When I was a child my mother gave me one of the few meals she knew how to cook in my lunch box: black beans and rice. The thing is, black beans look a lot like rabbit poop and apparently there were enough people in my 4th grade class with rabbits as pets who recognized the similarity. I was made fun of all the way through middle school. I was embarrassed to eat near anyone. I hid my lunch if anyone was remotely nearby.
My youngest daughter told me one day that if she got up from her spot at lunch to throw something away, her lunch would be gone when she returned. I thought she was joking. My oldest, P said “it’s a joke, they give it back” but it turns out that no. Kids actually eat her lunch out of her lunch box if she looks away. P insisted it was a joke. Her friends hide her lunch if she walks away but they give it back, although they ask for a piece or a part of it when they hand it back. I was appalled! P said “Oh mom, it’s not a big deal. Didn’t they do the same thing to you?”
Needless to say “uhhh- NO”. It’s a little weird but I feel vindicated for all those years of hiding my awful lunch. My girls are having the complete opposite experience. Although appalled kids steal food I am also happy…and proud and find it healing to my childhood “trauma”. And so I pack a little extra everyday.