Snack trauma

by DaniGirl on September 18, 2007 · 20 comments

in Mothering without a licence

Although Simon’s new preschool isn’t a co-operative, the parents are asked to contribute a snack on a rotating basis. Given that there are 16 kids, and the kids go three days a week, our turn in the rotation comes up every five weeks or so.

Now, I should confess here that I already suffer snack trauma from dealing with just Tristan’s snack. At this time last year, I was happily packing him simple snacks like a baggie with some ritz cracker sandwiches and juice or a little dish of grapes and some water. I was always cognizant of the choices I was making, thinking myself quite the good mother for not simply throwing in a Twix bar and a can of pop.

One day near Christmas, I volunteered for a day in Tristan’s JK class and was gobsmacked to see what some of the other children hauled out of their backpacks for snacktime. We’re talking multi-course snacks here, with various containers and utensils. These kids were eating better for snack than what I usually managed to scrape together for a family meal.

Not that I managed to improve the quality, nor even the quantity, of Tristan’s packed snack after that. I just felt like a bad mother every time I sent him off to school and tried not to make eye contact with the other parents on the playground, knowing they were whispering behind the portable and pointing out me, “that mother, the one who thinks sending an apple – whole, and uncut, even! – constitutes packing a snack” with snickered derision.

And now, it’s not bad enough that I have to come up with a snack for 16 preschoolers, but we happen to be first in the rotation due to the fact that I was stubborn five and a half years ago and insisted on hypenating the boys with my “D” surname, instead of just being content to accept Beloved’s perfectly good “R” surname and a later turn in the rotation. Hmph. I figured that might come back to bite me in the ass some day, but neither so soon nor so viciously.

So anyway, I spent many days hours minutes perusing the Interwebs and considering everything from elaborate fruit-block renditions of the pyramids to mini-muffins baked into the shape of famous Canadian authors. I pictured myself standing in my kitchen, wrapped in a pristine white apron, humming church hymns while lovingly preparing a snack that met all four food groups, boosted brain power and would teach them the alphabet in French. Then I remembered I don’t own any aprons, let alone a pristine white one, and that was the end of that fantasy.

In the end, the pressure was too much for me. I capitulated to the dark side. For a few dark moments, I considered simply sending along the 6 lbs bag of Reese Pieces we got from our excursion to the Hershey Factory last weekend, but finally settled for a tray of pre-cut mixed fruit that I snagged from the deli counter at Loblaws, and a box of animal crackers. Well, they were organic animal crackers, at least. You know, to show how much I care.

{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

1 b*babbler September 18, 2007 at 8:04 am

Yikes. In the last week I’ve read so many interest posts about snack time and volunteering obligations and school drop off rules. It seems like so much has changed since I was a kid. We just got an apple, or crackers in a baggie and a juice box. What is so terrible about that?

Why does society expect so much more from our parents these days. Gourmet snacks, endless volunteering obligations, the requirement to read to your child for 20 minutes after dropping them off at school. To which I say Huh? I’m so going to be the slacker parent that other parents gossip about, I see it coming.

Okay, phew. I’ll stop ranting now.

2 Suzanne September 18, 2007 at 8:18 am

You think you’re unambitious? When it was time for us to provide snack for Sean’s class last year, I’d send in a box of graham crackers. There was no pressure from the other parents, at least — Goldfish seemed to be the dominant snackfood for the year.

3 Cait September 18, 2007 at 8:59 am

AAAAAGH!!! The attack of the yummy mummies!!!
Beware though, they probably would have thrown you in jail if you’d sent in peanutty reeses pieces.
From my recollection of school, kids like pre-packaged stuff better anyway. Sigh… I still have Lunchable envy…

4 Barbara September 18, 2007 at 9:45 am

Think of whose house was popular when you were a kid – the one with the tightly-wound, just-so mom or the one who said, “There are apples and popcorn. Be sure to tidy up when you’re done.” And when that mom offered a more involved treat, you were impressed and appreciative. Go for healthy-ish and low-stress for your sake and the kids’. But then I’m a mom who would make cake from a box or buy one at the store because her kid prefers the icing and decorating to baking and I can’t handle both while working full time and trying to maintain a facade of a non-mommy life.

5 Kerith September 18, 2007 at 9:48 am

Nothing wrong with pre-made snacks. All moms are busy and we can use all the help we can get!

6 roz September 18, 2007 at 9:53 am

Good on ya for packing smallish snacks! I remember my dad always packed the biggest lunches and snacks and guess what – i never ate all of my lunch. First thing i would eat would be a wagon wheel or fruit roll up at first recess. He always sent along lots of fruit, but do you think i would choose to eat that? – heck no!

