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Let the Shopping Begin!

September 4, 2011 by  
Filed under Uncategorized

by Julie Davidson

It’s got a list that’s longer than most holiday shopping lists. It’ll run you half your paycheck. And there’s a good chance your blood pressure, mood, and disposition will be affected by it. Yep. Back to school shopping.

Please know this is not a rant about schools or teachers. My mother, father, husband, brother, and friends are teachers. This, rather, is an admission of how suddenly I realize how disorganized and possibly inept I am.

Now, maybe my memory is bad. Yes. It’s definitely bad. But I swear when we were kids, all we bought when we went back to school were a few pencils, a couple notebooks, and the kind of Elmer’s Glue that got jammed up after the first time you used it.

At first glance, my son’s school supply list didn’t look menacing. But when I started to read the fine print, it was kinda like a map. Have I mentioned my dislike for maps? I never know where I am and therefore have no idea how to get to my destination. Much like my yearly school supply shopping trip.

Here’s a little sample of the list:

1- pink eraser. They come in packages of 2.

2 -16 pack of Crayola Crayons. This is the third year in a row that I have paced up and down the crayon aisle for at least 15 minutes in search of the 16 pack of crayons before I say screw it; we’re buying the 24 pack. They can take out eight crayons. Yeah, it can be part of their math unit.

2 -2 plastic folders with no prongs. No prongs? Please, please let me buy the kind with prongs. That’s all I can find. Please.

1- Ultra fine tip black Sharpie. Do not confuse this with the fine tip Sharpie. Kids with Sharpies? Need I say more?

5- single-subject, wide-ruled, 70-page notebooks: 2 red, 1 blue, 1 green, and 1 yellow. You have to be kidding. I cannot find a yellow one. I did however buy a lovely purple one. Purple however, is not on the list.

We have been obsessed with finding that yellow notebook. Make that I have become obsessed. My husband went out and bought a three-subject yellow notebook. After I told him that it needed to be a single subject notebook, he tore out the dividers and proudly announced, “There. Problem solved.”

Oh no. Need I remind him of the “bag violation?” It happened three years ago when our oldest was entering K-5. We were both at school to see the boys off for their first day. It’s a flurry of activity. Weeping children. Weeping parents. Supplies everywhere. Kids scoping out their new digs for the year.

I was getting our son settled when my husband informed me that the bag we had for his extra clothes was too big. “The teacher said this bag is too big. It will never fit in his cubby.” I could hardly utter a word. How could this be? I searched really hard for that huge, oversized Ziploc bag. Sure, it was like a sandwich bag for King Kong, but all his stuff was in there. I felt like a failure. A bag violation? Poor kid. The wrong bag-on the first day no less. Bad Mommy.

I don’t know if we want things to be perfect for our kids or for us. Or both. I think we just want a smooth transition as a new year begins. And as silly as it seems for some of us that means getting that list right. So we bought a bigger than asked for notebook, a larger crayon box than was on the list, and that extra purple notebook. Sounds like a high class problem to me. I can afford the supplies, my kids go to a great school with good teachers, and they like school.

But if I see a single-subject, wide-ruled, 70-page yellow notebook, I’m grabbing it!

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