In our family we play a guessing game with the children that starts off “is it bigger than a breadbin and smaller than a house?” “Yes” and may go on something like “is it bigger than a table and smaller than a room?” etc until you get the size established then the questions become more specific. It’s great fun and the children love it.
I was reminded of this game when three of my young grandchildren came to stay while their parents were in France finalising details of their imminent move there. The children’s lunch boxes are only a smidgen smaller than breadbins!
The first time I saw the four year old lugging this enormous box out of school I couldn’t believe it. It was nearly as big as him. Now I know why. Typical contents are one ham sandwich (no butter), piece of fruit; meringue cone thingy (wrapped in kitchen paper); small box of dried fruit; chocolate rice crispy biscuit; petit filous (with spoon); bottle of water; carton of apple juice and a second piece of kitchen roll to be used as a table cloth.
Preparing the boxes was like a military operation. The containers for the fruit and the drinks were named and had to go into the correct box. Needless to say I fell down badly at this hurdle and was severely reprimanded by the little girl that evening. The little boy sometimes takes a pepperoni. The little girl likes a sandwich of home prepared tuna, sweet corn and mayo. She doesn’t, however, like pepperoni or a box of dried fruit and so on. To my great relief the eldest boy packed his own box.
And then there was the other stuff they had to take with them. Swimming gear this day, PE gear that day etc. By the time we left the house I was exhausted. And then there was the stuff they trawled back home with them after school. Notes from the school, party invitations, precious treasures made at school that day and, naturally, the empty lunch boxes and swimming/muddy PE gear.
Life was so much simpler when my children were young. They were shooed out of the house to walk to school and fend for themselves. No swimming and for PE they simply took off their tunic and blouse! I am going to start a campaign to bring back childhood deprivation and independence. The children love it and the adults are not so wrung out all the time.
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