School’s finally out, and the torment of preparing and sending three lunches a day is finally over for a couple of months. I don’t know about your house, but we go through many different permutations of lunchbox preparation over the course of the year.

In September, I’m really keen. I make and freeze double batches of the Bran-ana Chocolate Chip Muffins from Meal Leani Yumm! with ground flax seeds. I prepare inventive sandwiches and every lunchbox contains a fresh fruit and vegetable in reusable containers. Water bottles are frozen half full and topped off with water in the a.m. so they will remain cold and palatable all day.

This lasts maybe a week.

Then the bloom is off the rose, so to speak. I get frustrated by the vegetables coming home uneaten at the end of the day. The half-eaten gourmet sandwiches spilled at the bottom of funky smelling lunchbags. I’m tired. The novelty is gone. I insist the girls pack their own lunches, setting the nightly battle to be played out in the kitchen for the rest of the school year.

Three girls in the kitchen preparing lunches offers fresh opportunity for bickering, for spills, for splotches of unwiped ketchup and mayonnaise. For unwrapped blocks of cheese hidden in the egg compartment of the fridge (if it gets put back at all). When they leave, the kitchen looks like a tornado blew through the place. The dog is having his second dinner of spilled condiments, bread crumbs and stray pieces of deli meat that tumbled to the ground and stayed there. The sharp eyes of schoolchildren can spot an email in their inbox from twenty paces, but they apparently never hit the kitchen floor.

I either shout for them to clean up. Or stay silent and stew about it as I clean up. Neither option is ideal.

And now that we are all freed from the torments of lunch preparation for the two blessed months of summer, I just had to repost this Calgary Herald article by the very funny Leanne Shirtliffe, in which she rounds up some of the all-time worst lunches ever sent off to school.

The thermos of lukewarm water and the bottle of Jack Daniels top the charts, in my opinion. The question begs to be asked: what’s the worst lunch you’ve ever sent off with your kid?