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

Oak Bay High student selected for Canada Youth Olympic Team

Barbarians rugby player Lachlan Kratz heads to Las Vegas for Qualifiers

Crash at Tillicum Centre breaks traffic signal

Emergency crews on scene, avoid the area

Victoria council denies 44-unit building after tie vote

Proposed rental development on Burdett Avenue divides City and residents

Police still searching for missing Langford teen

Ashley Garland could be using the alias Michelle Adams

Therapy dogs make appearance at B.C. Games

The St. John’s Ambulance therapy dog program launches a pilot project at the 2018 Kamloops B.C. Winter Games

Canucks fold 5-3 in first ever trip to Vegas

Daniel Sedin had two points as Canucks fall to the Golden Knights Friday night

That’s a wrap: B.C. Games results after Day 1

Vancouver-Coastal Zone 5 is in the lead for medals Friday at the Kamloops 2018 B.C. Winter Games

Sticking the landing at the B.C. Games

Gymnasts talk competition, B.C. Winter Games, and teamwork in Kamloops

$153M in federal cash to fund child care, education training in B.C.

Bilateral agreement will create 1,370 new infant and toddler spaces

A B.C. woman talks her life in the sex trade

A view into the life from one Kelowna prostitute and the issues it can cause for women

Twitter feed prays for — instead of preying on — B.C. MLAs

Non-partisan Christian group wants to support politicians through personalized prayer

BC Ferries report net loss of $14.8 million in third quarter

CEO assures public it’s smooth sailing, advises of new ‘fare initiatives’

Hundreds march for justice in death of Winnipeg teen

Tina Fontaine was pulled from a river in 2014, her body wrapped in a blanket and weighed down by rocks

Most Read