Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Mom’s Un-Official Back-to-School Supply List

It’s mid-August and for the past few months I’ve been carrying around in a secret and secure place in my wallet, a tiny piece of paper labeled “First Grade Supply List.” I was instructed back in May when this paper arrived in my home, to keep it in a safe place and reminded very often throughout the summer to double-check its whereabouts.
I can’t imagine what would happen if I actually misplaced the thing. I’d have a frantic seven-year old running around and crying and screaming “how am I going to know how many number 2 pencils to bring to school!”
Chances are this would be followed by fits of convulsion over types of folders and what brand of scissors she needed to bring.
My daughter, now entering first grade, is a list-maker and a list-checker-offer. She is very concerned that everything that should be done gets done and it needs to be on time and perfect. (Consider this statement just a public warning to any of her future teachers.) She is, unfortunately, just like her mother. So when she recently asked for her supply list, I quickly pulled it from my wallet, where it had been safely stashed over the summer. We then went to the store and purchased everything on the list, all in her favorite colors and in duplicate.
“Just in case” she said.
“Naturally good to be prepared,” I answered.
But while unloading the full cart of pencil sharpeners and hi-liters into my car, I started to think about my own back to school list. They make the actual school supplies easy for the kids—a couple of pencils and folders. But what about the moms?
While driving home I created my very own back to school supply list which readers are more than welcome to clip and save…
__Lunch supplies. Moms, have you purchased an in-style lunch container for your child? Pink camo was soooo last year. And are you well-stocked with juice boxes, fruit snacks, pudding cups and salami? Have you purchased your back-up emergency jar of peanut butter? Get on it! And do not, under any circumstances, forget the special “first day of school note.” It is crucial.
__School supplies for your child. Sure, your home is brimming with giant boxes of tissues and bottles of glue, but do not forget the things the school forgot to put on the list. Have you sufficiently stocked your child’s bookbag with a little bottle of hand sanitizer to remove any perfunctory cooties? Do you have extra folders waiting in the wing just in case Sally Jo has the, heaven forbid, exact same one? Think back-up here, people!
__First day outfits. (This may or may not only apply to the mothers of girls.) Has your child chosen her outfit for the first day of school? Are you prepared? Have you washed and pressed it? Did you lay it out? Don’t forget underwear. I forgot underwear when I was in the first grade because I was so excited. It haunts me to this day.
__Your vehicle. Back-to-school means back-to-the-grindstone. Back to running your kids from school to piano to sports to dance to the library and doing homework and eating mostly en route. Make sure you have sufficiently stocked your vehicle with the necessary pencils and markers, as well as granola bars, peanut-butter crackers and other such non-perishable “health food.”
__Your first day plans. Although the build-up to the first day of school may totally wear you out and exhaust you to the point of well, exhaustion, be prepared for the first day “now whats?” that occur after your kids are safely at school and you sit alone in your quiet house and wonder what in the world you are supposed to do now. Be prepared for this feeling of blankness! Find that book that you’ve been meaning to read for the past three months and set it out by the chair you haven’t sat in for three months. Or get yourself a nice cheese plate and invite the neighbor over.
Me? I’ve got a coffee date already made, which I’ll go to just as soon as I clean the unnecessary lists out of my wallet.

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