“No, thank you,” Miss6 said when I asked what spread she’d like on her sandwich for the next day. “I don’t need my lunchbox tomorrow.”
My initial thought was the school was having some sort of international food day or sausage sizzle. That this would be happening and I would have no idea of it the night before is neither surprising nor unprecedented.
“What’s happening?” I asked, more to make conversation than because I wanted to know the answer. I didn’t care. Not having to make lunches was where my genuine interest pulled into a rest stop.
“Nothing,” she said, opening the fridge and grabbing out a leftover sausage to gnaw on before dinner. “I just don’t need to take a lunchbox to school. I’m having tuck shop.”
A couple of things came to mind at this point as my interest pulled back, reluctantly, onto the busy and potholed tarmac that is my life.
Firstly, there was no chance one of my children would be having tuck shop without all of my children demanding tuckshop, and the other four kids had each chosen from a selection of raspberry jam, honey or vegemite without a single melt down.
“Why,” I asked her, “are you getting tuck shop?”
I was pretty sure Tracey and I had a conversation a couple of weeks ago when school started about how we weren’t going to worry with tuck shop for the first month or so because we were going to give our children lots of fruit and variety and reason to hate us.
There has been daily interest from the children, of course, but so far we’d managed to put them off with a selection of spreads, snacks and cuss words.
“A teacher is giving it to me,” Miss6 said matter-of-factly.
I asked which teacher.
This seemed to give Miss6 the first pause in this entire conversation.
She frowned slightly in what certainly looked like deep thought before shrugging and saying, “I don’t know.”
“That makes no sense,” I said.
“Look,” huffed Miss6 impatiently, turning and giving me eye contact for the first time since I brought up the idea of squares, rectangles or triangles for lunch, “how long have I been at school?”
“So this has been going on for three weeks,” she told me through a mouthful of hickory-flavoured snag with her arms spread out in a ‘can you believe this shit’ gesture I suspect she copied off me, “and I only just found out.”
This was not going the way I imagined, and part of me was wondering if mentally my youngest child had pulled into a multilevel car park some time ago and maybe forgotten where she’d parked.
“What the actual are you talking about?” I asked her as succinctly as I could manage at that moment. “Why can’t you just say jam or honey like everyone else?”
Suddenly it seemed to occur to Miss6 the walls might be listening. She waved me down to her level with half a sausage and cupped a greasy hand around my ear.
“Did you know, if you don’t bring a lunchbox to school,” she whispered, “they give you tuck shop?!”
Raising a family on little more than laughs
This post is not sponsored…