Yeah, That’s the Ticket – the Lunch Ticket

A long time ago, in a land far, far away, a kindergarten teacher told me that it makes no sense to have children younger than about third grade buy their lunches at school.  Lunch time is but a fleeting moment, a mere glimmer in the middle of the school day.  Because younger children tend to eat more slowly, by the time they get in line, purchase a lunch, and find their tables, they barely have a moment to eat before the period is over.

It was with that somewhat cautionary tale in my mind that I made the decision to pack lunches for my kids.  All of them.  Even Brighid, through high school, preferred taking a packed lunch than buying lunch at school.

So yesterday, I was a bit surprised to hear that Granuaile had tacos for lunch.  Tacos?  I distinctly remember the child requesting peanut butter and jelly, and I vaguely recall myself honoring that request by making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.  I also packed fruit, cold water, some panda cookies, and a bag of Sun Chips.  But no, I definitely don’t remember packing tacos.

So how did the child get tacos for lunch?

Why, because the teacher gave her a ticket.  A ticket?  Yes.  It’s a ticket.  The teacher gives it to you for free, and then you take it to the cafeteria, and the lunch lady gives you tacos.  For free.

Do I need to be more diligent in reading the information the school sent home regarding the lunch program?  Free, you say?  I’m certain I read “$2.75 a day”.  What is this “free” ticket the child obtained?

The young one continues.

“Yeah, so, I ate tacos.”

And I say to the small scam artist, “And what is the stain on your shirt?”

“Oh, that’s chocolate milk.”

“But I didn’t pack you chocolate milk.”

“No, but when I got my tacos, they had them in the line, so I took one.  Oh, and they had French toast sticks, so I took one of them, too.”

Hmmm.  And what about the full lunch box?

“Oh, when I went up to get my free lunch ticket, the teacher asked me what was in my lunch box.  I told her you don’t pack me any lunch.  So she gave me a free ticket.  And I had tacos.  And chocolate milk.  And French toast sticks.  One.”

So, yeah, I do look like the crappy mom who on the second day of first grade opts to starve her child to within inches of death?  Or do I send a note into the teacher to ask her to be more diligent in checking Granuaile’s lunch box so that I look like the mother of a budding con artist?

Oh the choices we must make…