Yesterday was the day I’ve been dreading since April 25th. Why April 25th? That was the official deadline to sign up for the pre-packaged school supplies provided by the PTO. All I had to do was write a check and we could show up for Meet the Teacher and receive a handy, shrink-wrapped package full of all our necessary school supplies.
But I didn’t do that.
Mainly because I was totally scarred by a heaping dose of mother guilt when Caroline was in first grade and her teacher handed her a generic red notebook from her pre-packaged supplies and Caroline said, “No way would my mom buy me a plain red notebook.” And she’s right. Because I appreciate that sometimes a girl needs a notebook featuring a baby seal or a kitten snuggled up with a ball of yarn.
However, her second grade teacher wasn’t a fan of notebooks with horses sidled up next to ponies and all that frivolous baby seal nonsense and so we were forced to live through a year filled with generic red, green, and blue folders. Nary a dolphin or a puppy or a chimpanzee wearing a jaunty hat to be found.
This year is different. I haven’t talked about it because it falls under the category of things too good to be true, but Caroline’s beloved first grade teacher is moving to third grade and we were allowed the option to automatically be in her class this year. And her first grade teacher is a firm believer in finding the fun in school, as evidenced by the time she let her students push her down a ramp in her rolling desk chair. Needless to say, she’ll probably be okay with a loose variation of the standard school supplies.
I printed out the required list of supplies and we headed to Target. Actually, we stopped by Academy first to look for tennis shoes and walked away empty handed, primarily because some genius at Skechers thought it was a good idea to invent tennis shoes with wedge heels and some sort of ballerina spinning device on the sole. What is wrong with just a simple shoe that allows a person to walk or run or engage in athletic activities like God and Nike intended?
After our tennis shoe fail I was disheartened but pressed on to win the prize for which God had called me, which in this case was school supplies. We wandered the aisles in search of purple glue sticks and 5 inch scissors and wide-ruled notebooks in green, red, and blue. And along the way, one of us found Pipsqueak markers and three ring binders with a unicorn flying through a peace sign and all manner of superfluous things that weren’t on the official list.
By the time we actually checked out I was worn down. I’d agreed to a new blue thermos and some sort of monkey ice pack. We also ended up with a pencil sharpener shaped like a flower and after that I think I blacked out. The good news is I rallied enough to turn down the request for a multi-colored neon cheetah-print backpack that I declared perfect for someone who’s color blind and can’t see patterns.
The problem was all other backpacks paled in comparison. She’d had her heart set on a glittery backpack from Gap, but it was way too small to carry all her things so our search for just the right bag continued. At one point she tried to convince me to buy her a sequined duffle bag that we found at a local gift shop. By that time I’d lost my sense of humor about the entire thing and probably scared everyone in the store when I announced, “YOU CANNOT CARRY SPARKLY LUGGAGE TO SCHOOL EVERYDAY.”
Ultimately we resorted to online shopping and agreed upon a very bright, yet tasteful, messenger bag with matching lunch box. And so, between that and all her purple glue sticks, she’s officially ready to start third grade.
Except she still doesn’t have new tennis shoes.
But I can’t think about that right now. So instead I’ll focus on happier things, like chimpanzees who wear jaunty hats.