As parents, we are used to seeing how childhood culture differs from the way things were when we were young, says Grumpy Dad. Like how kids can watch television all day rather than just at teatime, or the way fruit pastilles don’t quite taste as good as they once did because the artificial colouring has been taken out. Spoilsports!
Usually I can see a reason for evolution, but there is one thing in schools up and down the country that, try as I might, I can’t quite understand.
Whatever happened to the good old-fashioned lunch box? Note the key word in that sentence – box. Today’s equivalent is a softer, insulated cool bag and I have to say – I hate them.
In a nutshell, they are much more difficult to clean and they don’t protect your average sandwich from being squashed or bashed about in the playground.
What is the point of them? A quick survey at the school gates throws up a couple of anti hard lunch box arguments. ”Oh, my Olly was always breaking his one,” says one mum. ”It stops them hitting each other over the head with them,” says another.
For goodness sake! The odd slug in the stomach with a Transformers tin made a man out of me. And I can’t see how any hard box could be anymore fragile than the easy-to-rip lining of your average lunch box.
They are a pain to clean. You can’t submerge them in water or put them in the dishwasher like you can with a decent hard lunch box. And vigorously wiping them with a damp cloth as per the instructions doesn’t remove all the grime or banish the stench of yesterday’s tuna sandwiches.
Cleaning them properly takes up too much of our precious time, time we haven’t got. Bring back the lunch box, I say. For now I have resorted to putting the kids’ lunches in an ordinary Tupperware box in their lunch bag. It sounds daft, but it works. And if anyone dares to disagree with me, I’ll give them a quick slug on my way into the playground….