Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Survival of the Fittest

I was in the kitchen preparing Katy's lunch for school one morning last week. After the whole school dinners debacle (see blog for excruciating details) we are firmly in the packed lunch dept. I removed the stalk from her apple and loosened the flap on her box of raisins. It was as I was making a slight tear in her tube of yogurt to help her open it, that it occurred to me that maybe I was doing her a disservice. I was making everything so easy for her, how was she ever going to learn? How would she ever be able to fend for herself if I continued on this path?

Right there and then I decided I was going to toughen her up. With that in mind, I didn't cut her roll in half, and I also wrapped it in a length of Clingfilm as tall as she was. I put it all in her lunch bag, added a carton of juice but removed the straw, and zipped it up all the way, without even leaving a little gap to make it easy to open. Happy with the start I had made on my new regime, I packed her off to school, tempted to make her walk, but as she is still only four, I drove her.

Once at school I put the next part of my plan into action. Five minutes before the bell went, I left Katy in the playground outside the classroom and said my goodbyes. I figured I would watch from a distance, and see how she coped with being on her own. I was quite proud to see her force her way to the front of the queue, eager to learn obviously. I moved nearer and peered in and saw the real reason she forced her way to the front. There on a table, by the door, was a bowl of bananas. Obviously not enough for the whole class, not even by half. Apparently a big glass of milk, two weetabix, and a slice of bread and honey isn't enough for a growing girl.

My worries for Katy's survival skills lessened, and to be honest at four she is probably beyond help anyway. I had observed her 15 year old sister Dawn try to light the hob with a lighter only the previous night, without any great success I might add. I would have to watch that situation, if she improves then I know she's started smoking. So another lost cause there then. I decided to concentrate on the boy, he was only two, still young enough to mould, still pliable in my good intentioned hands.

I had to teach him some hunter-gatherer skills. Not the easiest thing to teach when you live in the City and your trainee is two. All that was left for me was to hide his lunch. I would make it in front of him, send him out of the kitchen, and hide his plate in one of the low cupboards. On the first day I left the door slightly ajar so he would understand the game, but from then on he was on his own. He got the hang of it quite quickly, so I started hiding it in higher and harder places. The boy did me proud each time, and then he started to give me a smug grin. Let's see how smug he is today when he goes looking. I have hidden his lunch in the car, and the best bit is, shhh, I have to whisper this bit... I have hidden the car keys in my pocket. Score one for Dad.

I read an article once about the rise in the number of kids with peanut allergies. The author seemed to suggest that as pregnant women were cutting them out of their diet completely, when the child did first come in contact with peanuts, it would develop a reaction. He drew a parallel with our vaccination system whereby the child had a little bit of the measles, or polio bug introduced to their system. They then developed immunity to it, and Robert's your Father's brother.

My hygiene hypothesis was born. Working on the same lines as the eminent professors before me, I came to the conclusion that everything was too clean. All those tiny little bugs were being super-anti-bacteriologicaled away, leaving the door open for the big bad ones that follow in their footsteps. There could only be one cure for this, stop cleaning. Start believing that dirt is good, dust is our friend, and grime is the enemy of e-coli. I packed all the cleaning implements into a box, and retired them to the dustbin, safe in the knowledge that I was building a healthier future for Mate. Well safe in the knowledge until eight days later. That's when Wifey slipped on a discarded and forgotten roast potato. If that wasn't bad enough, whilst she was wriggling round on the floor like an upended turtle, she happened to notice the accumulation of crap on the laminate floor. Like a teacher dishing out lines in school, she demanded an explanation.

This has been the said explanation.


Hot Cross Mum said...

You are an evil daddy. And to make up for it I have tagged you over at mine with a task. Mwah ha ha haaa!

Dorset Dispatches said...

I subscribe to this school of thinking. It is the only way I can explain my slovenely habits and utter laziness.

PS - for really good griminess you need to introduce a dog into the equation.

CATE said...

Another brilliantly funny read hon. Lots of laughs and I so love it when you make up words.
You know I can totally relate. #1 can drive, but cannot heat up a pie for his lunch, #2 can bus into the city to hang out with friends, but cannot cut a bread roll in half. Was I overprotective or just too lazy to teach? Don't answer that.
Keep it up J.
PS. When is margarita time?

Anonymous said...

Tomorrow is bin day, so I have decided to implement your suggestions, which I endorse 100%.

It's great not to worry about tearing the bag full of potato peels, old gravy and strangely colored vegetables I don't remember cooking. They are now spread in an artistic design across the kitchen tiles, concealing that center piece I hate.

I wonder will my handy work receive much support this evening, even when I highlight the savings in bin charges.

Very Bored in Catalunya said...

ha ha love it! Did Katy manage to get through the yards of clingfilm to her butty?

Insomniac Mummy said...

You are clearly a genius!

Bloody brilliant!


Debra Snider said...

You may well be the most sensible parent I've met on Twitter. No over-protectiveness for your kids, huh? They'll be the better for it, I promise. I didn't subscribe to the filth strategy, though I see its appeal, but was very big on self-sufficiency, and my kids are now grown, wonderful and super-capable.

Another great post!

Just Wendy said...

Another delicious post accompanied with a large dollop of Jamie humor. I wonder how our grandparents survived without, spray & wipe, disinfectants and other cleaning products?? It's something called the immune system I believe :)

Great post. As always. Mwah!

Themommydaddy said...

I've tried stuff like that on my kids but they just ask their teachers to do it for them. What's really funny is watching the teachers try and open up some of the packaging.

Not From Lapland said...

Surely the next challenge for the 2 year old is to teach him how to pack his sisters lunch box and make a brew?