(disclaimer: this is a “niche” post, likely only relevant to parents of pretty young kids with a certain type of school shopping list!)
E is entering Kindergarten in the fall, so this is the first year we have been given a list of supplies that we are required to send with her to school. I had not yet purchased the supplies when I ended up in a conversation with several girlfriends who had just returned from the stores.
One of the ladies reported that what she had hoped would be a wonderful shopping trip that would help get her rising Kindergartener excited about school (exactly what I was envisioning experiencing with E before this conversation) had actually turned into a difficult trip full of explanations about how Kindergarten was a place where certain things were required.
Her analysis of what went wrong:
Her school gave her a very specific list of things she was supposed to purchase (i.e. the “black-and-white composition notebook”). A lot of the super exciting things her child saw in the store’s school section were not on that list (i.e. the spiderman notebook!) End result: a frustrating trip and a (temporarily) unhappy child (emphasis on “temporarily”… she is a master mom and she fixed it…)
But despite her ability to enact this damage control, she wished aloud that she had just gone to the store on her own, purchased the required items, and then celebrated unpacking all the items with her rising Kindergartener at home. (“Look at this stuff for school! Crayons! Pencils! A new notebook! You are going to have so much fun!”)
E’s school supply list is less specific (i.e. we can purchase any notebook we want…), but states that all items will be placed into a community pile (i.e. could be assigned to any child). That is a different scenario than my friend’s, but one that another mom with older kids pointed out should require a similar mindset. E shouldn’t get attached to a specific notebook unless we can help her become excited about contributing it to the classroom, because she will likely spend the year watching it go home with another child.
So I took my friends’ advice, went shopping while the girls were at camp, and had a very fun interaction with E showing her the very fun supplies that would be part of a big pile in her Kindergarten classroom. We focused on what these “clues” could tell us about life in Kindergarten instead of getting attached to specific items. Who knows how it will play out, but for now she is excited about school and about her contributions to the classroom pile.
Meanwhile, I am excited to have such great friends who love my kid enough to let me learn from their experiences. Their kids are truly blessed to have such caring mamas. And I get to learn from – and be around – them, so how blessed am I?!