Wow, I learned a lot from that last post. Specifically, from your responses in the comments and some folks’ responses to me, off the blog, about it.
I learned that many of you share my loathing of popsicle sticks. This made me feel warm and fuzzy.
I learned that Karen does not want to hear about me sanding down my feet, and a single joke about topping a caesar salad will cause her to declare that she will never, ever eat any food which I prepare with alleged parmesan cheese.
I learned that Kira will retaliate against foot-grating discussion with a cruel declaration of “I’M CHEWING ON A POPSICLE STICK RIGHT NOW! Ooooh, SPLINTERS!”
Look, sandal season is fast upon us. Can I help it if I want my feet to be fabulous? Here I am, sacrificing, GRATING MY FEET, and all I want is a little bit of support from my friends. Sheesh. I didn’t even have anyone to comfort me when I shaved that one callous down to the bone, earlier….
Okay, let’s stop talking about my feet, now.
Guess what they’re doing at Monkey’s school this week! Go on, GUESS! They’re having a “Reach for the Stars” reading program, and I could tell you all about what that means in great detail if I’d actually read the seventy-five memos on it that went home, but I didn’t, so I only know the general gist. And that is this: The kids can sign up to track the books they read and gather donations for the school and then–assuming that your friends and relatives don’t end up killing you in your sleep because they’re still angry at you for hawking ugly wrapping paper and coffee cakes at Christmastime and now you’re asking for money just because your kid read “Go, Dog, Go!”–the Usborne Books people come put on a book fair.
Doesn’t that sound great? Don’t you wish you were me?
I declined to sign Monkey up for the reading fundraiser, just as I accept the wrapping paper and coffee cake catalogs each year and throw them away the moment I get home. It’s not that I don’t want the school to have more money, it’s just that I pay tuition, save those annoying little Boxtops for Education for them, bring in supplies, and pay for field trips, already. If they want me to raise money on top of that, I expect my kindergartener to directly benefit from the additional funds. Like by getting his very own gold-plated cubby and Tempurpedic nap mat.
Nonetheless, it’s hard for me to resist a book fair. And the school gets a cut of the sales! That makes sense to me. So this afternoon, I got Chickadee off the bus and we picked up Monkey, and went to browse the book sale.
I love books. I even love the Usborne books. But you know I hardly ever buy anything at full price, and these books are not cheap. So I cautioned the kids that we were just looking, and I wasn’t sure we’d be buying anything. Two Usborne reps clucked disapprovingly in my direction. Imagine! A mother who doesn’t buy her child books! Clearly I don’t value education! Or my children! Or democracy!
Here is how I usually get our books: I go to the book swap at the dump, where they are free. Or I go to yard sales, where they are about a quarter. Or I go to the thrift store, where they are about a dollar. As a result, we’re not exactly short on books around here. But it does somewhat dampen my desire to buy a $15 board book.
Both children ran around the displays picking books they wanted. (And by “picking” I mean “putting their grubby hands on every book they could reach and declaring ‘I want this one!'”) I gently tried to steer them away from inappropriate choices (anything too young or over $10). Meanwhile, the Usborne Borg kept interjecting.
“Honey, I think that book’s a little young for you,” I would say, taking it out of Monkey’s hands.
“Oh, but it’s for ALL AGES,” one of the reps would interject, suddenly appearing at my elbow. “For younger children it’s about phonics, and for older children there’s a more involved story, and it helps with fine motor coordination, and also gets excellent gas mileage and meets or exceeds all California safety emission standards!”
Monkey would continue begging and making sad kitty eyes at me while I put the book back and tried to get away from the rep.
Chickadee begged for an abridged copy of “Moby Dick” and I tried to explain what it means for a book to be abridged and also that I just didn’t think she’d enjoy it very much until she’s older… and the Usborne Borg launched into a lecture on how the books are revised for younger audiences, blah blah blah.
I finally selected a couple of “Great Searches” books and got the kids to agree that they were pretty cool (these are the books with very detailed pictures and then a certain number of a variety of objects to spot within the scenes), and paid for them while the reps regarded me with disdain. The children continued to whine over wanting more books. Which, hey kids, GREAT! Please do continue to be interested in books. But maybe not Usborne, quite so much.
The only saving grace in the whole book fair fiasco was that my feet were really nice and smooth.