The Tiffin Tin

What\’s in your lunchbox?

Lunchbox Notes

with 2 comments

Putting a note in a loved one’s lunch box is a wonderful thing to do. And although I’ve written somewhat snarkily about how you really don’t need to shell out your hard earned cash to have someone ghost write lunchbox notes for you, there are a lot of neat things you can do beyond scrawling “You’re the best” on a post-it. (Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with the post-it love note. Not in the least.) My point is that you could also put other things in the lunches of loved ones, and you don’t have to pay anybody to do it for you.

This page collects some of these ideas, as they occur to me. And I would love to hear your own inspirations.

September 21, 2006. This was very popular with the under-eights:

September 19, 2006. Here’s a boy-tested joke:

Knock Knock.

Who’s there?


Candy who?

Candy cow jump over de moon?

(This got a big laugh. Try it on your seven year old.)

September 18, 2006.

The Tiffin Twins are great collectors of cards. I can never figure out why one has more value than another. Good thing Tiniest Tiffin can’t either. One of his brother put a “rampant growth” card in his lunchbox. Although I didn’t quite see its appeal, he did. And although it’s value is apparently quite low, as a symbol of brotherly esteem, it’s quite high.
September 15, 2006. What is it about the combination of a lunchbox and a small toy that’s so magical? Children love non-food items in their lunches, the way they like sprinkles on their yogurt. There’s no harm in a little flash of fun — and much good if it means your child is going to open their lunch with anticipation. Today, I dug around in the bag of trinkets I collect (the goodie bag leavings, the tiny toys they seem to gather like the lint trap gathers up.. well, lint.) And I found the green guy. My husband thought he looked a little bit too much like mold personified, but I think my children know the difference between a green rubber finger puppet and mold. (Actually, I don’t think they’re all that familiar with mold, having never been assigned the job of clearing out a refrigerator.) Anyway, a lunchbox site shouldn’t be spending too much time discussing mold. So, on to the toy. It’s modelled by one of the Tiffin Twins, who thought this was the perfect thing to put in his little brother’s lunchbox:

September 14, 2006. Yesterday’s outsourced note, from one of the Tiffin Twins to Tiffin Tiniest was a bit of a sad story. Two boys in his class grabbed his note before he could read it and kept it from him until lunch was almost over. I was so unhappy for him. Tomorrow, I’m going to the cafeteria at lunch time and checking out who supervises things. I want him to take care of himself and things like this. But it wouldn’t hurt to have a word with supervisors to ask them to look out for this sort of behavior. Anyway, we’re not a family to give up when faced with a bit of bullying. Another Tiffin Twin wrote a note, and this time he showed it to Tiffin Tiniest. It said: Dear [Tiffin Tiniest]

Love, [Tiffin Twin] Tiffin Twin wanted to write a note to the two mean boys telling them he was going to come and show them some manners, but it was enough for Tiniest Tiffin to know his brothers love him and think he rocks. (Tiniest Tiffin also got to read the whole thing before he left for school, so there’s no question in his mind about what it says.)

September 8, 2006. Outsourcing worked so well yesterday, I figured it would be a good thing to do today too. Turns out, one of the Tiffin Twins wanted to be awakened at 6:30 a.m. so he could do his homework. (Describe, to an alien, how to make a salad.) We overslept so that didn’t happen.

September 7, 2006.

I outsourced the lunchbox note today to Tiffin Tiniest. He hasn’t been getting along with one of his brothers lately. I asked him to write something that began, I like my brother because….

His first response was, I like my brother because he taught me all the bad words. I asked him to try again. This is what he came up with. (Yesterday, his brother actually got up and made him a bagel for a snack, after one request on my part and he did it with good humor.)

I think you can get the idea. He added that dollar of his own volition. It was his way of making it count.

September 1, 2006Okay, the hastily scribbled handwritten note with a really good sticker of something interesting will work any old day. This morning, we had to be to school twenty five minutes after waking up. This is today’s note.

One thing that you might find interesting: Tiniest Tiffin, in whose lunchbox this went, goes to a Spanish bilingual school. He can read in Spanish. He believes he cannot read in English. We’re working on that. I write him notes I figure he can read on his own. Today, he said he didn’t read the note because he didn’t think he could. When he came home, I asked him to read it to me. He did. Without a problem. Maybe next week, he’ll try to read it without me there and he’ll discover he doesn’t need a lucky charm like his mom to read on his own. Reading, I’m discovering, is very much a matter of confidence and persistence, like riding a bike or swimming, two things he also thought he wouldn’t be able to do. One nice thing about raising a third child is that you know, with utter confidence, he’ll be able to do all the things he thinks he won’t.

A knock-knock joke. You can’t go wrong with a joke. There are a million of them. Surely, you can find one that cracks you up too. Write it on a piece of paper, fold it up, tuck it between the sandwich and the apple. You will be remembered forever for this one small thing.

How about an inspirational quote? The lunchbox note should not be used as a didactic tool (would you like to get a note in your lunch that says, “remember to sit up straight while you’re at your computer?” I think not), but there’s nothing wrong with a little juice next to the, um, juice. Here’s a site filled with the sort of things people who’ve achieved big things say about the small ways they go about doing that. It’s called Inspiration Peak. That seems fitting. In the words of the immortal Cesar Chavez, “Si, se Puede!” (“Yes, we are able!”)

This is addictive: Here’s one I love: One hundred percent of the shots you don’t take don’t go in. (Wayne Gretzky. You know, the Canadian ice hockey player.)

It’s August 25 — the Tiffin Tin’s gearing up for school with a few new ideas about lunchbox notes.

Silly Poems. One of the original silly poets: Edward Lear (he of the Owl and the Pussycat.) I can’t believe I’ve neglected fine, funny, poetry. Every child should be familiar with nonsense poetry. Here is a site dedicated to Mr. Lear’s. The drawings on this particular site are terrific — I’d think that, printed out, along with a short, silly verse, they’d make a fabulous lunchbox note.

A Picture’s Sometimes Better Than A Lot of Words. I can’t draw to save my life, which is why I am so grateful to Ed Emberley for showing how, in a few strokes, even the most drawphobic among us can make a decent approximation of pretty much anything in the universe. Ed Emberley’s website, though not frequently updated, is still full of little art ideas that would be fun to put in a lunch box. (There are some neat looking paper airplanes that might be fun, although possibly a bit disruptive.) And check out his books too.


Written by bloglily

August 16, 2006 at 11:29 pm

2 Responses

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  1. […] Lunchbox Notes […]

    You Rock! « The Tiffin Tin

    September 14, 2006 at 11:35 am

  2. […] Lunchbox Notes […]

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