Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Lunch at the first grade table

I decided to surprise my daughter and have lunch with her today. Instead of taking her out to dine (I've done that, too), I packed a Tofurkey sandwich and ate lunch in the cafeteria with her. She's been known to get "in the yellow" for her behavior during lunch so I wanted to see for myself what goes down. She told me she's gotten in trouble for talking too loudly during lunch. I couldn't help but wonder, "How loud do you have to be in order to be 'too loud for the lunch room?'" She tried to convince me that the kids are only allowed to whisper, which seemed a little odd to me.

I signed in as a guest and waited outside the office, lunch box in hand. Moments later, the first graders flooded the hallway. A was surprised and excited to see me. For the record: she is still willing to hug and kiss me in public (I'm sure those days are numbered). We stood in line with the rest of her class and then filed into the cafeteria. One of A's best friends came up to me and informed me that she and my daughter have been banned from sitting together in the lunch room. So, we sat next to a different friend. A and I sat down at the table, opened our lunch boxes, and started munching. If I had not been there, I'm about 99% sure she would have eaten her Oreo Cakesters first. However, since I was in attendance, she dutifully chewed on her PB&J. She snuggled up close to me, seeming to be proud and happy that I was there. Meanwhile, a couple of boys at a table across the aisle started whispering to each other and pointing at me. I'm pretty sure that the wee detectives deduced that I was not, in fact, a first grader.

I made a few observations about the crew at my table.

1. I was the only one there with a full set of teeth. Seriously, first graders have it rough. The two girls sitting across the table from me had about a dozen teeth between them.
2. The cafeteria is not quiet and the kids don't have to whisper. So, I'm back to wondering how someone could possibly be "too loud for the lunch room."  But, apparently, my kid finds a way.
3. Kids don't eat green beans. They just don't.

During lunch, the students are obligated to raise their hand if they need something. There are two cafeteria monitors who wander around the room opening milk containers and picking up garbage. It didn't take the kids at my table long to realize that they had an official grown-up in their midst. Before I knew it, I was opening ketchup and salad dressing packets left and right (I got mad skillz, yo). One girl seemed to need three packets of barbecue sauce for her sandwich. I didn't question it. The friend on the other side of A kept asking me random questions and at first I wasn't going to say anything but eventually I did point out to her that she was sporting a huge marker stain (shaped roughly like the state of Florida) that started at the corner of her mouth and made it nearly to her right ear. As usual, A put me on the spot and asked, "Can so-and-so come over to my house?"  I tried my best to be non-committal. I'm happy to let her have friends over but it's kind of challenging with the dogs (who have trouble accepting that visitors are not there specifically to see them and that not everyone enjoys a Boxer tongue down their throat). Also, my daughter's room gets trashed during every play date and then I'm the one who ends up on on her hands and knees fishing Barbie shoes out from under the bed and whatnot.

Before I knew it, the twenty-minute lunch period had passed and the kids were lining up to go back to their classrooms. The kids need permission to get up and throw their garbage away, but I stood up and threw mine away without permission. Yeah, you heard that right. A was the last to leave. The other kids filed past us. She-of-many-barbecue packets patted me on the back as she walked by.  My daughter got in line with her classmates. I zipped up her purple dog-shaped lunch box and gathered my purse and jacket.  I started to head for the other door so that I could sign out in the office. I turned and looked at my baby girl, the shortest one in her class, waving madly at me. "Bye, Mama! I love you!"

I'm glad I get to be awesome for at least a little while longer.

2 comments:

Kalinda said...

Great post! It sounds eerily similar to my visit to Ajay's lunch-time two weeks ago. Of course you worded it way better than I ever could have.
(I was afraid you were going to tell us that you ended up with BBQ sauce on your back!)

Lisa said...

you are an awesome mommy :)