The Practice Lunch

The Kindergarten panic has set in.

Yesterday morning, I awoke with a start.  I don’t remember what I was dreaming about, but upon waking, all I could think of was Liam’s lunch.

I imagined him on the first day of Kindergarten at the lunch table.  He opens his lunch bag but can’t figure out how to get the lid off the Tupperware containing his blueberries.  He doesn’t know how to open the Ziploc bag with his sandwich.  His throat is dry because he has never been through the steps of purchasing a milk.  Too scared to ask for help, he begins to cry and there is no teacher taking notice.

My husband sees me staring at the ceiling and inquires “what are you thinking about so intently?”  Lunch.  I have not prepared my child to eat lunch.

We go to the store to purchase plastic containers to put inside his lunch bag.  I have Liam select a water bottle as well, hoping that will take care of the need to purchase milk.  Kellen knows he is starting preschool, and believes he needs these items as well.  He starts telling me how he will share his sandwich with Alex, a friend he is hoping will be in his class.  I know I am starting a whole new problem letting Kellen believe he, too, will be eating lunch at school when he won’t.  But I’ll deal with that later.

Yes, I, will deal with that later.  Kellen will only be at school for three hours.  I’ll be eating peanut butter sandwiches with him, and scheduling play dates to fill the time after school.  He’ll be going with me to the grocery store and making messes as fast as I can clean them up.

Liam will be at school all day.  All day.  Will he miss me?  Do I want him to?

As we wait to pay for our purchases I make a lame attempt to talk to the boys about school.

“I’m going to be so bored without you guys at home.”

“It’s ok, Mom,”  Liam says.  “Kellen will be home in the morning, and I’ll play with you when I get home in the afternoon.”

I resolve to never say something like that again.  I don’t want him feeling guilty about leaving me.  He needs to enjoy school.  I want him to fall in love with learning.

I schedule a practice lunch for the next day with my mother-in-law.  I will drop the boys off with their lunch bags, and let them get used to opening the containers, eating, and putting everything back in the bag.  As we drive to her place, I remind Liam that if he needs help with lunch or anything, to ask his teacher.

“I know, Mom.”

I think of ten other reminders I could issue, but I sit in silence instead.  I have to trust I have raised him to be confident, strong, and eager to find solutions to problems.  I have to let him be the boy I know him to be.


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