sensory integration

School Lunch with a Crunch

Yesterday on the ride home from a friend’s house, Liam firmly stated that he did not want chocolate and sardines packed in his school lunch.  I agreed to his request. I had no idea what he was talking about.

I have re-vamped lunches this year. Will and Liam like foods that crunch. Their senses are centered and their focus is sharpened by goldfish, carrots, apples, pretzels, and potato chips. Liam washes down the crunch with his chocolate soy milk. Will gulps Gatorade and gets a protein hit from the insulated bag I have waiting for him in the car after school: Cheese slices snuggled up against an ice block.

They love cold, cold cheese, preferably right out of the fridge. They haven’t developed the taste for room temperature cheese. Eating sweaty cheese out of a lunch bag? I might as well be packing chocolate and sardines. Yesterday, I discovered that a slice of bologna sweats in a lunch box just like cheese does. And, sweaty bologna comes home untouched.

To decompress myself from lunch stress, I’ve taken a step back and acknowledged what history has shown. Liam might remember to eat one or two things as he’s chatting with his friends at lunch time. Starving after school, he demands food. I open his lunch box and there is his 3 p.m. lunch. As for Will, he prefers food in smaller doses. Recognizing hunger, he grabs food throughout the day and appreciates that cold snack in the van. Will & Liam eat to live.

Neither boys eat sandwiches. As a kid, I depended on that wonderful bologna sandwich for lunch. On white buttered bread with ketchup. And for pure decadence, if there were plain potato chips in my lunch, I tucked them into the sandwich, on the ketchup side.  I loved that crunch.

Crunch. That reminds me... A friend picked Liam up from school yesterday, and she offered me a kind of homemade toffee that was heavenly. To make it, she covered saltine crackers with butter and sugar and chocolate. The microwaved result was chocolate-covered toffee!

Ahhh... 0therwise known as chocolate and “sardines.”

Crunch box(Do you have suggestions for a crunchy lunch?  Please, please, find this big yellow box on my Facebook page and leave your suggestions in the comments!)


When you were 5 years old, what did you say when someone gave you a sticker book? I loved sticker books: Pulling off stickers and finding the right page where that particular shape needed to be stuck. Stickers as rewards weren’t in fashion yet. Now, the dentist’s office, grocery store, and school have stickers galore which are handed out for grand accomplishments: Didn’t cry at the dentist’s office. Didn’t melt down in the check-out lane. Didn’t disrupt the class. To the Malcolm boys, reward stickers are not effective.

Neither Will nor Liam like stickers. They are sensitive to the adhesive, finding it down right offensive. However, neither mind getting their hands sticky – just not having adhesive things stuck to their hands. No burning through Sponge Bob Band-Aids in this house.

Both have adapted to our sticker-infested society. Pointing to his chest, Liam says, “Sure, put it right here on my shirt.” The sticker dealer is left to maneuver the adhesive. Will takes the sticker, and graciously says, “Thank you”; then walks out with the sticker backing intact. After one such occasion, to Will I said, “Honey, you don’t have to take it. Just say ‘no thanks.’”

Then, I started paying attention to how obsessed sticker dealers are with making sure at least one sticker goes home with my children. “You don’t want one? Are you sure?? Here, take a couple! Really, it’s OK – you can have them!!” The boys have worked out one general solution: Take a sticker or two, and the sticker dealer relents; then the sticker is ditched in the van. Or it goes with the shirt into the washer.

Yes, stickers are a bit like a picnic with ants. We don’t want the ants, but sometimes it’s easier to leave them be rather than to continually flick them off of our favorite quilt on a hot summer’s day.