That is until I sent my oldest son to first grade. Every once in awhile, I would send him to school with money for the oh so exciting purpose of buying lunch. Apparently he impressed the lunch ladies with his eagerness and manners. Right before his birthday that year, I received a phone call at home from one of the lunch ladies who said something along the lines of, "Hi, I'm Mrs. So and So, I'm a cafeteria worker at your son's school. I hope you don't think this is strange and I wanted to clear it with you. Can I give your son a birthday present? I love talking with him and I found a gift I think he'll love." That's how we ended up with a Sea Monkey tank on our kitchen windowsill for two years.
That same son of mine has moved on to fifth grade. At his current school, there are days when he is the only customer for soup. I send him in with a bagged lunch most days and a dollar for soup. He comes home raving about the Italian Wedding Soup, the minestrone, the navy bean, and so on. Sure, lots of kids purchase chicken noodle and tomato, but on other days, he's the only soup eater. The lunch ladies see him in the hallways and tell him what the soup of the day will be. They have also hand delivered cups of soup to his lunch table and given him free refills. He loves those ladies. So of course I'm going to have to get him Jarrett Kroscoczka's new graphic novel Lunch Lady and the Cyborg Substitute. It's the first in a planned series aimed at seven to ten year olds. I don't know much more about it yet, but it certainly looks fun!