Happy Monday! Have your littles gone back to school yet? We haven’t started up here in Dallas yet. I swear, we used to be the first ones to go back to school, and now we’re the last. I see my friends in Tennessee and Georgia posting back-to-school pics, and they’re all crying about how much they are going to miss their kiddos. Meanwhile, I’m over here like “CAN WE START SCHOOL ALREADY?!?!?!?!” Yes, that needed all caps and five exclamation marks. Can anyone else relate? Don’t get me wrong, I love my time with the little guy. BUT…. It’s been a long summer when it’s 100+ degrees by 10 am. Plus his sleep/nap schedule is all over the place. He’s been waking up for a couple of hours each night wanting to play. We just need to get back to our routine. Who’s with me?
Last year was our first year going to “school”. It’s really just a mother’s day out program a couple of times a week. I had a hard time figuring out what to pack for a toddler that can’t even hold a sandwich together. What was he going to eat for lunch? What can I make that’s not going to be a total mess for the teachers? And how the heck is my kid going to sleep on a nap mat with 9 other kids? I don’t know the answer to the last one, but he somehow naps. Those teachers are miracle workers. Here’s a few tips for your toddlers headed off to school.
I use this lunch box by Bentgo from Amazon. My neighbor recommended it to me, and it’s fantastic. It doesn’t leak. It keeps the food cold. Sometimes plastic containers can get a little smelly and stain. This thing has held up all year, and I’m using it again this year. It comes in a couple different sizes. This is the size we use.
I still struggle with finding healthy lunch ideas I know Jace will eat. Listen, I’m not the super healthy, everything-organic mom, but I also don’t want the teachers to think I send my kid to school everyday with junkfood. But dang, it’s hard! He’s at a stage where one day he likes cheese, the next day he won’t.
I try to get a protein, a fruit/veggie and a snack in there. Sometimes it’s as simple and tearing up some turkey, strawberries and goldfish. I’ve tried to get a little “fancier” now that he’s not as messy. I’ll do a tortilla rollup with hummus and turkey. We aren’t allowed to do peanut butter or any kind of peanut substitute, so that limits a lot of options. Jace also prefers his food warm, so a lot of times I make a quesadilla with turkey and wrap it in foil. It’ll stay warm in the bento box above. Lets be honest, some morning I send him with a Hot Pocket.
One of the only veggies Jace will eat is edamame beans. Trader Joes has pre-made containers, and I’ll throw a handful of them in there cold. We always do some sort of fruit- strawberries, raspberries, or grapes. When I’m in a healthier mode, I’ll use these Good Thins Crackers. They’ve got different flavors, some made of rice and some made of chickpeas. They’ve got to be healthier than goldfish right?
Finally, let’s talk nap time. I thought I needed to buy a really nice and thick nap mat. You know the problem with those? They’re big and a pain the in the butt to carry to and from school everyday. They’re also hard to wash. We got this mat from Buy Buy Baby. It’s fantastic. It’s thin, comfy, easy to carry, and you can just throw it in the washing machine. Leading up to the first day of school, I had Jace sleep with his mat during nap time at home. He then started to associate the mat with nap time. I also send him to school with his lovey/blanket. He’ll probably drag that dang lovey to high school.
Good luck to all you mommas sending your kiddos for the first time. That first day is rough. They’ll probably cry. You’ll probably cry. But then you’ll go get a pedicure for the first time in months. You’ll sit there in the massage chair, reading your magazine, and think “I’m sure he’s doing just fine without me.”