I should have handed out multivitamins at Halloween.

As I’ve mentioned, I don’t make anything especially fancy-pants for lunches here, mostly since I make them 10 minutes before I go to bed, and I’m worrying much more about the allergy-free ingredients that I’m putting into the lunchboxes and less about what the actual foodstuffs are. But whatever I’m doing, it was enough to get accolades.

I’ll admit that I’m pretty out of it when it comes to what Everyone Else is doing in terms of parenting. I’m barely just treading water here with what we’re doing; I don’t really have time to figure out what Pop Parenting says I should be doing. I will say, though, that the food items the Neighborhood Posse brings into my backyard are so horrifying that I’m beginning to see why a handful of walnuts and a piece of provolone (Henry’s actual lunch today) are noteworthy. First, there’s the brother and sister who apparently eat nothing but candy. They have brought over candy necklaces and candy bracelets, and cups of marshmallows (seriously). Once the sister came over with chocolate all over her face, and when I asked her what she’d been eating, she said she’d had chocolate for breakfast. During the summer they came over with those Fla-Vor-Ice popsicles, and gave one to Eli (it was a turquoise blue one), who excitedly took a big bite, and then looked very frightened and stuck his tongue out of his mouth yelling, “Get it out, Mommy! Get it out!” I had to scrub his tongue with a towel before he’d calm down.

Some other kids brought over some of that yogurt-in-a-tube, and left the wrappers lying around (the Neighborhood Posse has a littering problem), and so I got to see that the yogurt was cotton candy flavored.

Once I announced that I was making peanut butter sandwiches (in a desperate attempt to get some kind of protein/fiber food into these kids) and many of them said they loved peanut butter sandwiches. So I made about a million, and Eli and Henry were the only ones who ate them. One boy looked all disappointed and said, “Um, I don’t like this peanut butter sandwich.” I’m such an idiot…if you’ve spent your life eating sugary Jif on white bread, my little Teddie All Natural Super Chunky Unsalted (ingredient: roasted peanuts) on whole wheat bread is going to seem like a big hunk of lentil loaf. During the peanut butter sandwich picnic, one girl had gone home to ask her mom if she could eat one of my sandwiches. The mom obviously felt bad about me feeding everyone, so she gave her daughter something to eat…the girl came back to our backyard munching on a Smuckers Uncrustable, which is the dumbest take on a peanut butter sandwich I’ve seen (how hard is it to make a sandwich? who needs to buy pre-made frozen sandwiches?).

By far the most disgusting thing, though, was when some of them were drinking Sunny D in our yard, and (of course) left their empties behind. I read the ingredients and was staggeringly disgusted to see that canola oil is an ingredient. I can’t for the life of me imagine why oil is an acceptable ingredient in a “juice” that barely has any juice in it anyway.

With this post, I have officially become my mother, the original Label-Reading Food Policewoman.

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