This isn’t the long lunch I had in mind
STACKS OF SANGERS AWAIT
THE day has finally come: my third — and hopefully final — child starts school tomorrow.
At four, he’s perhaps unfashionably young for a boy to begin. I’ve heard the arguments for sending or for holding back, and lain awake fretting about them.
But I could hardly have stopped him even if I wanted to because he’s dead keen to go. Thanks to his older sisters the kid’s been attending Local Primary School since birth.
He’s so comfortable with the place he works the playground like a tiny, ginger Sinatra, high-fiving the teachers, shootin’ the breeze with the parents, making social plans with the Year 6s.
The guy’s been sleeping in his uniform, for goodness’ sake. Apart from the hygiene implications of that, he’ll be fine.
People ask how I’m coping with this passing of an era, whether I’m sad to wave our last baby off to Big School.
What’s not to like, I first thought. Finally a single drop-off, the end of childcare fees, a four-year-old looking impossibly cute in a preposterous hat?
But then an enormous realisation struck, causing me to choke back tears of trepidation for an unexpected reason.
It was about the school lunches.
I did the sums and found that the number of school lunches that will be required over my three children’s K-12 careers is … about 7800.
I’m not suggesting I will be making all these lunches. But that figure represents a lot of lunch box angst — and about a billion sultanas.
No one will be getting dainty little sushi rolls and healthy variety in their bags. We’ll be bulk-freezing loaves’ worth of sangers and buying sacks of muesli bars wholesale.
That staggering amount of lunches opened my eyes to other startling school stats that are lurking ahead of us with our three kids.
Say they get through — conservatively — two hats a year each, that’s 78 hats. 78 HATS. A pair of shoes a year? That’s 39 pairs. The socks are too countless to contemplate.
Here’s the most alarming one of all. If we add end to end the time spent attending end-of-year presentation mornings and showcase performance nights — in primary school alone — we get to 68 hours. That’s almost three days and nights of craning our necks with a program in our hands.
So as I head into the kitchen to make school lunch numbers 1209 to 1211, I’ll admit it’s all enough to make me a bit weepy.