!!!
But then I would tell them that they already ate the same lunch as everyone else - and they could have a snack or wiat for dinner.
The latest problem started this week: The seven year old rejected what I brought - did not even look inside the foilf to see what I had prepared. I think he was shy to take it in front of his friends - and he was playing. I was ready to go home defeated and prepare for my famished son's arrival in a few hours, when the mefakeach spotted us. " What's this?" he asked. " His food? - he doesn't want to take his food" at which point all the boys had gathered - he called my son closer and said" your mother worked so hard and walked all the way here (3 buildings as I said before) and past the other school (same entrance) to bring you food to give you koach so you could learn Torah and you dont take it? - you have to come here and take it!" all with a big smile of course. My son came over and whispered in my ear that he didnt't want it - I told him it was ok - I thought he was going to cry.
Next day tried again - this time it was more complicated because I was running late and so I had to run back home to make the food and then come back up again - which I did and then again - he jsut told me he didn't want it - I could see he was in the middle of a vary physical game with his friends. OK. took it home and gave it to the younger ones.
Today was the worst so far. I went to bring him the food - he shrugged it off - all his friends told him he should take it - so I told then I was running up to his older brother and handed the food to the nearest kid - I told him to hold it and give it to my son soon.
After giving the food to my older son I headed backhome and passed the spot where they had been gathered. All the boys were shuffling their feet away from where they had been. I see my son with is head in his hands andhis food on his lap - alone where 7 boys had been. My son does not share in genereal - so I quickly stopped one of the shufflers and asked what happened - he said that another boy had put rocks in my son's mouth - well that did not sound very pleasant. He then pointed out that the mifakeach was on the phone a few feet away. I told the boy to go tell him what happened, and then ran the rest of the way to my son. He was crying and told me he was going home. I told him that he want going home - we had to tell the rebbe and he needed to stay in school. He looked at me - digested what I said - looked down at the food on his lap - got a look of horror on his face - threw the food to/at me and told me to leave. NOW!! or he was going to WHAT? - he started to throw rocks in my direction - though I dont think he was even aiming at me - he was just very upset and was tossing them in frustration. "Just go!" he said - glancing over his shoulder to see how close the mifakeach was. He was still talking on his phone - but he was walking towards us - so I decided there would be less of a scene if I left - so I did.
Later this evening - he told me he never asked for feed and he doesn't want me to bring anything to school.
Now what will tomorrow bring?