Thursday, March 31, 2011

Eating lunch is nice, especially when you do it twice

It's a little disingenuous of me to chronicle the lunches my daughter has eaten since she joined the lunch bunch at school without revealing a big part of the story.  Allow me to fill you in on everything she is actually eating:

When Juju started school in the fall, I used to take her home for lunch and then a nap.  But, school proved to be so stimulating for her that she couldn't easily come home and eat and go to bed.  She needed to unwind a little.   So, one day I took her to one of our favorite lunch spots after school, the California Chicken Cafe.  (Apologies to the vegetarians near and dear to my heart who read this blog but CCC is just plain delicious and as it turns out, a great spot for kids.  The food comes out quickly and for $4 you can get a kids meal which includes two chicken drum sticks, one side, and a drink.  That's a pretty great deal even though I completely respect your wishes to be meat-free!)  The trip to and from lunch was enough to wear her out and she would happily sleep for a few hours once we came home.  Also, since I have been enjoying CCC for about half my life, I really enjoyed the chance to eat there myself.

As it turned out, the routine of eating at CCC worked so well that our visits went from once a week to every day after school.  Sometimes other friends from school or the neighborhood would join us and pretty soon we were getting recognized by the staff there who knew what we wanted even before I opened my mouth to order.  This is part of the reason I resisted having her stay to eat lunch at school earlier: I liked eating with her, the routine was great with her nap, she ate a hot lunch, it was cheap, etc.

Here's the problem.  Even though I pack Juju a decent sized lunch and even though she eats about 80% of it at school, every time I have picked her up in the last two weeks she has insisted I take her to the "California Chicken Cafe!*" (*said in a very loud and whiny voice) before we go home.  Lunch is by far her biggest meal of the day and she is still hovering around the 20th percentile for weight so when she wants to eat, I want to feed her.  I should also note that since she is just getting used to staying at school longer, I am still picking her up early each day, not too long after lunch time.  So, if you can believe it, this week I have been giving in and taking her to CCC after she's already eaten her "first" lunch!  It sounds totally crazy but it's not just about the routine; each time we have gone, she has gobbled up her entire meal despite having already eaten most of a meal like this one.

As it turns out, my biggest challenge with food is not getting my child to eat the healthy lunch I pack for her, it's getting her to realize that starting next week, she can only expect one meal!  I think I'm going to try a CCC-inspired lunch to help her realize it's all she's going to get.  Wish me luck.

For those of you who are curious, Juju's favorite sides include ceasar salad and rice with carrots, scallions, and green peppers.  She eats so much at CCC that I often have to order her an extra side.  We'll have to find other times to take her there to visit the staff and get her fill of the CCC goodness!

No comments:

Post a Comment