By Jennie Montgomery


Back-to-school shopping with my kids always included paper and notebooks, pens and pencils, bright yellow highlighters and new lunch boxes.

OK, I can see them reading this column and freaking out about that sentence! So let me clarify:  When they were in elementary school, the annual shopping for school supplies always included new lunch boxes.

Lunch boxes were easy in the elementary days. My three kiddos had their favorite movies, characters or colors and nobody took the wrong lunch. Theoretically.

Those long lunch tables can be intimidating—especially when there are strict rules about talking and consequences for bad behavior. My kids’ school observed “silent lunch” for like 15 minutes, so all the kids would at least eat something before the socializing started.

One day my son’s 1st grade teacher noticed he was sitting quietly with his lunchbox closed. She said he just kept looking down as the other children ate their sandwiches and grapes.

She hadn’t noticed any “fasting” on Zack’s part before, so she walked over to him and suggested he start eating. As she reached to unzip his Spiderman lunchbox, Zack looked at her with fear in his eyes. He was non-verbally begging her NOT to open the lunchbox.

Quietly, she asked him if something was wrong with his lunch. He whispered, “It’s Barbie inside.”

Not sure what he was saying, she lifted the corner and saw a smiling pink Barbie thermos and Barbie sandwich keeper. (Oops!)

“We can fix this, Zack” she said as she took the Spiderman lunchbox over to the kindergarten tables.

It didn’t take her too long to spot a little girl sitting in front of an unopened pink Barbie lunchbox.

“Are you Zack’s sister?” she asked as she discretely revealed the Barbie containers inside the Spiderman lunchbox.

“Thank you!” beamed a happy Maddy as she swapped out the sandwich and drink.

Maddy probably would have eaten from the “boy” Spiderman containers anyway, but not my shy little Zack. He was mortified to find those “girl” lunchbox components—and surely would have come home starving if not for his teacher’s Super Hero sleuthing to track down the “mis-packed” Spiderman pieces!

This article appears in the August 2015 issue of Augusta Family Magazine.
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