Ruffled Feathers and Spilled Milk

Farming with ducks and dairy goats, chickens and children.

Living with Lawyers

Posted on | August 22, 2010 | 3 Comments

It’s tough being a Food Quality Inspector and Nutrition Enforcement Agent on a farm.  I honestly cannot imagine how the general public has the time or energy to engage in the controversy over raw milk and the safety of animal manure compost in organic farming.  After all, around here just getting through lunch, after school snack, and dinner can spark a class action lawsuit.

Oh, there are clear legal guidelines and bylaws governing the distribution  and consumption of edibles on a farm.  For example, Section 42B.3 of Mom’s Statutes Regarding Underage Liquid refreshment and Edibles (hereafter referred to as MOMSRULE) specifically states that “All items packed in a lunchee’s lunchbox must be consumed before the request and procurement of after school nourishment. (1)  Lunchee may be given the opportunity to finish the edibles in the lunch box upon arrival at the homestead; (2) however, said opportunity shall not extend beyond 30 minutes after disembarking from school bus or 10 minutes of complaint regarding the quality, quantity, texture, or temperature of lunch box contents, whichever comes first.”

The legislation seems simple enough to me.  Yet every afternoon, I am met with a hug, a kiss, and a flurry of petitions from my lunchees including:

Petition 902.  Petitioner requests exemption from Section 42B.3 due to mitigating circumstances as follows: petitioner attempted to eat banana in lunchbox in accordance with MOMSRULE but discovered a black spot approximately 4 inches from top of banana which could be neither circumvented nor swallowed without invoking gag reflex.  Therefore, petitioner asks for mercy from the court and permission for after school pretzel consumption.

Petition 511.  Petitioner challenges the validity and safety of Section 42B.3(2) and provides evidence of  half eaten container of yogurt which has been without the benefit of refrigeration for more than 4 hours.  Should the court proceed with enforcement of MOMSRULE, petitioner will be forced to notify appropriate child protection authorities.

Petition 67.  Petitioner invokes the protection of Telling About the Transgressions Taken with Lunch Edibles (TATTLE) and reports that a sibling lunchee was seen discarding carrots into school waste receptacle.  Upon sighting, aforementioned lunchee offered 2 Silly Bandz to petitioner in exchange for silence.  Petitioner seeks a review of lunchee’s violation in addition to possession of offered of Silly Bandz.

Petition 83.

Petition 83

Interpretation of this petition provided by the court: 

Little and the Court Judiciary (MOM) eating huge cookies together after school.  Don’t we look happy?  Notice the hand holding.  What if we didn’t worry about whether any lunchees finished the contents of their lunchboxes and just gorged ourselves on vanilla wafers? Respectfully submitted for your consideration by lunchee Little.  P.S.  I love you.  P.P.S.  You look so pretty.

That’s what it’s like around here.  Every day.  Continual challenges to my nutritional authority and legal standing.  It’s enough to make me cower behind the locked door of the downstairs bathroom, consoling myself with a fun size Snickers and a clandestine Diet Coke.  But  that only leads to more dissent and more little slips of paper pushed under the bathroom door:

Petition 821.  Under the guidelines of  the Freedom of Information Act Petitioner requests documentation of  (1) all food and beverage consumed by the maternal parent behind closed doors  (2) accurate description of any food product consumed by the maternal parent that is packaged within a crinkly wrapper and (3) scientific evidence of the fact that Diet Coke cannot be ingested by minors as the caffeine and synthetic sugars in it stunts their growth.

Petition 96.  Petitioner wishes to file a complaint of discriminatory practices and hostile living environment based upon inappropriate household food allocation.  Therefore, petitioner respectfully requests access to envelopes, stamps, and Grandma’s address.

Sigh.  All of this just to get out of eating the carrots in their lunch box.  I’ll tell ‘ya it’s enough to make me write a note to the AIG teacher demanding to know why she insists on teaching kids the Socratic method.  Do we really want children engaged in inquiry and debate?  Really?  Because at 4pm when I’m hiding in the bathroom just hoping they will stop whining and finish the banana chips I packed for a “treat” in their lunch box before they find out they’re having homemade gazpacho and honey wheat bread for dinner, it seems like a bad idea.  A very bad idea.  Doesn’t anyone teach that children should be seen and not heard anymore?

Luckily, I have 4 hours of class that I have to attend 2 nights a week.  Oh, it’s exhausting to sit through lecture and skills lab when you’ve already put in a full day of house work and barn chores.  Yes, it’s draining to get home at 10pm and know you have 125 pages to outline and still another load of laundry to start before bed.  But, boy, is it liberating to pass the gavel to Judge Other Half right before dinner.  Remember Judge, no second helpings of mashed potatoes until their serving of minty peas has been eaten.  Muwahahaha!

I understand Mrs. Obama is determined to turn America’s eating habits around.  Healthy diets including organic fruits and vegetables, natural food snacks, and less sugar and fat for children across the nation.  I wish her good luck and Godspeed.  I also think it’s a good thing she’s got a law degree from Harvard.  She’s gonna need it.

As for me, I’m thinking of changing my title.  Does Food Czar sound more authoritative to you? A little less open to challenge?  Perhaps, in addition to the new title, the kids will need a history lesson on how Czars deal with dissent and petitons……….


3 Responses to “Living with Lawyers”

  1. Sandybee
    August 22nd, 2010 @ 7:03 pm

    This is a great post! Thanks for the laughs. Here is a link to a Mom who does interesting things to get her kids to eat those pesky carrots. This is only if you have nothing else to do with your free time ;-).

    I can even see you designing a Petition 83 bento……

  2. va_grown
    August 24th, 2010 @ 7:12 am

    So funny–and I think it’s a crime to call fruit snacks “fruit.” They are not. I’m not even sure they included fruit flavoring–whatever that actually is. We’ve had that debate a bazillion times!

  3. Lisa D.
    August 24th, 2010 @ 6:41 pm

    Wow! My kids think THEY have it rough! But really, banana chips are not a “treat” unless you are writing “What to Eat When You’re Expecting.” I am all for handing off to Judge Other Half…

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