Tuesday, August 23, 2011
As SpongeBob states – “I’m Ready, I’m Ready…………..”
Brace yourselves parents it's coming… D-day is nearly here for most of us, and we are counting down. I have the celebratory wine chilling in the fridge, and the 20 million water bottles ready and waiting to go in the garage. School is nearly starting other than for one teeny, tiny obstacle to be overcome. We still have to run the back-to-school supply list gauntlet.
This mania has Black Friday beat. I am convinced that shops everywhere are bracing themselves for this week. Every year I swear to myself, God, or indeed anyone who will listen to me over the age of 18, that I will not lose control in Staples or Target. I pledge that I will NOT swear uncontrollably to the innocent shop assistant if they do not have anymore three holed pocket folders in bright pink. I will control my facial expressions, keep them 'poker faced ', when my son insists that the most expensive calculator will help him achieve higher marks in his math class. I will resist stamping my feet like a 5 year old because they only have clear glue and not white as my daughter cries uncontrollably since she is sure she will be making slime in science this year. No, I will not panic as I fight through the crowds to purchase endless reams of loose leaf paper only to find the lucky ones had scooped up the precious college ruled packs, leaving me to console my 14 year old that he will not look like a nerd with wide ruled. After all, what are a few millimeters between friends?
Pencils are another story - 2HB is the call of the schools. Great, they are everywhere, but this Shakespearean sonnet sound-alike is a minefield. Do you get the cheapest knowing that within one day your well supplied child will have mislaid them, and also knowing that every single one does not sharpen as its lead that has been shattered into a million pieces, probably by the aforementioned shop assistant, who had dropped the whole case whilst being chased by an over eager parent? Or, do you go for the technical, mechanical ones which are for the most part a huge NO-NO, and just let your child be the one who gets labeled as 'the one with the parent who cannot read the list properly'.
Pink erasers this year seem to be necessary. What happened to white or are we now trying to be politically correct and pink is the new in? However, there is a plus to this; at least the pencils seem to all come with pink erasers on top. Yes, I know they will become a daily part of my children's diet as they munch on them in class (the granola bars just don't taste the same) but who cares, I am focusing on my parent-of-the-year award for having the right supplies.
Then once we are done with the stationary side of things, we find ourselves moving onto the sanitary section. Oh how we love our germ-free schools. The fear factor is before us. It shouts "your child needs these items - Cleanliness is next to Godliness!". I agree for the most part, and I do pity our poor teachers as they battle with germ-infested children but, seriously, do I really need to supply tissues, hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes and much more? Can we not just wrap them up in a self-sanitizing body suit, give them a facial mask, surgeon's gloves, and have a heat (fever) detector installed on all the main entrances? After all, isn't that how airports do it? Better still, lets jab them as they enter with flu shots. You may laugh, but in England, when I was a child, we all lined up for the BCG vaccine (Tuberculosis), and like sitting ducks we sweated as the end of the line neared. A little of what we had to go through may be a good learning curve for our precious ones. If all parents clubbed together the money, we are to spend on these products, we could afford those sensors I am sure!
So what is a parent to do? Already as I write this, I can feel the stress rising. No, I am not going to let it get me! I am going to get my coffee, combine my lists (2 children, 2 lists), and face the day like a combat soldier, and for those of you who have already successfully planted your kids back in school, and completed the gauntlet, I tip my hat to you. Sit back and heave a sigh of relief. Pity my pain. Hindsight is a glorious state of mind.