Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Alert, Alert

The school supply lists are out! Guard your loins, sanity, and purses as the mayhem is about to begin. I dread this time of year; the impending doom hangs over me like a dark cloud. Ironically, it starts just at the time when I am sick and tired of spending money to keep my kids occupied in the overextended 12 weeks' vacation they have. It is like getting to the end of the tunnel but making you jump through hoops to get there.

The nit-picking specific lists are a bottomless pit, a huge big black hole to plunge into and add to that the expectations of the kids to get the right color notebook or pencils that will make them the queen or king of the supply chain just makes it an insurmountable feat.

My favorite task is the one of markers. Small, large, thin, thick, base colors, neon colors, water-soluble, dry erase, and permanent. Do they really need all of the above? What do they do, eat them? For heaven's sake, when I was a kid you went to school with a simple pencil case. You made sure you had a pen and pencil to write with, a few colored pencils for making your diagrams a bit more interesting, and a rubber (yes I am English so I say rubber) to erase any mistakes quickly before you got detention for not listening.

Now let's not forget paper. Essential, granted, but have you ever seen how angry people get when all that is left is the wide-ruled selection. Oh, the shame of it – sending your kid to school with paper that has fewer lines on it. Seriously, I know it is a sign of getting older, progression to the big kids club, but honestly, does it matter? Does it make their writing any more legible or intelligent? It never ceases to amaze me why stores stock up, religiously it seems, on more of the 'baby paper' than the teen paper. Don't they know younger kids only write a few lines? A conspiracy I think. I am convinced they have got hidden cameras in the aisles recording ordinarily nice women playing tug of war with the last pack of college ruled whilst the kids all stand around chanting fight, fight, fight. Who knows we may all have been on Candid Camera at some point.

As for the class communal items - well why don't we all just start a group couponing club. Tissues, Clorox wipes (oh no wait, we can't have those anymore, they are too dangerous), more paper, more pencils, glue sticks (better ensure they are the right color!), baby wipes, hand sanitizer, paper towels. Geez, the only thing they don't ask for is toilet paper and thank goodness they don't. Can you imagine if one child bought Charmin with Aloe Vera, whilst another had to stand in the corner with their Wal-Mart 2 ply special? Oh, it brings tears to my eyes to even think about it.

Maybe it is an initiation test. Maybe it is the schools way of getting pay back, you know, for the year ahead they are going to endure with our little darlings. Whatever it is, I can tell you that as a parent, it is a blooming nightmare and unfortunately, I can't avoid it. If I don't partake I will be getting the worst parent award at the end of year award ceremony. So, here I go, into the abyss, pray for me, and if you are that mother who steals the last paper pack from under my nose, beware!

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