Back to school shopping – pros walk left – amateurs stand right

by Kanesha

I do miss the days when back-to-school prep came after Labor Day, but based on where we live now – we have to be up and running by late August. Oh – it’s thrilling and yet so painful!

I snapped this picture on July 5. Good grief - what an early reminder!

Gearing up for middle school has been fun and busy. Thank goodness my mother-in-law has been an incredible cheerleader.

It was very sweet and extremely cute when my mother-in-law came home one day with some school supplies she had purchased.

My children and I watched her excitement as she showed us her loot and she said,

“It’s that time of year. I love getting new notebooks. Checkout this great pencil box. I can use if for a bunch of things.”

My daughter jumped up to admire and touch the new items. My son grabbed his tiny backpack and said, “I need new stuff too.”

And it was time, time for back-to-school shopping.

Anyone with a preschooler knows they aren’t always the best at running errands – especially errands you want to complete quickly. During dinner on a Thursday night, my hubby slowly leaned across the dinner table and seriously said,

“Look mom, there will be a run on school supply shopping this weekend, so we must go tonight. It’s been a long day, but we need you to watch the little one while we run out. Can you do this?”

My mother-in-law looked at her son directly and immediately nodded in affirmation. I had to keep my composure because the seriousness of this back-to-school discussion was kinda over the top.

And off the three of us went (as the three-year-old wailed from the front porch) to secure the goods for, in my daughter’s words, “the best school year EVER!

The school supply list was humongous! Many of the 40+ items were exotic office supplies in my opinion – things I don’t even have access to as a working professional.

  • 2 packages hole reinforcements
  • 3 pack dry erase markers
  • 2 packages of dividers with pockets (8 count each w/ tabs)
  • USB Flash Drive

And the list goes on…

What happened to the days of loose leaf paper and some pencils? Ok ok,  it’s middle school – so I would add some some pens to the “non-exotic” list.

Not only were we buying supplies for classroom use, we had to purchase locker accessories as well. Interior design for this tiny locker…so many decisions, so little time – it was already 7:30pm.

Hubby and the middle schooler - on task with the mega list

I had to chuckle when I heard one dad say,

“Why are we here shopping? I could easily just get all of this stuff from my office!”

Prior to this shopping adventure, I felt the same way as that dad. I just wanted to buy the pre-packaged school supply kit and get on with it. But the way my multigenerational family approaches school supply shopping is a treat to watch.

My daughter sits at the kitchen table going through the sales papers. My mother-in-law moves between the stove and table to peer over my daughter’s shoulder and point out good deals. Hubby talks about new supplies he wants for himself because new stuff is “so awesome”. My son agrees with everyone and  clearly sates what he’ll take to his school. I sit and watch the frenzy of it all.

I do have to admit, I enjoy observing their excitement and joy for this time of year.

And on my daughter’s first day of school, the annual picture was taken in front of the tree (thanks to my mother-in-law for the quick reminder). My mother-in-law made an incredible breakfast (and good coffee). Wholesome lunches were packed and the new school year began.

I received a call at the end of the school day, from my daughter, and learned that middle school is great, the locker is not so terrifying, and the locker chandelier was a big hit. (WHAT? I bought a locker chandelier? Was that on the list?)

We have one full week of middle school under our belts and a bunch more to go.

The new middle school desk - full of middle school supplies

Our next transitional task…getting ready for preschool to start.


One response to this post.

  1. Posted by T. on August 25, 2010 at 10:24 pm

    What about the days when the Sears catalog would arrive announcing that it was time to head back to school…. My siblings and I would go through the catalog in detail – check what we needed – and making sure it was perfect – that it would last all year – and that the order would go out in time for our stuff to arrive before the first day of school. Back to school shopping is an adventure and always has been.

    However, one day we won’t go back to school shopping. We will just get an electronic message “School supplies: computer with high speed internet connection. Be logged in at 8 am on Monday morning.”


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