FAMILY: Primal parenting: food for thought

Columnist Susan Lundy offers her insights into parenting

As I attempted to send my daughter back to her tiny rental suite in Vancouver laden with Thanksgiving leftovers, I realized how the “provision of food” is such a primal part of parenting.

The offer was gently rebuffed: “I don’t have enough arms to carry another bag!” (I handed it to her friend). Luckily, I’d dropped off a massive bin full of supplies a few days earlier, so I wasn’t concerned (yet) that she would starve.

It’s primal and it’s inherited; I remember leaving my parents’ home topped up with leftovers and bits of random groceries. In fact my mom rarely visits today without bringing a container of home-baked cookies or a bag of coffee that she “just won’t use.”

Sending my adult kids off with a few groceries is so much easier than all those years of packing school lunches. My lunch-making angst began early, all the way back to the daycare years. For months, I’d blithely gone about the morning routine of packing diaper bag, snack and lunch. I had no inkling I might be causing permanent damage to the psyche of my firstborn until the caregiver finally took me aside.

She explained that all the other children brought snacks in lunchboxes with little handles, colourful Disney characters and matching thermoses. Danica’s lunch merely arrived in a paper bag and she might be feeling left out. I was horrified in the way that only first-time parents can understand. I couldn’t bear the suffering my child had silently endured.

Judging by the stories that have circulated the news in the past year or so, creating school lunches has become trickier than ever. I’m sure every lunchbox-packing parent shuddered at the story of the mom who was threatened with a fine in Winnipeg because she failed to include a “grain” in her child’s balanced lunch. That lunch apparently did include roast beef, potatoes, carrots and an orange. Then there was the British primary school student sent home after teachers discovered a bag of Mini Cheddars in his lunch, a violation of the school’s health and balanced meal policy.

Although I worked hard to create lunchbox masterpieces, I’m glad there were no lunch police back then. I didn’t need anyone else hovering around taking notes. The food had to be healthy; it had to be something they would eat and – the biggie – it had to be available in either the fridge or cupboards. The more empty the fridge, the more “creative” the lunches.

Some mornings, the father of my children scoffed at my lunchbox anguish, breezily claiming he could easily throw together a mere lunch or two. I smiled kindly, continued making the meal and hoped to God that I never died and left him in charge of our children’s lunches. In those days, I worked late most Monday nights, leaving him to make dinner. Danica and Sierra did not always appreciate his “gourmet” touch. Once, when he had created some sort of odd, raisin, pasta and pickle juice dish, he set a plate down in front of each child. Five-year-old Danica’s eyes widened in disbelief as she observed her dinner.

“This,” she said, outraged, “is bullshit!” It’s tough to chide a child for language when you’re suppressing laughter. When I got home and observed the food, I had to agree with her sentiment.

However, I guess I should have given him some slack. Just because the provision of food is “primal,” doesn’t mean it’s going to be good.

– Susan Lundy

Just Posted

Power expected to be out for hours in Mayfair Drive area

Residents of the 1900 block of Mayfair Drive are without power after… Continue reading

Plastic bags to be banned in Saanich by June 2020

Council approved the timeline that clears a path for Saanich to follow Victoria’s ban of single-use plastic bags

Final push to fund new ultrasounds at Victoria hospitals

Victoria Hospitals Foundation’s Beneath the Surface campaign nears goal of $500,000

Lower Mainland activists to hold anti-SOGI rally at B.C. legislature

Online resource designed to incorporate diversity is a ‘totalitarian assault on the minds of our children,’ activists say

Rainbow crosswalk, safer places for LGBTQ people in Sidney

A rainbow crosswalk is coming to Sidney near Beacon Park. The crosswalk… Continue reading

‘Fire tornado’ erupts as firefighters battle interior B.C. wildfire

Firefighters near Vanderhoof were taken by surprise

Syrian family can, finally, feel safe after settling in B.C.

Anglican Church of the Holy Trinity White Rock meets sponsored family for the first time

1st private moon flight passenger to invite creative guests

The Big Falcon Rocket is scheduled to make the trip in 2023, SpaceX founder Elon Musk announced at an event Monday at its headquarters near Los Angeles.

‘Game of Thrones,’ ‘Mrs. Maisel’ triumph at Emmys

In a ceremony that started out congratulating TV academy voters for the most historically diverse field of nominees yet, the early awards all went solely to whites.

Korean leaders meet in Pyongyang for potentially tough talks

South Korean President Moon Jae-in began his third summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Tuesday.

Russia blames Israel for plane shot down by Syrian missile

A Russian reconnaissance aircraft was brought down over the Mediterranean Sea as it was returning to its home base inside Syria, killing all 15 people on board.

Vancouver park board passes motion to learn Indigenous place names

The name of Vancouver’s Stanley Park is now up for debate as the city’s park board confronts its colonial past and pursues reconciliation.

Champ golfer from Spain killed in Iowa; suspect charged

Police said Celia Barquin Arozamena was found dead Monday morning at Coldwater Golf Links in Ames, about 30 miles north of Des Moines.

Abdelrazik torture lawsuit delay would be unconscionable: lawyer

The federal government is making a last-minute plea to delay the Federal Court hearing

Most Read