A friend, and prolific blogger, posted a challenge a couple of days ago to share a beginning of school year craft project tradition. The prize for submitting ideas is a craft kit, which I am pretty sure my boys would dismiss as too “girly” (although, S is very into paint and color, and glitter would please him, probably, as long as it’s not too heavily pink!).
I am way too disorganized to have any traditions around anything (ask my daughter – we just winged everything, her whole life, but my hope is that that fosters independence and flexibility!). Probably the main thing that I am traditional about is nursery rhymes and lullabies at bedtime – I sing the songs that my mother sang me, mostly from the Baby’s Opera, which we had an original copy of, much worn and frayed, and it’s companion, the Baby’s Bouquet.
Anyway, my crafting is often driven by necessity, and so, with my friend’s suggestion in mind, the opportunity presented itself this morning. This is the story:
S takes his lunch to school 3 days out of 5, and he is allowed to get the cafeteria lunch up to twice weekly. This is driven, in part, by the number of times that vegetarian options are available on the menu, as this is our kosher compromise (more on that another time). We had been reminding him of his PIN, a four-digit code to pay for his school lunch from an account that we pay into. New for him this year is that he needs to bring a snack for afternoon snack time – in kindergarten last year, the parents rotated bringing in bulk snacks for the kids to share, and so there was no need to pack a special snack. His first-grade teacher, in her orientation/welcome note to all of us last week, made the point explicitly that the kids should not bring candy, cookies, or chips in as snacks, but rather stick with fruit, crackers, and otherwise healthier options.
When he came home yesterday, he said that he ate cookies for his snack, and that one other child also had cookies, so the teacher had said it was OK on the first day, but not to do it again. I thought maybe dad, who had packed lunch that morning, had mixed up the snack, despite the fact that we had all discussed it together the day before. Later, I found S’s lunchbox, which was FULL of untouched lunch, and had an apple with a post-it note label on it that said “SNACK”! So, this morning, I asked S what happened. He said that he bought lunch (probably because we drilled him on his PIN so much). Later, when it was snacktime, he had his whole lunch to eat, and he chose to eat the cookies!! He said, pitiably, “Snacktime is really short!! There was no time to eat more than the cookies!”
I asked him “Didn’t you realize that when you have a lunchbox full of food, then you aren’t supposed to buy the school lunch?” and “Didn’t you see the apple with the note that said “snack” on it?”. Apparently, the answer to both those questions was “No.”
What seems obvious and self-evident to me, is clearly not so in the mind of a 6-year-old!
So, I decided that we need a more obvious container for snacks – the post-it notes are too liable to fall off. And that’s where the craft idea came in. I always find it better to have S do things for himself, and then he remembers it better, and wants more to “own” it and the meaning of it. So, tonight, he decorated his snack container:
On the left, you might be able to pick out a lion ready to eat a zebra, and on the right, a monkey is between a hungry dinosaur and a gorilla (I hope gorillas don’t eat monkeys). I love that the theme is all about eating!! although he interspersed trees in the scene, he didn’t mention that anyone was eating the trees – he’s not a huge fan of veggies!
So, that’s our craft to kick off this school year! Will it become a tradition? Who knows…