We tackled the insane school supply list at the beginning of the year, but there are a few things T-man and Bear need in their backpacks each day: a lunch, a water bottle to keep in the classroom, and a morning snack.

Each of these things has required tweaking at one point or another this year. Last fall the kids announced that they no longer wanted to buy lunch from the cafeteria.  They started to give me the gory details behind their decision — it smells disgusting, so-and-so found this in their food yesterday — but I quickly cut them off.  No need to explain to me why you wouldn’t want to eat cafeteria food; the smell triggers my gag reflex whenever I pass by the kitchen to get to their classrooms.

Was it a little inconvenient?  Sure.  The days they bought lunch got me out of packing one the night before, but it’s not like I could fault them for having good taste.  So we changed over to daily packed lunches.

The lunch contents themselves have also been in flux.  Last school year T-man ate half a ham sandwich (no condiments, thank you) and Bear (not being a sandwich fan) ate Ritz crackers accompanied by deli ham in a Ziplock bag.  We started off school lunches this year in the same vein, but about a month in the kids changed tack.  T-man decided he didn’t like sandwiches anymore, so he wanted the Ritz crackers & baggie of ham instead.  Bear decided she hated ham, so her order changed to a peanut butter (No Jelly!) sandwich.

Okay, I can roll with this, as long as you tell me what you’ll eat.  So I changed the main food in each lunch and added their extras: a water bottle, some kind of fruit, a carb (pretzels, etc.), and a dessert. Dairy turned out to be a bit more challenging.  T-man would eat a yogurt or drink a smoothie, but Bear turned her nose up at these and the cheese sticks I tried as well.  After trying all year long I finally found a source of calcium she loves — individually wrapped pieces of cheddar cheese.  (It’s the small successes that keep me going.)

They head out of the house with a (relatively) balanced lunch each day and most days they’ll eat almost all of it, so I figure we’re doing pretty okay on that front.

The water bottles for their desks have, ironically, caused problems as well.  One leaked. One got dropped in the parking lot and the flip lid snapped.  So much condensation formed on another that there would be a puddle on the desk by 9:00am.  Honestly, finding a container that’s leakproof to carry cold water shouldn’t be that difficult…

Of these three daily requirements, morning snack has proven to be the most challenging.  The simple act of remembering to throw the crackers or granola bars into their backpacks can be difficult at times.

Where things get really tricky, though, is when my kids see what other kids bring for snack.

Doritos.  Potato chips.  Cookies.  Cupcakes, for the love.

I did mention that this is a morning snack, right?  They eat it at 10:00am, the theory being that an energy boost will carry them through to lunch, but with crap like that they’re more likely to crash and burn.

So while this offends my sensibilities on a conceptual level, I accept that it’s your kid and monitoring their food choices isn’t my job.  It takes an effort but I’ll keep my mouth shut.  (Or I’ll really, really try.)

But here’s the problem.  Your loose-y goose-y snack decisions force me to become the snack nazi in our house.  And, frankly, that kind of sucks.  I mean, where’s the solidarity, people?  Where’s the parents banding together to put forth a united front?

Suddenly I’m the bad guy who won’t send double stuff Oreos for morning snack.  My kids aren’t delusional enough to think I’d actually send cake, but at least several times a year I have to explain again why BBQ Lay’s aren’t an appropriate food choice for 10:00 in the morning.  Why is this even a conversation?!

Oh, wait.  I know why.  Because when snack time rolls around at least four of their classmates parade junk food in front of them.  Every. Single. Day.

I keep telling myself that this is one of those parenting lessons they’ll appreciate when they’re older. Kind of a “someday they’ll look back and realize I denied them crap because I really, truly love them” thing.

For right now, I’m pretty sure they just think I’m the snack nazi.