When I was a kid I loved to go shopping for school supplies. I loved the pencils with perfect pink erasers, the sharp tips of never-been-used crayons and the clean white pages of spiral notebooks with funny covers (my favorite one ever had Miss Piggy dressed as Cleopatra and a brief history of Egypt inside the cover).
You know what I HATE now?
Shopping for school supplies. It makes me cringe almost as much as the memory of how I also used to like fried bean burritos dipped in ketchup. Blech.
But it has to be done. And– having learned from past experience that Target and Staples woefully underestimate just how many supplies people with children have to buy–it had to be done yesterday. Even that was cutting it a bit short since school starts in 8 days (yes I’m counting down).
So, picture me now wandering the two “school supplies” designated aisles in Target– where said supplies are strewn about the floor and those actually in bins or on shelves are in the wrong places– clutching the two page list of things kids can’t learn without, muttering “what/where in the hell is this thing?” to myself while Girl 1 keeps asking for things not on the list–like the box of 64 crayons– and Girl 3 plays Do Whatever Possible To Get Hit By A Cart.
So then I say things like, “If you think you need 64 crayons then you can piece together the 6400 crayon remnants in the bottom of the kitchen drawer and take those to school!” All the while feeling guilty because one year my mom did buy me that box of crayons. With the sharpner. And man, was that cool.
I may have also said this, “If you stand in front of this moving cart one more time Girl 3, I will MOW you down!”
Other things said to no one in particular while digging through the THOUSANDS of notebooks–none of which had Miss Piggy covers– to find the packages of looseleaf, wide-ruled, two hole punch paper, only to discover it had three holes, “ARE YOU KIDDING ME? WHO MAKES THESE PAPER TO HOLE RATIOS UP??”
And when did loose leaf paper become all the rage? It’s as impossible to find as large pink erasers, which can never be bought in packages of two–like you need. No, they only come in singles with about 20 of those pencil top erasers. Which are not on The List. Plus, I don’t need 100 pencil top erasers! I have thousands already from years past when I had to buy that stupid combined package which Target refuses to believe no one actually wants.
I have had one bottle of glue at my house for three years. So how will my child use an entire two bottles in nine months when they don’t even do art anymore? I’ll tell you how. Because they turn all the supplies into the teacher who divies them out when needed. I’m fine providing supplies for kids whose parents can’t afford to (I’m a registered Democrat, so I have to be), but I don’t want to supply glue to that one weird kid who spreads it all over his hand, lets it dry, and then peels it off like dead skin. His parents should have to bring in four bottles of glue.
You know what else can’t be found? Protractors. I thought I had found one, but it turned out to be a compass. And I thought to myself, If I have been misremembering what a protactor is for a quarter century now, is it really that important for my fifth grader to learn how to protact? I mean, I have never had to stand in a soup line, beg for money on the streets, or overdosed on drugs, despite my protactor deficiencies. And I’m guessing if I ever do any of those things, I won’t be thinking If only I had kept up my protractor skills.
Also, I am not buying any Kleenex or Clorox wipes this year because 1) I am not afraid of germs and
2) I have seen the stockpiles teachers have of these things. They are prepared to battle the Flu Apocalypse when it comes.
So that is my rant about school supplies. I just hope Girl 2 doesn’t find out I ripped into her brand new, perfectly pointy, package of colored pencils while still in the store because I had nothing else to use to cross off the things on the list buried in my cart under all the glue.
Desperate times call for desperate measures.