We have lately been circulating in a sort of school supply hell.
This pleasant state began a couple of weeks ago, when I received the initial supply lists from the public school where my twins are starting kindergarten. They are in separate classes. 'How nice,' I thought, 'that the teachers have coordinated the lists so that I just have to double everything.'
We went to Target and bought the following off the lists, which I will re-print in their exactness:
1 box of 8 primary (FAT, not Jumbo) crayons – classic colors (for us, two boxes)
2 glue sticks (wide grip) (for us, four sticks)
1 box large size Ziploc bags (for us, two boxes)
1 eight oz bottle of hand sanitizer (for us, two bottles)
1 roll paper towels (for us, two rolls)
'Not so bad,' I thought.

Then the second set of lists arrived.
I discovered that, actually, my son needed not just "1 box of 8 primary (fat) crayons – classic colors," but also "1 box classic color markers." His teacher also specified in the later mailing that he should bring in "1 box unscented tissues" and "1 glue stick (wide grip) & 1 small glue bottle," instead of the "2 glue sticks (wide grip)" that we originally thought. In addition, my son’s letter said he should have "2 green two-pocket folders, labeled with [his] name." The teacher added that "the poly folders last a lot longer and do not rip as quickly as the paper folders." My daughter’s letter noted that she needed "2 blue two-pocket folders," along with the same tip about the poly being greatly superior to the paper variety.
Of course, by this time, it was Labor Day weekend. We hardly wanted to spend our holiday trekking around buying more school supplies. But off we went, as a family, to Staples, where my 2-year-old, who isn’t going to kindergarten, made it known to shoppers that she wanted her own,pink, poly, two-pocket folders. As my husband peeled her off the floor, my twins trailed behind me through the shop while I grabbed a bottle of glue, some classic color markers and two, green, poly folders. I fought a boy for the last two, blue, poly folders and won.

Then my husband dumped me, our daughters and the supplies at home and headed with our son to Target to buy the "box of unscented tissues" and some other household items that we needed. But while they were out and I sat piling supplies into my twins’ backpacks and checking the lists, again, I realized that I had gotten the poly folder bit slightly wrong. In walked my husband.
"You’re gonna have to run quickly back to Staples and get Georgia two red folders," I told him, as he dumped the Target bags. "And get the poly ones, because they last a lot longer and do not rip as quickly as the paper ones."
About 45 minutes later, Jeff stormed into the house and threw down two, red, paper folders on the kitchen table. I guess he wasn’t in the mood to fight young children for the last poly folders in the desired colors. Furthermore, the fellow in front of him in line was apparently paying for his over-sized, metal clips from a bag of change and wearing noise-cancelling headphones he kept having to lift up to hear what the clerk was asking him.
"In the future," my husband said, "I would not recommend back-to-back Staples-Target-Staples runs."
Duly noted.
Hopefully, my twins will have an easier time than their parents following kindergarten directions.

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