The American Calgarian

Tales of a Midwesterner transplanted in Western Canada

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

I prepped them. “Kids, tomorrow we are pulling your school supply lists and we are going shopping!” It is getting to that time in the summer where every other sentence is “I’m bored” or “She/He is annoying me!”. You know, the end of summer vacation. The children have had so much quality time with their siblings that they can barely stand the sight and/or sound of each other breathing. Or, is it just my kids? Yeah, I didn’t think so.

So this morning I had their respective school supply lists in hand. I had gathered the leftover school supplies from the previous year for us to look through before heading out the big box store I cannot name, (though feel the need to shower upon exiting). Every year I tell myself that this is going to be “the year” I pull it all together and get the kids school supplies without a temper tantrum, yelling or pouting. Also, it would be nice if the kids behaved as well.

So far the day was going swell. I had some supplies from last year lined up. We had purchased backpacks at (the awesomest) Lands End while on a recent trip. My inlaws had given the kids some colored pencils and stuff for said trip. We had about a third of their supplies in hand when leaving the house. We headed to the awful store, because although I hate going there, it is the only place I can go to get school supplies for 3 kids without taking out another mortgage, (please come to Calgary soon, Target!). The exercise was exhausting, though easier than last year. I did not raise my voice; however, I did ever so quietly (and totally on board with parenting experts) tell my children that if they did not take responsibility for their behavior STAT that there would be no electricity in our house the rest of the day. After exhausting the resources of the awful store, we (Apprentice) was still in need of a couple of things. The news that we were headed to another store after paying for our cart was met by much rejoicing, (or whining, but I was half delirious by this point). So I did what any mother would do. I bribed them. I took them to lunch prior to hitting the second store so that all tummies would be happy. Where tummies are happy, especially tummies of boys, everybody is happy.

Fast forward to home. We had unloaded all this shit into the family room with intentions of sorting out each kids stuff later in the day. When “later in the day” arrived, Mid voiced his opinion that we should leave the supplies out until the next day, as he was not interested, nor in the mood for, sorting out supplies. Apparently Mario had some emergency in his galaxy that required Mid’s immediate and uninterrupted presence. I voiced my opinion that the supplies needed to be sorted today to avoid a trip to the emergency room after tripping over all this stuff. Also, my opinion trumps everyone else’s because, well, I Am Mom, Prime Minister of the House.

Mid continued to protest. I must give him credit, as in hindsight I think it was one of his better performances. However, friends, this is where I lost it. I told him that I did not care what happened to the supplies, but I was going to start dinner, and by the time dinner had been prepared, eaten (and enjoyed, dammit), those supplies were not to be all over the family room floor. I went on to say that I would not be helping with the sorting and organizing of said supplies. I added that without the supplies they would not be able to start school, which should be a relief to the kids that did not want go to school anyway. I turned and went into the kitchen.

It was then that Mid lost it. He came into the kitchen, crying, pleading with me to help him with his school supplies. He assured me that he did, in fact, want to go to school and was not able to get his things together without my help. The pleading, the almost crying.. He is nothing if not tenacious. I told him that I needed to make dinner and he would have to figure this out on his own.

This little spectacle made an impact on all three kids. How do I know? I had prepared a new dish for dinner, rigatoni with kidneys beans and other yummy veggies, and everyone ate it without complaint or asking for something else to eat. They took their plates to the sink. They washed up and then planned how they would divide the school supplies on their own.

When I came into the family room to check on their progress, they had made little. They apologized for their behavior earlier and asked if I would help them. This time I said yes. And I thought to myself, “next year this is not going to stress me out. Next year is going to be the year.” Here’s hoping.


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