The care and feeding of poppets
It’s “Getting To Know You” day in this week’s installment of America’s Worst Mother™, where Meghan Cox Gurdon wisely seizes upon an all-to-brief moment of sobriety and quickly jots down some notes about her children: (Guernica, Aubergine, Roseofsharon, and Dr. Phil) like what they like to eat as well as general descriptions of the kids just in case she has to indentify them in a lineup or something.
It seems that, back in her younger days, when Meghan and Mr. Meghan were still having conjugal relations, America’s Worst Mom never considered the fact that hosting his turgid manhood in her hoohah while he thrust and grunted for those 41 seconds of questionable pleasure might someday result in a series of poppets who needed to be fed, bathed, and clothed. But here she is, and there they are, and what’s a stay at home mother to do, but spend five minutes each day pondering what minimum daily requirement she needs to fulfill to keep Child Protective Services off her back…again.
This may sound trivial at a time when Iraqi policemen are being blown to bits, and of course, ultimately, it is, but I assure you that the exigencies of lunch-box packing are a kind of bamboo splinter driven daily under the fingernails of the bourgeoisie.
On any given Sunday night, across the country, millions of weary parents will kiss their children goodnight, turn off the lights, walk back into the kitchen, and smack their foreheads in dismay. “Aargh, lunchboxes,” is roughly what will go through their minds. They will begin rooting around in the cupboards for something their unsupervised children will eat when surrounded by their peers, which adheres to school requirements ? “healthy, no candy, and no nut products, please” ? and which includes at least one brick from the FDA’s Food Pyramid.
Before you snort in disgust and mutter, “Any idiot can pack a lunch box,” let me first concede that you are right. Any idiot can pack a lunch box, and if he fills it with cheese puffs, chocolate brownies, and canned mandarin-orange sections, any child will eat it. It takes, however, a highly refined type of intelligence to devise a nutritious lunch that a child will actually eat every day, week after week, year upon year, and alas, only the Japanese possess such intelligence.
Meghan, who is no idiot (because that would require effort), then muses upon the wily Japanese and their smartypants miniature transistorized lunches and wonders why her children aren’t Japanese, and, as expected, this line of thinking goes nowhere.
Later we learn that Meghan used to live under the iron Timberland boot of Canadian oppression:
Still, it is easier to pack a lunch box in the United States than it is in, for example, Canada, where environmentalism is the established church and recycling its principal ritual. When we lived in Toronto, our school banned the use of any containers that could not be washed and reused. This was a sliver of bamboo all in itself. Denied biodegradable juice boxes and milk cartons, parents had to (and still must) pour drinks into those plastic screw-top boxes with built-in straws. These things are mold factories. So after boiling them ? waste of resources! ? or running them repeatedly through the dishwasher ? waste of resources! ? you would eventually throw them out ? yay! ? and buy new ones.
Which is easier than actually washing them daily when you would rather be watching Judge Judy and working on your second pitcher of Harvey Wallbangers. But never mind that, because now Meghan has to acquaint herself with the two kids who do go to school (unlike Aubergine & Roseofsharon who quietly lie around the house all day after a hearty breakfast of porridge and Nyquil) and see what they will eat:
” ? But how about sandwiches?”
“Ham!” Paris shouts, “And salami with Nutella!”
“No Nutella,” I say, “Because of no nuts.”
“Tunafish?” Molly ventures, “But not all the time.” This is her delicate way of referring to the time when I bought a case of tuna and gave it to her every day for a solid month. “Cheddar cheese is nice, too,” she adds.
“Oh no!” Paris throws up his hands as one warding off an attacker, “Not cheese!”
“But you like cheddar cheese ? “
“Only melted,” he cries, suddenly scarlet with emotion.
It looks like the animated and emotional Dr. Phil hasn’t been getting his Ritalin again.
Meghan really needs to learn to share.