The point of this particular trip down memory lane is that in this country the hallmark of sending a child to school, and to Kindergarten in particular, is (correct me if I am wrong, of course) acquiring a lunch box. Have you tried that lately? Because I am apparently completely out of touch with the recent developments in the lunch box evolutionary history. I remember plastic or metal, but mostly plastic, with some design or other on it. Now it's mostly cloth with insulation on the inside. I was, to my credit, aware of the increasingly popular merchandising of said lunch boxes with beloved cultural icons of the generation. I mean, what Dis.ney release would be complete without a corresponding lunch box or three?
But still, I believed that equipping my first-born with a lunch box that would be both practical and acceptable, in that I would not be subjecting myself to the daily danger of either falling into a diabetic coma due to its unbearable cuteness or throwing up due to its disgusting gender and cultural conditioning, would be a relatively easy proposition. And so armed with this overly optimistic expectation we set off for the big box toy store OF DOOM (I am totally cribbing Niobe here). The choice of locale, for the record, was due to my aunt bestowing upon Monkey a gift card to the said retailer OF APOCALYPSE. If you are curious as to why I believe that place to be truly EVIL, you should try walking in with a five year old girl. Because I find that even the best-behaved and mature of them turn into whiny whining whiners when confronted with the overabundance of the pink! displays! of! Bar.bie! merchandise! OF DEATH. But I digress.
So we went there. And found nothing, and I mean nothing, we could agree on. Lunch boxes merchandised with the characters Monkey wanted to take home and I could put up with were just impractical. And the one shape of the thing I thought would work for our purposes didn't come in any characters she was interested in investing with the awesome responsibility of guarding her sustenance and simultaneously telling her classmates who she is as a person. Or something like that. We left sans the lunch box.
That was over a month ago. A little bit later, while Monkey was enjoying her time with grandparents, I found an excellently practical lunch box at a price club where we shop. It zipps along the top, rather than on the side, it is roomy, and it comes with three containers, all fitting neatly inside, one even with extra insulation for promised maintenance of thermal state of its contents over extended periods of time. When Monkey got back, I took her to the store to show her what I found and to have her select from among the multitude of available choices (pink or blue-- original, I know). She didn't want anything to do with it. It was too plain. We would decorate it ourselves, I promised, it will be the best lunch box ever. I suppose it is a sign of Monkey being five and under the illusion that mom knows what she is talking about that she agreed to this plan.
The plan, though? It was not exactly well-formed. I thought stickers or stencils. I was aware that regular stickers won't do, since the outer surface is covered with cloth-like thing, but I had vague notions of stickers that would stay, the extra-strength stickers, if you will. We struck out at our favorite local toy store, but they did suggest an art store. I know, DUH! So we went, and OMG! Stickers! Everywhere! Plus, on sale, so you know-- rock on. We spent some time choosing the stickers. D@ra was clearly coming home with us. But we had a long talk about one of those Princ@sses whose role in a D.isney classic comes down to looking pretty and waiting for the awesome prince-- about why she likes her (pink dress, pretty), but would she want to be friends with her? In the end it came to choosing two out of three-- D@ra, her pal Di@go, or the infamous pretty in pink airhead. And can you believe it? The princess went back on the shelf!
So we took our loot home and went to town on the poor lunch box. It came out pretty well, if I say so myself. Here is the front view:
We do have a
P.S. And here is the rest of our handiwork, going counter clockwise around the lunch box: