Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Welcome to the Scholastic Crap Fair

‘Tis the season for America’s children to come to school with envelopes, baggies and fistfuls of dollars just waiting to get into the doors of their schools’ Scholastic Book Fair, or as I like to call it, “Book Fair with a table of crap that all the kids want.”

I LOVE the book fair.  I would easily let Monkey Man buy whatever he wants, provided it has a front cover, back cover and pages in between with words on them.  You know, books. But these kids walk into a wonderland of books and target the crap table.  Erasers and pencils.  Okay, fine, we all need erasers and pencils, but the pencils are always the kind that write too light or when sharpened, the funky plastic design peels off.  Then there are pens that light up or have other distracting fluffy, feathery things on them.  And we all know that it’s always the children that need the least number of distractions that make a beeline for those.  A big hit at the Book Fair is pointers with fingers on the ends in which to poke the sh*& out of their little brother or mother or to inevitably turn into a weapon of some sort.  Then there are the book marks.  Don’t even get me started on book marks.  Why would one pay for a strip of paper when there are perfectly good scraps of paper lying around our homes just begging to be repurposed as a book mark?

I volunteered to help today at the Book Fair.  As a parent, I love the book fair and giving Monkey Man the opportunity to shop for BOOKS.  As a teacher, I know the Book Fair sucks.  One teacher taking a class of young children to a store, armed with blank checks or not enough money to buy even the crappiest of crap on that table?  Children standing tugging on teacher’s arm asking if they have enough money while little Jimmy spins in circles and Annie calls from across the room that she really has to go to the bathroom.  Teachers need back up at the Book Fair.

I was there to help the Kindergarten class and then Monkey Man’s 2nd grade class.  Kindergarten really needs budgeting advice, standing there all wide-eyed with paper and coins having no idea how to use these objects in exchange for other objects, so I was happy to help.  One boy said to me, “I have 5 bucks. Can I get this book?”  I looked at the price and told him in a super-excited mommy voice, “Yes, it’s 5 dollars, so you have the exact amount!”  He said, “Nooo, I have 5 BUCKS.”  See why teachers need backup?

Then Monkey Man’s class came in.  He smiled at me and I waved him over.  I told him he could pick a few books and show me.  He asked me how much he could spend (we have taught him about budgeting and he is very budget conscious.  He's either going to be well-prepared for adulthood or crazy cheap).  I told him he could shop then show me what he wanted and we would decide.  While he shopped, I sweetly helped the other children with the, “Hi, do you need some help?” and a, “Let’s see, sweetie, if you have enough money,” and a “Good choice!  You are all set!”  While I was in the middle of my helping-other-children-kindness, Monkey Man came over to me with a chocolate bar eraser. 

“Mom, can I get this?” I turned from Nicest Mom and Book Fair Helper to Now It’s Time to Deal with My OWN Child: “NO!” and then proceeded to re-channel my sweet mommy-helper voice to continue helping little Joey

Thanks for shopping kids, and have a super fantastic day!  Except, you, Monkey Man.  We already went over the rules this morning about buying crap at the book fair.  But I guess I’ve taught you to ask questions, can’t hurt to try, what’s the worst someone will say, no?  So yeah, good job, but you’re still not getting an eraser.