Glove box gourmet

As you screech from school pick-up to intermediate capoeira, drop one child at water polo and the other at pottery, then swing back again to pick both of them up in time for young masters’ chess, you’ll want to be keeping up your children’s flagging energy levels.

This is why air-conditioned glove boxes now come as standard, and can be the only possible excuse for the development of cheese string. It may also help to explain the increase in 4×4 ownership – basically these cars have become mobile homes, so they have to be enormous.

Anyway, whatever the reason, feeding your kids in the car has now become as much a tradtion as the Sunday roast, but it does present its own challenges.
Creating a balanced, nutritionally sound menu is vitally important, so here are a few pointers to help you provide meals where each and every food group is represented (and can be sucked up with a Dustbuster).

Fruit: Sunmaid sultanas, Fruit Winders, Jaffa cakes
Dairy: Frubes, Cheese Strings, Cheddars, Creme eggs
Carbohydrates: Pringles
Protein: Pepperami, Dairylea Lunchables, Cashew nuts
Fibre: The cardboard it all came in

Serve in a traffic jam, with a warm Fruit Shoot, wet wipes and French verbs.

Absurd, isn’t it? But actually, it’s quite hard not to get sucked into the whole after-school activity vortex. There’s always that fear that someone, somewhere will have found the very class that your precious would have absolutely aced – the skill that would, eventually, have added the crucial extra lustre to their CV, and landed them a job in the City. And in primary school when they have next to no homework anyway, doing a few classes seems a far more constructive use of time than watching endless re-runs of Tracy Beaker – especially when you daren’t let your children play out anymore. Yep, we’ve all been there. I think my darkest hour was the term when my kids did cross-country on Tuesday after school, followed by their swimming lessons, then on to the athletics club we’d waited eight months to join.

We didn’t last long. As the weeks wore on, my feverish scrawl on the family calendar on the kitchen wall thinned out, until we were left with blissful blank space. And time to just be.

Phew! I feel better for having shared that, and I’m slightly consoled in all this by this fantastic post by 8-Centimetres Deluded

That’s way madder than me … isn’t it?


19 thoughts on “Glove box gourmet

  1. 14 yrs in this godforsaken country, and i finally kind of rather like string cheese (as it is known in these here parts)

    And reading this post makes me really miss creme eggs and dairylea.

    wish they were airing the show over here!

  2. We had a rule in our house when the kids were little, each kid could only do two things, they had to choose. Even then it was busy. I may be a bad mother, but I’m so glad I don’t have kids going to lessons anymore.

  3. ginga maybe i should send a care package? i can’t imagine the show will go to the us – it’s SO uk, they’d need subtitles!
    otj isn’t that fear always at the back of your mind, though? that you’ll just forget to pick them up one day, or get horribly delayed, or fall asleep – and just not be there. NIGHTMARE
    deb i think that sounds like the perfect formula. we don’t really function as a democracy here, though. i’m more of a benevolent despot … honest!

  4. Hah! Vindication at last. I’ve been lobbying for Jaffa Cakes to be included in the fruit group for years. And now it’s been upheld by published authors. So, y’know, it must be true! 🙂

    My eldest started school last September and I find that, by the time he gets home, all he wants to do is have a nap. Am I lucky, or am I doing something wrong? He doesn’t subscribe to my Jaffa Cake theory and, bizarrely, likes lots of food that’s really good for him so I don’t think it’s that he’s wildly unhealthy or anything. Does anyone else have a napping 5 year old? (Mind you, he has the soul of a 70 year old man and prefers flannel pyjamas for bed, so perhaps it’s just in his nature!)

  5. I didn’t do ANYTHING with no 1 when she was in reception because I had three smaller sprogs snapping at my heels. And instinctively I just don’t want to be a mum who’s dragging their kids about.

    But… They don’t learn swimming at school and they have to swim, so we do that on Mondays.

    No 1 started brownies and has just moved up to guides, so no 2 has followed in her wake. Personally, I wasn’t a brownie and have a loathing of women in uniforms, but the kids have really enjoyed it. Plus I do think it is quite a good way of keeping my little girls, what they are, ie: little girls, rather then mini adults in waiting.

    All of them have done ballet, but I leave you with the knowledge that only the youngest still does and let you draw your own conclusions.

