Rice topped with red bell pepper, olives and carrot sticks
Everyone says becoming a parent changes everything. It's true. Now, I am Mary Lou Retton flexible. It had been a while since we took the kids out to dinner and I thought it would be a great start to the weekend. My youngest got hurt so we headed back home. My parents joined us, we ordered take-out and had a nice evening. My stress was due to my son's bulging goose egg on his cute little head. It's torture when the kids are sick or hurt. The change of plans didn't matter at all.
Second, my schedule works around naps, around meal time, around play time, and I seem to get whatever time is left over, if any. I try to give my husband time to get his work done and this isn't including his regular day job. He is also flexible for me when I need to run an errand or get in a quick work-out. He'll tell me to "take my time" if I'm going to the gym. What is that supposed to mean?
Third, I was never a morning person. Before kids, my husband couldn't understand why I didn't want to have long, happy conversations while getting ready for work. My co-workers knew I didn't 'wake up' until 10:00AM. Getting up at 3AM to feed a hungry infant isn't easy, then suddenly, I had this adorable happy baby wanting to talk and play at 6AM and I could never resist! Now I'm all, "GOOD MORNING BABIES! DID YOU HAVE NICE DREAMS? LET'S PARTY!"
These rants have to lead to lunches somehow. My son's food preference happens to be diverse. I couldn't feed him the same dinner two days in a row even if it were Mac & Cheese. I like to surprise him with fun lunches but truth be told I don't pack an entertaining lunch every day. When he requests food I don't have, like pudding, I try to remember to add it to the grocery list so it's a nice unexpected surprise for him down the road. I keep a long list of foods I can easily reference if I'm having a hard time deciding what to pack. He told me the other day he no longer likes kiwi. Here's the translation: "Mom, you've been giving me too much kiwi. I don't want to see another one for about three weeks."
I try to shop in season and local as much as possible but by mid-season those foods can get boring. This requires a little more creative preparation and presentation. Really it could be as easy as giving a whole apple instead of slicing it up.
A little side note: This time of year I freeze holiday cookies. I pack a few frozen cookies in a plastic bag and place inside his lunchbox, to help keep the bento box cool. The cookies defrost by lunchtime.