I decided to join my first grader for lunch at school today. My first clue that indicated this decision was not my finest was the high decibal of noise upon entering the cafeteria. I really don't think I could eat day after day in that kind of noise.
Kids adapt quite well, though. However, there are some things they simply can't adapt to. Allow me to explain.
I'm not sure what kind of students the administration thinks they have in these schools, but last I checked, mine wasn't Edward Scissorhands.
Because apparently that's what they expect.
I'm in line with my son, curious as to what is being served on this fine Thursday. First stop - fruit. Mmm...the kiwis look quite yummy. They are whole kiwis cut in half. But not peeled, mind you. This is important information to note.
They also have a cup of mandarin oranges, but I pass on those in light of the vibrant kiwi.
Next stop: baked potato.
Hey, I'm impressed. They look pretty good. They're just the right size - not those gigantic ones we stuff ourselves with at a potato bar. Plus they're not crazy hot, just warm enough not to burn those little tongues.
And finally, a stop at the shredded beef sandwich. It doesn't look too bad, albeit plopping it on a bun with an ice cream scoop causes it to lose some of its appeal, but I'm not at the local steakhouse afterall. I'm in a public school.
Now for the critical step of this journey. I meander over to the condiments and silverware section. I consider adding BBQ sauce to my sandwich, but then figure I'd probably just make a mess with it, so I pass. I grab my pad of butter and a fork and...that's it.
Wait a second. Just a fork?
I look at my tray. Kiwi. Not peeled. Baked potato. Not cut opened.
Uh, this is a significant quandary. What are they worried about? Do they think these kids are going to clear their trays and then board an airplane? What's with denying us a simple butter knife?
My son leads me to a table and we slide in next to easily the most obnoxious child I've been around in quite some time.
On a side note: I soon find out this is the same boy that has been picking on my son on the school bus, bullies him to the point of forcing my son to do things he knows are wrong and therefore gets him into trouble.
Bully Boy eats his oranges and then proceeds to make rude jokes while dissecting his sandwich, smashing the meat and poking his potato as if attempting to kill a wild animal.
I lean over and whisper to my son, "Doesn't he annoy you?"
My son shrugs and nonchalantly responds with, "No."
To myself I'm thinking, I've only been here 5 minutes and I want to drop-kick Bully Boy.
But back to my initial dilemma.
I attempt to cut open my potato with my fork. I look over to see my son slowing pulling away layers of his potato peel. I tell him that will take forever, and we don't peel our potatoes with our hands.
I assist and cut his open with his fork too. As I do this I think, When I'm not here, how does he even eat it?
I finish my sandwich - which, by the way...I should have taken the risk with the BBQ sauce because that was some seriously dry beef - and potato and then pick up my beautiful kiwi.
It really looks tasty. It's bright green. Juicy. Scrumptious.
But with no knife...it's also unattainable!
So I grab the only utensil allowed and proceed to mangle my poor little kiwi with that over-worked fork. By the time I'm done, my hands are covered in juice, the kiwi is so mashed and unrecognizable that I feel like there should be a moment of silence for the deceased little thing.
As I lick my fingers to try to salvage some of the goodness, I look up to see about 20 little eyes staring at this crime scene.
And a boy holding his own kiwi with a look of complete bewilderment on his face. He digs in with his fingernail in hopes of shaving back that fuzzy coat.
That wasn't working, so sadly...he just put it back on his tray and got up to leave.
Two kiwis. Two deaths.
One by massacre.
One by abandonment.
Oh dear school dietician, will you please supply knives or else pre-cut the food for these young children who struggle with decent manners as it is?
If not, I will be scanning the lunch menu a lot differently from now on.
If there's a food item that will require slicing of any kind, I will pack a home lunch.
I'm just saying no to kiwi homicide.