Monday, August 24, 2009

School Begins!

I am not the typical parent of a new Kindergartener. (While my kid was in preschool, I had ample opportunity to scope out the parents of the other kids, and I definitely look like my kid’s grandma.) *sigh*
I also don’t have previous experience with the whole “back to school” thing – except my own, which doesn’t count. So cut to me standing in the store on Friday afternoon with my list in hand, finally buying the School Supplies. I actually got chastised by the pharmacist at Target when I asked where the hand sanitizer was being hidden. Yeah, I know I waited til the last minute. Thanks! And yes, the hand sanitizer stock had been seriously depleted. Who knew?
Back in the dawn of time, when I was a Kindergartener, our “school supplies” consisted of bringing in an old button down shirt of our dad’s for wearing (backwards) during painting time. I was mildly shocked to see that I was being required to provide (exact duplication of list):

2 bottles Elmer’s white all-purpose glue (4 oz. – not school glue)
10 glue sticks
2 boxes crayons (24 ct. regular – not fat size)
1 box Kleenex
10 #2 yellow pencils (sharpened – not fat)
1 backpack
1 box magic markers – broad tip
1 container baby wipes
1 container hand sanitizer
3 Pee-chee folders (horizontal pockets) (Label with name)
1 pair Fiskar scissors – students size
Boys: 1 box gallon size plastic bags
Girls: 1 box quart size plastic bags
2 glue sticks (Art)

I have some issues with this list. For instance, since all the supplies except the backpack and the folders went into the collective bins, why are the “art” glue sticks separately listed? I had no idea pencils now came optionally pre-sharpened. What IS the difference between regular white glue and “school glue”? And what I really need an answer to, is what is up with the difference in the size of the plastic bags for boys and girls? This has just made my imagination run wild.

Nevertheless, I dutifully filled my paper grocery bag (full) of the listed items, and showed up as directed with my child and my bag to the Open House on Friday night. There we met her teacher and were given a pink sheet of paper with cute instructions as to where we were to put the stuff. Each couple of items had a little nursery rhyme describing a different area of the classroom so that the kids could get an idea of what everything was. It was kind of fun for M and I to find each area and for her to put something from our bag into the different bins.
I noticed, however, that there were other families that were having various reactions to the instructions. A few showed up without supplies (y’know, you’re supposed to READ all those handouts they give you). Some must have thought this was going to be a big social thing, and brought the Whole Fam Damnly, causing Grandma and Grandpa to have to keep moving out of the doorway. The room isn’t THAT big, people! But the ones who really tugged at my heartstrings was the one group I observed who were really struggling with the list and the instructions. It was an extended family group, and they all spoke English, but with a decided lack of familiarity with some of the things or the names of the things on the list. So with each part of the instructions, they had a little conference about what should go where. The baby wipes and hand sanitizer really tripped them up.
Her teacher is like a movie version of a Kindergarten teacher; young, pretty, still enthusiastic and upbeat. I love it. We got up this morning and M had a little anxiety about her wardrobe choice, so she switched, and I successfully did NOT tell her what to wear, except I strongly suggested socks with her shoes. She was too excited to eat much. We showed up with plenty of time to spare, she got in line with her backpack and received her name badge, and stood there grinning until the bell rang and they filed in. I am so proud of her.

UPDATE: I found out what the different size bags are all about, and I confess I'm disappointed. I cornered M's teacher this morning (nicely, of course) and told her I needed to know. She said that "they need to have a supply of different sizes and dividing them up that way ensures that they get enough of each size." Hmph. I was hoping for something more inventive...


  1. I was wondering about M, when I read the other "first day of school" posts this morning. I'll bet she does great! She sure looks cute, and that's a nice dress she's wearing.

    I don't understand why the boys need bigger bags, either.

    And you do not look like a grandmother!

  2. Aww, she's lovely!! How exciting! Your list is way more complicated than ours, but I was surpised by how much stuff they asked for as well. I know there are big budget cuts at schools, but it seems so weird that I'm supposed to supply the classroom's tissues and paper towels now, too.

    That ziplock one is a real head-scratcher! Please update when you find out why girls need quarts and boys need gallons!

  3. Frank: Thanks! You're a sweetheart.

    Bev: I was surprised to be asked to bring Kleenex, hand sanitizer, and plastic bags. What, no Clorox, Lysol, or Windex? How 'bout I just send her to school wrapped in bubble wrap?

    I will definitely find out about the size discrepancy!