Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Back to School

A lot of mom's get excited about back to school time.  But those are the moms who don't work and over the summer torture themselves by not sending their kids to camp and having to find ways to entertain the kids.   They can't wait for their kids to be in school all day so that they can spend the rest of their day either having lunch with friends and complaining about how hard it is to be a stay at home mom OR they are actually staying home folding laundry while talking on the phone with their friends and complaining about being a stay at home mom.   Yeah, like it's so friggin hard to do your grocery shopping ALONE without your kids annoying you, or having between 9 and 3 to make dinner and clean your house instead of doing it all on weekends only.   Ok, I'm getting off topic here.    Let's get back to the topic:   Going back to school. 

I hate back to school time.  I remember when I was younger, the year felt like it was in two equal seasons.  School and summer.   I started to get depressed in August knowing September was just around the corner.  I actually liked school but I loved summer and never wanted it to end. 

I hate back to school time even more now that I'm a mother.   Making lunches every night, running to the supermarket at 10:00 at night because you ran out of deli meat (lunch meat as you gentiles call it.) because you're not allowed to give your kid a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.   In some cases, cooking and packing dinners too because you don't have time to go home and serve a meal between when work ends and that pesky after school sport / activity starts.   Finally having a moment to look at all those crumpled papers in your kid's back pack, only to find the one about the diorama due the fucking next day and now you have to drive to A.C. Moore or Michaels to buy art supplies.  Too bad it's after bed time so you have to do it while your kid sleeps and then coach your kid in the morning on how he or she is to convince the teacher they did it themselves.   Sounds great,  huh?  Maybe I should home school.  Then I would be better prepared.  I really don't think I'm smart enough to home school.  I'm afraid my kids will grow up dumb and it would be all my fault.

 Anyway, my real gripe with back to school is that dreaded SCHOOL SUPPLY LIST.  It's absolutely ridiculous.   When I was in elementary school, I don't even think I had to bring in pencils.  I'm pretty sure the school supplied them.   I think we had to bring in loose leaf notebooks and spiral notebooks.   That's about it.  I think we also had to use our own paper in the loose leaf paper in the notebooks.  That was the good ole days.    Here is a sampling of my daughter's school supply list. She's going into kindergarten:

1.  9 large Elmer glue sticks.   NINE?????  Now, keep in mind, the list states to have this stuff the first day of school.  It didn't suggest she come in with two and then perhaps replenish every month.  The teacher wants NINE and on the first day.  If I give my daughter nine glue sticks..eight of them are getting lost by day two.  Or, what will happen is, instead of her using one, and then when that one runs out, she uses the second and so on...she will use all nine at one time.  One project will take as long because she will want to take turns with the glue sticks.  I can assure you.   Then, by Thanksgiving break, she will have maybe 2 left (7 will be lost) and the two that are left will be full of glitter, or dried out or just unusable.   This kindergarten teacher must be new or she must not have experience with child behavior.   My last thought is that perhaps she has a glue sniffing habit to feed.  Also, I'm wondering if she specified "Elmer's" glue intentionally.  Did she say Elmer's because that's the most popular brand?  Kind of like saying "Kleenex" instead of tissues?  Or is she really insistent on that brand?   Fuck that.  Whatever glue they sell at the dollar store...that's what she's getting.  She wants to get all high and mighty about the brand, she can splurge for the luxury. 

2.   Two boxes of crayons.  Each box has to be 24 crayons.   48 crayons times 20 kids.  Hmmm.  She really needs 90 crayons???  Are they melting them down for a mural?  My kids go to chain restaurants with me and they are given 3 colors.  It occupies them for almost an  hour.  I guess the teacher can fill an entire school day of coloring if she insists they use each color.

3.  2 boxes of graham crackers.   We already pack a lunch and snack, so I'm not quite sure what the graham crackers are for.  One parent suggested that they ask for it in case another kid forgot or does not like their snack.  I don't know...I think this falls under the too fucking bad category for me.  If I pack a snack that my kid won't eat, she can be hungry.  Offering her another choice would just enable her to expect choices when there are none.   Plus, I would think a parent would know by this time what their kid will or will not eat.   Pack something they will eat.   Done.   An alternative thought on why we are asked for graham crackers would be related to the glue.  Maybe they sniff all that glue and it makes them crave crackers. 

4.  A bottle of liquid soap?   Wouldn't this fall under custodial supplies?  Can't they get this bulk?  Maybe even at a discount since a school is non profit?   I'm not asking for the teachers to pay for this but perhaps it can come from the random school supply fund.  Why stop at soap?   Just send a note home asking for toilet paper.  I'm sure they would demand two ply. 

5.  Two bottles of hand sanitizer and 2 large canisters of disinfecting wipes.  See #4 above.

6.  10 pencils.  Three will need to be sharpened in desk at all times.  I went above and beyond expectations here and sharpened all ten. Go ahead, call me a brown noser.

7.  1 Pink eraser.   I really want to just rebel and get another colored eraser.  Will the teacher return it home with a note?  Will she make a note in my daughter's file that I don't adhere to rules?  Why the frig does it have to be pink? 

8.  4 Jumbo book sleeves.   Ok, so I graduated high school in 1988.   It was a while ago but it certainly wasn't the olden days.  What the fuck is a book sleeve?  So I asked some tweens at Staples to show me the light.  They are nylon book covers.  Whaat?  Why can't I cover her books with paper grocery bags like we did?  First of all, you can't even doodle on these book sleeves when you're bored.  Second of all,  why should I spend money on something that I can get as a perk when I go grocery shopping?   These kids have no fun at school anymore! 

Ok, so as a reminder, the above is a SAMPLE of her list.  There's more.  I feel like I should just buy the teacher a gift card and tell her to go nuts.  Really, by next year I wouldn't be surprised if they added to the list Keurig K cups for the teacher's lounge, Chalk for the black board, balls for gym class and frozen vegetables and boxed mashed potatos for the cafeteria.

I think I'll nominate myself to be president of the PTA.  My platform will be no shopping for school supplies!   Instead, I'll mail out a bill to each parent in September.  This invoice will state that it's for miscellaneous school supplies and as an extra bonus, pay an additional fee of $50.00 and we won't hound you to buy wrapping paper or some crappy candy from a catalogue that you won't eat anyway.    I'm certain I'll be deemed best PTA President ever!!!!!!