School is a learning curve for the parents as much as for the kids who attend. With the child who learns easily and is social and makes friends easily, who can cope with teachers who have different ways of managing behaviours than his/her parents, the child who can put their things away, find their own things, manage their behaviour and in the first instance make it to the toilet when times are set for such things – it’s still fairly daunting. Such a lot of things to learn all at once. It’s not just Riting, Reading and Rithmetic either. The social side of beginning school is an issue especially these days where a lot of kids go to a certain preschool so that they will move on to the same school together. And lunchboxes….omg that is a minefield! You have to have the right one – it can’t be one for little kids (preschoolers) and it can’t be one that no one else has. If you live in a high tupperware area then you’d want the ‘right tupperware lunchbox for your school.’ Thankfully that was never an issue for us – I just don’t do tupperware. OMG – well hush my mouth! How uncouth of me….you know tupperware last forever? Ahhh, not in my house. Tupperware does not come home on it’s own if it’s left in the playground. It doesn’t self construct after someone jumped on your bag in the school bus, or while you were waiting to get into the classroom. And tupperware lids do not find their own bowls that fit in the cupboard – so, little value in the feral household! Of course, in the ‘untupperware’ areas you would want to know what is ‘in’ with lunch boxes – what cartoon characters, what sizes, what sorts of coverings….There’s the plain plastic (and do you need to wrap at all? and if so plastic or paper?) box, then there’s the comparmentalized ones. The ones with a drink bottle that freezes to use as a cooler, or just a frozen brick because the drink bottle can sometimes still be frozen and the poor child will die of dehydration. Then there is the insulated coverings – the boxes come in rectangular velcro at the top, or zipper around the entire thing, largish box with a convex lid? and a strap. Then the colour of the insulated material and the pattern/logo on it. Drink bottles? Many plastic ones. Different logo’s some tiny differences in the pop-top. All of the pop-tops leak after a while (well tupperware says theirs doesn’t but when I bought one finally it got lost before we could find out how long it lasts!) Then there are the metal ones – with coloured outsides or just brushed metal. You can get insulated coverings for them too. But the best bit with metal bottles is that you can get pop-top lids and screw in lids with a hole that you can get your finger stuck in. Some of them come with both. Both lids will get lost eventually so now you can also buy lids separately. I suspect that the metal bottles may be banned at some schools as they can be used as a weapon – even empty they hurt but I”m sure that a metal drink bottle full of water would knock out someone – kid or adult. And since metal rulers have been banned at many schools I suspect the drink bottle is also on the list now. You may have noticed that you have learned a lot already and you haven’t even considered what’s going INTO the lunchbox/drink bottle yet. Healthy school lunches? Well that’s another entire can of worms itself. What’s good for you? what’s acceptable with the other kids, the teacher and lastly, what will you kid eat? Kids of course will have only learned that there are playground/lunchtime politics. And that these politics can affect your whole school experience. It’s a fine line for small children – being their own little person and becoming part of a big group. Many parents don’t want their children doing everything everyone else does at school – food, lunchtime decor, speech, play. But they don’t want their child excluded by the playground politics either.
I have said for a long time that I need to buy shares in companies that produce school lunch drink bottles. They are just such an item! We are all worried that our little people will get dehydrated in summer. Although many drink bottles are tipped over each others heads in summer to cool each other off rather than ingested. And many of us would like to see disposable water bottles not made in the first place. A bubbler you say? Many people – including two out of my three kids refuse to drink at bubblers because ‘have you seen who else drinks out of it?????” Some schools have to have a teacher watch the bubbler as the kids like to use it as a sprinkler and spray each other. Probably cheaper than insulating and air conditioning all the schools tho! Back to the pop-tops, apart from the lids leaking, some the first time you use them, others after a few weeks, there is the amount of crap that congregates in that mechanism. Ewwww, nasty! There’s probably some special childsafe bleach that you can clean them with – but I just don’t do chemicals that much.
You know, the thing is that I actually liked school when I was there. I wasn’t the best or the worst (well I was worst at maths) but I enjoyed the whole school thing. I thought that being a parent would be pretty much the same. I have learned so much about schools – some of it mind boggling. I feel like I need an award for just getting through the whole ‘to-do’ of it all in the end. I’m finding the whole thing quite depressing when I look at the entire ‘school life’ of my family. From healthy school lunches, the actual lunch boxes, to learning and laughing and having friends…..it all seems so much more fraught these days and I don’t see a whole lot of enjoyment happening. When we are having a whinge about the new adults we are turning out these days….let’s just look at how schooling has helped shape some of the attitudes we don’t always like. After the family, the school scene is the next most important tool in moulding our children.