Aug 6, 2015

The 5 Stages of Back to School Shopping

Yesterday I took Little Slick school supply shopping. Y'all, he's going to kindergarten. He's going to kindergarten. 

I have 18 more days with my little boy before he becomes a big boy, not that I've been keeping count or anything. 

As a teacher myself, I find great pleasure in shopping for school supplies. When those supplies show up in stores in July I have a rush of different emotions. The "Oh CRAP! It's coming, summer is ending" dread and then the, "YASSSSS! School supplies complete my soul!" kind of emotions. This year I experienced for the first time the trials of shopping for your own child. I've shopped for my "kids" before, meaning my students, but this was different. 

Here are the 5 stages of school supply shopping: 

1. Where TF are the pencil boxes? Oh, there they are! Wait, they only have pink. So, then you try to convince your child that he wants pink. "Hey buddy! Look there are pink ones, pink is mama's favorite color!" Then you'll see the big child come out via an eyeroll. "Mama, I do NOT want a pink box."Of course, the other boxes are located across the store at the other school supply section. Which brings me to #2. 

2. You won't be able to find everything in the "Back to School" special section. Here's the thing stores, YOU HAVE THE LISTS! You even provide print outs of the lists for unprepared parents to use, WHY do you not use these lists to make sure all the needed supplies are in one spot? Anger will bubble inside you about this, dear shopper. 

3. They will entice your child with the brand-spankin-new backpacks and lunchboxes in plain sight. You will then try to convince your child that his perfectly fine backpack and lunchbox are the best thing since sliced bread. When that doesn't work, you bribe them with post-it notes. 

4. Glue sticks! There they are! We need two. Where's the two pack? Oh, I can only buy a ten pack, of course! Because we totally need 8 extra glue sticks around the house. They'll dry up or melt away before you can use them, by the way. 

5. Yes! We're done, let's get outta here! You go to the front, get in line (of course the slowest line on the face of the planet), and then you realize you forgot the quart sized zip up baggies. Of course you found and have the sandwich sized ones and you even have extras of those at home. But who keeps the quart sized ones at home? I don't. So now the great internal debate. Ditch your position in line to go trek back across the store to get the baggies, contemplate sending your 5 year old on his very first rogue mission but you quickly realize you don't want to damage his spirit as he's sure to fail or get "lost" in the toy section, or leave and come back another time. For baggies. Whatever it is you choose, it will be the wrong choice. 

Now, for a list of suggestions:

1. Buy extra tissues to give to the teacher. Those things are like gold in schools. 

2. Donate those extra glue sticks, you don't need them. 

3. Don't buy the pre-made packages of school supplies. They're crap and then your child will be doomed to have the EXACT same supplies as half the kids in their class. Sure, you think, "Oh, I'll put my kids name on it all!" Guess what? That doesn't matter, I once found out two kids had mixed up their spirals months prior and August - October was in the right spiral and then November - February they had done all their notes in the other person's spiral. Their names were written on the front and inside and NEITHER CHILD NOTICED. And I teach middle school. 

4. Don't worry on our first back to school shopping trip about crying for your baby that's growing up, you'll be too busy scouring the shelves to feel sorry for yourself. But you might cry on the way home. Shopping at Target where there's an in-house Starbucks helps. Because, you know, caffeine = happiness. 

5. It's okay if you cave and buy your kid a new backpack or lunchbox. Or both. Their pride on the first day of school will be worth it. 

Now, go drink your Starbucks and lie about "something being in your eye" as you realize your baby is another year older. 

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