Into the lunchbox must go a minimum of three fruit servings, a mini mountain of vegetable sticks, low-salt, fat-free, flavour-free rice crackers, one healthy wholemeal sandwich containing kale and carrot, a bottle of water, some sugar-free yogurt and for a treat (treat?) a tiny packet of wholegrain, brown rice mini bites (whatever they are.)
Into the lunchbox must go a minimum of three fruit servings, a mini mountain of vegetable sticks, low-salt, fat-free, flavour-free rice crackers, one healthy wholemeal sandwich containing kale and carrot, a bottle of water, some sugar-free yogurt and for a treat (treat?) a tiny packet of wholegrain, brown rice mini bites (whatever they are.) Rob Williams

MY SAY: I’m proof that time travel is possible

I'VE been taken back in time. To a place I frequented regularly 30 years ago.

I am proof time travel is possible.

You'll enjoy it too if you become a grandparent and are called upon for an entire week to take up all the duties you once performed for your own children.

Nothing much has changed in 30 years.

Trying to coral the children in the morning to get them dressed, the adamant refusal to get shoes on, the tears when it comes to brushing tangled hair, the trials of picking up a toothbrush, the scurry to find homework, finding the homework to discover it hasn't actually been done. 

And let us not even talk about bath time in the evening.

Trying to get them into the bath with empty threats that don't work and then flamboyant promises that will have to be kept is a formidable task.

Once finally in the bath, getting them out entails going through the whole threat/promise scenario all over again.

It is all exactly as it was three decades ago.

There were tears then. There are tears now.

On both occasion the tears have mostly been mine.

I'm not complaining (hello? It certainly sounds so), I love my grandchildren with all my heart and I have enjoyed their company enormously.

It's just that 30 years on I'm not as nimble as I used to be.

Chasing the little darlings around the house in the morning is far more taxing than I remember.

Bending down to get shoes on, laces done up … pretty hard now the flexibility has been replaced with extra inches around the tummy. 

There is one big change to this child rearing lark though.

Packing the school lunchbox.

No more can I put in a mini Crunchy Bar for a treat. 

Juice boxes are forbidden as well. And don't even think about cookies, soft drinks, potato chips or Cheezels. All strictly outlawed. And not just by the grandchildren's mother, she is strict enough, but it's the school management who make the formidable rules. 

Into the lunchbox must go a minimum of three fruit servings, a mini mountain of vegetable sticks, low-salt, fat-free, flavour-free rice crackers, one healthy wholemeal sandwich containing kale and carrot, a bottle of water, some sugar-free yogurt and for a treat (treat?) a tiny packet of wholegrain, brown rice mini bites (whatever they are.)

You can't get away with cheating either.

There is no sneaking a Freddo Frog into the lunchbox, hiding it beneath the bean sprout and quinoa biscuits. Oh no! 

The teachers' helpers monitor the fridge in the classroom, a fridge with a great big ominous notice on it, shouting "healthy snacks only".

It's all intimidating. But a learning curve as well and once over the initial shock of discovering my grandchildren have never in their short lives tasted lemonade, I'm embracing this all-encompassing, sugar-free, fat-free method of child raising.  

How wise most of today's young mothers are.

It all highlights the many mistakes we made in the olden days of Choc Mint Slices and fake orange juice.

But funnily enough my adult children are all bonny beautiful things, with gleaming white teeth, good skin and … if I may say so myself … generally bursting with good health. 

ann.rickard@scnews.com.au


Meghan, Harry ‘struggling to cope’ in LA

Meghan, Harry ‘struggling to cope’ in LA

Dream of a blissful new life has quickly turned into a nightmare

Fresh confusion over virus 'detention'

Fresh confusion over virus 'detention'

Thousands of Melbourne public housing residents have been provided with "detention...

Man in iconic 9/11 photo dies from virus

Man in iconic 9/11 photo dies from virus

This man miraculously survived the 9/11 terror attacks