    Saturday morning does involve dragging ourselves out and about to various dance/gym classes, but a) they do enjoy them and b)it stops them watching crap tv.

    Oh and three out of four do tennis, which is entirely selfish on my part as I want someone to play with.

    I utterly refuse to play competitive games with other mums though… it is nonsense and i don’t care what their little darlings do!

    If the kids don’t want to do something we give it up.

    Oh… and I have been that mother who forgot her child. Last year I went out to lunch with friends and actually left the town where I live (since I’ve been at home this is a rare event) – I was happily driving home thinking I had plenty of time and got caught in traffic. Never mind, I still had time… Except I didn’t. Screaming round the corner to park the car I realised it was 3.20pm – the time I pick no 3 up. Then it dawned on me at 3pm I was meant to pick up no 4 from nursery… aaghh… So I was late for both…

    Enjoyed the prog last night!

  6. I don’t know what most of those snack foods ARE. We’ve made the concious decision to limit the amount of afterschool activities our kids are in and so we have a lovely homelife and kids who may never get into university.

  7. I am so glad I found your blog! Feeding the kids in the car after school is my dirty little secret – and your mention of the wet wipes is the crowning touch!

    La vida loca.

  8. lqs jaffa cakes are indeed a fruit – and contain vitamin c, but once you open the packet, it starts to deteriorate. so obviously, you have to eat them all. ok?
    oh – and for most of reception, i’d have to go into the classroom at the end of the school day and pick my sleeping daughter up off the pile of cushions she’d flopped on. her twin brother, however, would be like one of those duracell bunnies! nature? nurture? whatever
    jane that looks like an awful lot of activity to me! and that’s how it happens … it creeps up on you by stealth! i can’t abide tracy beaker. did i tell you my son said recently that he wished he lived in a children’s home – so he could have a tv in his room! has clare sudbery been in touch with you? x
    beck do you not know them because you live in canada … or because you eschew (what a lovely word!) such frippery? good work for limiting the after school mania. keep resisting!
    spymum welcome! you have to have the wet wipes, of course, to get rid of the evidence! (but you know that already, of course, because you’re just as bad as me … i hope?

  9. I’m driving a ten year old car right now and I saw a commercial the other night where a bunch of guys were drinking bottled water. One guy pulled some water out of what looked like a glove compartment, but it was glowing and the water looked cold. I thought I was hallucinating.

  10. wordgirl no – not hallucinating – the planet may be frizzling up, but at least their personal supply of bottled water stays cool and refreshing!
    adm those aren’t sarnies – they’re cars! you must be hungry …
    spymum you sound like my kinda woman! (but i can’t get onto you blog – am i blocked?! have you heard those rumours? they’re not true, y’know, absolutely not!!!!!)

  11. MMs It’s having four that ratchets up the activity levels in our house. I’m holding out for no 1 and 2’s swimming improving so they can STOP… If I only had no 1 she’d have four activities three of which take place the same night and nothing on Saturdays, and my life would be easy. You’re right though, it does creep up on you. I was always going to do NOTHING… and somehow here I am. The evening I enjoy most is tennis, as I take the kids tea along to save time and cook it in the microwave at the club. I usually take a flask for me (non alcoholic sadly as I’m driving, though it has been known for mums to order pizza and bring their own wine!). As I love playing tennis and the kids are really enjoying it, it doesn’t feel like hardship. And my cunning plan is to get them so involved in the club they won’t stray off the path in their teen years.

    I’ve been in touch with clare by the way – thanks!

  12. So *that’s* why they have those glove boxes! I’m pretty slow. I just kept wondering why on earth they’d make it easier to keep your alcohol cold while driving….

  13. I am a big fan of letting them try a few things, then picking one or two. I think time to play and read and develop your own hobbies and the ability to entertain YOURSELF is so important!

  14. jh i expect (like loo paper consumption) it increases exponentially with the number of kids involved. just as well i stuck at 2! the tennis club thing sound suspiciously like fun, though. is that allowed?
    karrie you can always rely on me for nutritional advice. wanna hear my theory about creme eggs?
    lm but how does one stop a dry martini from spilling (on the way to a playdate, naturally)?
    kittenpie couldn’t agree more. i spent hours – maybe weeks watching clouds go by. which may account for a lot … *eyelid starts twitching*

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