I've had this tab open for a few days to answer bearing's question about lunch, never quite starting because I know I can't finish. Maybe I'll break it up. A series! Quick and dirty posts, right?
The problem with lunch is breakfast. The problem with breakfast is getting everyone fed at a reasonable hour.
I think it is reasonably well known that I am neither skilled in the kitchen nor a morning person so having to get up and immediately face the kitchen is a double whammy. The solution to this problem is encouraging the children to feed themselves as much as possible. Getting the children to be reasonably independent in the kitchen for easy, grazing meals has been a process.
Back when I was working and my husband was home, he had a system that worked well for him. When he decided it was breakfast time, he would get up, make multiple different version of breakfast, whatever each child preferred, all including servings of fruit, set the table, pour the drinks, and serve breakfast. No one ate until everyone was sitting and the blessing said. Then you may begin eating. No one gets up until permission is asked and the child dismissed.
Lunch time worked the same way. He would get up, make multiple lunches, but this time in courses to make sure the children ate the proper things before the more desired things. Finish your sandwich, which might be pb&j on bread or turkey & cheese on a wrap or whatever else, then you may have some applesauce. Finish your applesauce and then you may have some pretzels. Again nobody ate until all the food was assembled and everyone sitting down and the blessing said. Then he was popping up and down, constantly, serving the different courses.
This was the expectation the children had of me when I arrived on the scene a little over a year ago. While this system works well for my husband, and is indeed what he still does when he does breakfast or lunch, it made my head explode. The synchronized nature of all the ingredients and all the plates and all the children in the perfect order and time, well, I could not deal.
Thus began the long and tedious process of moving away from competent service towards a free-for-all approach that walks the fine line between manageable chaos and just plain chaos.