Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Confessional Tuesday on Wednesday

School is about to begin again, which means new schools for each of my kids, new teachers, new friends, and new school supplies. 

Each fall my kids get a list of ten thousand items that they need to have for the school year, and each summer I put nine thousand nine hundred and ninety five of those items back into my desk drawers to be used again next year. 

Seriously.  My kids stretch the same pack of tissues throughout the year.  And hand sanitizer?  Really?  Each classroom has an industrial sized vat of the stuff inside each doorway; the piddly one I send the morning of the first day of school is stashed in the back of their desks that afternoon.  They are gifted pencils all year long, use dry erase markers only sporadically, have no need for red pens, and use the same box of crayons for nine months.  Yet I buy four boxes of crayons for each of them every year, because Walmart sells them for a quarter, and I love buying stuff that only costs a quarter.

So this year, when my son found out that he had to get dividers for a three-ring binder, I hauled out our stash of dividers that we’ve had since the beginning of the glory days, which is what I have come to regard the era of having school-aged kids, and asked him if he would mind using any of them instead of buying new ones. 

He examined the pile of plastic tabbed sheets from a Trapper Keeper he used in the first grade marked with drawings of treble clefs which he obviously had aimed to master that year, a few lone pockets culled from a couple of three-ring notebooks which were lost to the recycling bin, and a set of five sticker-adorned dividers in fair condition that my daughter used last year. 

He perused our collection and hesitated before choosing his sister’s hand-me-downs festooned with stickers from God knows where.  Probably our sticker cabinet. 

I felt his hesitation acutely, for, at the start of a school year, what does a kid desire more than a brand-new set of plastic dividers to use for almost no purpose?  

I felt compelled to jump in before he could change his mind and congratulated him on his wise choice.  After all, he was helping the environment by recycling our perfectly fine dividers, and he showed real maturity and restraint by not wanting new ones when he knew they weren’t necessary. 

Yeah, right.  I'm just cheap. 

This crap is expensive, people, and they sure aren’t selling plastic dividers for a quarter these days.

Tissues and glue sticks and pencils, oh my.


  1. I am a school supplies junkie. I, too, have stashes of past years' purchases which should, in theory, be perfectly acceptable for use now. However. My problem is that the old stuff never quite feels right in the new school year or doesn't quite serve the purpose...and so I end up with more school supplies. Also can't help but love the smell of the back to school aisles at Staples or Office Depot...or the supermarket...or the drugstore...or Target. And I think I may have passed on the vice to my daughter...she's right there with me buying yet another pack or stickers. Fun post. Happy back to school!

    1. Thank you!!

      I should mention that as we were in the school supplies section the very next day to get a purple pen (!!!), I asked him fifteen too many times if he was sure he didn't want a new pack of dividers: "Are you sure the old ones are okay? Are you sure? 'Cause we can buy some more if you're embarrassed." He finally said "Mom, what is your problem? Stop asking me about it!" I guess I might have a teensy prob with wanting all new stuff too, despite my thriftiness. He didn't get them, by the way.