Friday, February 26, 2010

Just Desserts?

I have a little situation. Two weeks ago my younger son (2nd grade) came home and told me that I didn't put a dessert in his lunch. I assured him that I had--that's the best part of a lunch, after all. So, he said he guessed then that somebody had taken it. I wrote it off, figuring it was a fluke--maybe it had gotten lost or thrown away, but we decided that we'd put the dessert in the front pocket of his lunchbox instead of the main compartment, just in case. Then Monday this week he asked me why I was giving him such small lunches. Turns out he was missing both his dessert and his croissant. So...I emailed his teacher to let her know the situation, and I started showing him exactly what I was putting into his lunch.

She was upset to hear that this was happening in her classroom and evidently lectured the students on how unacceptable it was to touch or take someone else's food. She also put my son's lunch behind her desk for the day. She emailed back that she didn't expect it would happen again and if it did, she had a brave student in her class. That night my son came home with half of his dessert missing--it could have happened before 'The Talk'. Then Wednesday and Thursday nothing was missing. But today again he came home and told me he didn't have a lunch dessert (it was two yellow-creme Oreos) and I hadn't packed him a snack (I had--I always put it in the side pocket of his backpack). Arghhh!

So I sent another email to his teacher this afternoon to let her know the latest. I'm not sure what she will do, but I would be content to give her another shot at solving the problem. My husband, on the other hand, wants to doctor up a couple of Oreos, smearing cayenne pepper into the yellow creme. He figures if they eat their pilfered treats at school, they'll be found out as soon as their mouth is on fire. And even if they don't, the hope is they'll think twice about taking someone else's food again.

I feel weird about this. On the one hand I want this kid to stop stealing, and ideally, he should be caught. On the other...this kinda feels over the top. And I think we'd be painted as bad guys if the eating happens in school.

I'd love some second opinions...

By the way,
Thanks for all your good wishes--and thank you for the award, Al! I will put together a post about it shortly!


David Cranmer said...

My first reaction is to agree with your husband. A lesson learned and one that won't be forgotten.

But then what if this kid is from a poor family and has nothing. It doesn't make stealing right but sheds a slightly different light on the problem.

Andrea Franco-Cook said...

As a mother of three I understand your frustration, but I think spiking the treats could lead to serious problems.

Perhaps you may want to consider possible physical reactions the child could have. What if he or she ate the cookie laced with cayenne pepper and had an allegic reaction? The child's throat could close up, he could choke etc. Then you and David would have that on your conscience. Also, lets not forget possible legal implications that accompany your actions.

I know my example seems extreme, but I'm a firm believer in Murphy's Law. "If anything can go wrong then it will go wrong."

I know your hands are tied here, but there has to be another way. Maybe alert the teacher once more or request your son's lunch be permanently stored under her desk. Just my curbside.

Sarakastic said...

Start packing him gluten free cookies the thief stands a better chance of getting caught when he tries to put them back in the backpack.

Stephanie J said...

I wonder why the kid is stealing as well... maybe not getting the food they need? I hope that's NOT the case but it reminds me of a situation we had at at my living quarters in college. Food was disappearing from our fridges and people were getting really upset but it turns out the girl behind the issue had a bingeing eating disorder (thankfully, she got help).

I wonder if you could explore something like locking his lunch box? It's a bit extreme and I know you'd have to find a way to make sure he doesn't lose the key (give it to the teacher?) but at least it would keep sneaking fingers out of his food.

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

I'm with your husband. A truly hungry kid will take the whole lunch. Not just the dessert.

Stacy said...

Sounds like a case for Nancy Drew!

Your poor son. It's terrible for a kid to be deprived of his sweets.