7 Loukia September 18, 2007 at 1:25 pm

Haha… Christos currently goes to play group a couple times a week, and my mom stays with him. It’s a great school, and a co-op, so we have to bring snacks for all the kids, too. Last year we brough grapes, and chedder cheese and goldfish crackers. Don’t stress about it! 🙂

8 mamatulip September 18, 2007 at 2:28 pm

Wait — so whole, uncut apples don’t make the snack cut anymore?

Sheeeit. I’m in trouble.

(BTW…I’ve been having trouble getting to your blog today. Too much traffic, I’ll bet. ;))

9 DaniGirl September 18, 2007 at 3:37 pm

Mama T, thanks for the compliment, but I think I’m blameless as well as clueless on this one. The server I’m hosted on crashed for about two hours this aft. Oh, the angst, the wringing of hands! Hopefully it’s feeling better now.

10 Fryman September 18, 2007 at 3:59 pm


Snacks have gone way too high tech, too. We never had the option of roll-ups, dunkaroos, jelly whatevers….hell, individual portion chip bags were a monumental leap in snack technology back then.

I just remember the grey/black market for snacks/lunches in grade school…you know, 2 chocolate chip cookies usually got you a wagon wheel, trade a PB&J sandwich for someone’s ham sandwich and a mini Kit Kat bar. Of course, bringing anything on whole wheat bread and/or carrots just got you laughed at.

Favorite snack – had to be the wagon wheel, great to eat, and always great to trade.

11 Jenn September 18, 2007 at 4:15 pm

I always found that we just wanted something a little bit different. If I planned something for the next time it would surely be the snack the class before. We used to special order mini bagels from the local bagel shop. We would have to order several dozen but they froze well and were great for the older folks lunches too.

12 daysgoby September 18, 2007 at 5:48 pm

See, this is why God made SuperStores. God bless the people who labor to cut up the fruit for the deli trays.

And now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go bake six loaves of pumpkin bread (with the special soft cream cheese middle) for my son’s school’s breakfast program, because it was either that or chaperone thirty kids on a trip to see midgets talk about being different – and at home, I already HAVE the wine.

13 Alley Cat September 18, 2007 at 8:01 pm

I’ve had snack trauma at Pumpkin’s pre-pre-school program. Thankfully I wasn’t first so I could see in advance that the mothers usually brought four different types of food, and presented it elegantly, such as heart-shaped watermelon slices. I also had to bring for the moms, which was worse, ’cause it was a particularily skinny crop of moms who don’t seem to eat a heck of a lot of anything.

14 crazymumma September 18, 2007 at 9:29 pm

Thank goodness I was able to open your site up finally! I could not today, I just read on blog lines and was so frustrated that I could not open you up to comment.

You made me laugh but HARD today!

15 Laura September 19, 2007 at 3:45 am

The snack police sure can be ruthless!

I just started to read your log – love it! Thanks for sharing.

I am also from Ottawa – work for federal gov’t – have 3 kids (3.5 yrs, 2.5 yrs and 7 months) – and just started blogging.

I am very much inspired by your posts.


16 Sara September 19, 2007 at 8:09 am

Hah. After 2 years of Communal Snack, we now have to do daily individual snack, and I”m hating it! Much preferred the once-a-month flurry of “what should we send?” to the daily “But MOM! Bobby’s mom sends peanut M&Ms! That’s a healthy snack!!”

Although after last year’s teacher’s comments, when picking our last communal snack of the year I was tempted to send in a box of the caffienated Starbucks Mocha Bars with a side of chocolate Yoo-Hoo as the drink! Because there *were* parents who literally sent in a 2-pound bag of M&Ms as “healthy snack.”

17 meanie September 19, 2007 at 11:23 am

ha ha! i LOVE that i’m not only one with an S.T.D (snack trauma disorder – duh!) the kicker for me? grace’s teacher asked that all kids bring a little face cloth to lay their snack on at snack time (reasonable), and one little girl actually had a monogrammed cloth napkin!(not reasonable)

18 lisa b October 9, 2007 at 7:52 pm

Ha! Cinnamon gurl just sent me here as I was bemoaning my snack mom stress.

I just cannot handle the pressure and our girl has her dad’s ‘L’ name.
nothing helps Dani.

19 lisa b October 9, 2007 at 7:52 pm

oh and was that the factory in smith’s falls?
I thought that closed

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