This is it!

August 23,2010
Sweet Pea Chef
Jessica Efird( )

Jessica, aka the Sweet Pea Chef, is a former U.S. Senate staffer/weekend gourmet turned full-time mom/family gourmet. She lives in Columbus, Ohio with her husband and two sons.

This is it, the last day of summer for R. G still has about 3 weeks before he embarks on preschool, but somehow, his progression from “Mom’s Morning Out” to preschool, which entails merely adding one extra morning per week at his school, doesn’t seem quite as intense. Perhaps it is that for the first time ever, R will be at school full day, or maybe the fact that he is riding the bus this year, but this year truly feels different, and older. I know a lot of moms and dads get emotional when their child goes to kindergarten for the first time. I didn’t shed a tear. R was ready to go, I was ready for him to go, and it still felt safe and somewhat protected. I drove R, the kindergarteners had their own separate playground and R didn’t eat lunch at school. Even R must have noticed how different kindergarten was from the older students, because one time he stated, “those are elementary school kids. I am a kindergartener!” This year, R feels all grown up and I realize that he will be gone a good portion of each day. Up early to catch the bus, and home in the mid- to late-afternoon, I figure he will grow up a lot this year, all while he is away from home. But this is how it is supposed to work, right? This is part of life and I want R to grow, learn, experience and understand more about becoming his own little person. But oh, how a big part of me wants to keep him sheltered and protected from the realities of the world. While short of deciding to home school (something I am just simply *not* suited to do), I am learning to accept that a large part of R’s daily weekday life will be out of my control. For a Type A personality like myself, this will be an adjustment. But I can still choose his lunch, and hope that he chooses to eat it. Over the last several weeks, we’ve come up with a list of lunch ideas that R has chosen for school lunches. I let him choose his lunch bag and thermos accessories (Star Wars) and I came up with a grouping of reusable containers for packing his lunch. We’ll be using a Thermos Lunch Bag, Funtainer (for hot lunches/leftovers) and a thermos drink container. For other snacks and sides, I found Lock and Lock, BPA-free plastic, leak-proof small containers (I am thinking for fruit, hummus and dips) and SnackTAXIs for chips and other dry items. So we’ll see how this whole 1st grade experience turns out. From many of my mommy friends, staying at school for the full day can be a tough transition. I am praying for patience and strength as we step out on this big adventure, which begins tomorrow… SPC