Thursday, September 10, 2009

School Supplies

So, I had the luxury of taking only my two older ones shopping for school supplies last week. My daughter has gone into 4th grade and my older son has gone into 2nd grade. My twins have started kindergarten, but I had planned to pick out their backpacks myself and have them be thrilled and thankful afterward WITHOUT bringing them with me. Everything else we need for kindergarten is found at home already.

Lilly has been accepted into an academically advanced program. The only supplies list she had was from this program. We had to get 8 different color folders, two of each, plus one of "her choice". From the list, it was unclear whether or not this meant a color of her choice (therefore, two more folders) or one extra folder. We went with the latter hypothesis...and a puppy folder was chosen.

Next came discussions about whether or not a "goldenrod" color (I blame the crayon makers for kids learning this level of color precision) would actually be a yellow folder (required) or an orange folder (also required). I then present what looks like a perfect, pumpkin-orange folder (score one for Mom?....not so much). Lilly informs me that it's red and not orange, but not brick red like the other folders on the lower shelf.....OK, fine, so red is done, etc., etc....

Meanwhile, Andy does have a real list from his teacher. Considering Andy is a typical "guy" when it comes to shopping, I did NOT anticipate what happened next. In case you don't know how a "guy" typically shops, it involves a short list, getting into a store and then getting the heck out.

Andy's list consisted of a pencil box, a pack of pencils and some crayons and markers that he liked. The problem was that the store had preprinted lists of school supplies for each grade. Andy then picked one up (I was STILL thinking I was shopping with my guy here and I was about to be totally blindsided). This office supply store has a BRILLIANT marketing campaign here. They print out these lists and put them beautifully and separately by color-coded grades (again with the colors.....). For example, Andy's 2nd grade "list" was green. Consult Lilly for the exact shade of green. I'd go with green-yellow if it were up to me.

Well, I now saw another part of Andy that I am familiar with, but not in a store context. He loves details and directions. Heck if I was going to stop him before he got every last thing on that list! I did talk him out of some things that we had at home and convinced him that we do NOT need another PACK of highlighters. Yes, we could all share them. No, your twin brothers won't ruin them because they won't need them in kindergarten. No, really, they won't. No, you don't need to see their list. I did have my "responsible parent" hat on of course and wouldn't have let him buy all of that stuff if we didn't need it at home to use for school projects and homework, but it did take some convincing.

Well, we finally got out of there with a bill well into the TRIPLE digits. I felt buyer's remorse over this for days and couldn't bring myself to tell any of my friends what we'd spent on supplies. We got all of the folder hue situation solved for Lilly, I bought materials so I could set up two "homework stations" for Lilly and Andy so there would be less arguing at the kitchen table about breathing too loud (I kid you not) and the like and off we went.

That night, Andy put everything into his new backpack for school the next day....and came home with all but was on his ACTUAL list. Oh, and the twins love the backpacks I picked for them.


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