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A Mom’s Worst Nightmare: The Book Fair

Maybe it makes me a bad parent to say this–and I’ve come to terms with that–but I hate school functions. I understand their necessity, but with each one I attend, I feel myself die a little more inside.

PTA meetings? No thank you.

Family fun night? Polite pass.

Sporting events? HAHA ARE YOU KIDDING?

I’ve succumbed to parenthood in far more ways than I ever thought I would, but I don’t see this changing. Ever.

My last favorite of all school functions?bookfair

The Book Fair.

YEAH, SCHOLASTIC! I’M LOOKING AT YOU!

What could it have done to earn my utter hatred? To get me to dedicate an entire blog to how much I loathe it? When you are so evil that you can guilt me into spending an unholy amount of money because “IT’S EDUCATIONAL!” and “EVERY SALE BENEFITS THE SCHOOL!” you shall feel my wrath.

I write for a living, it is in my soul. I absolutely think kids should read. I think they should read ALL THE TIME. Lose themselves in a good story, or research the facts on something they’re interested in, instead of just Googling the shit out of it and promptly forgetting what the page told them. READ! READ ALL THE THINGS!

But the Book Fair. It is evil cloaked in good.

Last night wasn’t my first rodeo. Holden’s been in school for 4 years now. We’ve been to many a Book Fair, but it’s like they’ve got Will Smith in his fucking suit employed and he wipes your memory as you leave because I’d totally forgotten about just how horrific it is.

Did I mention that the kids failed to remind the husband and I of said Book Fair until the very last night, which just so happened to land on the same night as the school’s “Family Fun Night”?
I smell a conspiracy.

The boys had been promised (don’t look at me! Thomas got us into this mess!). They’d been begging. They had the books they wanted picked out already. They are completely obsessed with the Book Fair, even though the books bought at the last one are half unread, even if we have a membership to the public library, even if there are book stores with bigger selections nearby, they will not do. They MUST go to the school’s book fair.

It was serious enough (not going, but attempting to avoid the onslaught of people) for me to tell Thomas to come home early. We’d be in and out in a few minutes, no problem!

We got there right after it opened, and it was going just as I planned! Not many people were there yet! Score! My kids scan the selection, and of course, what they wanted before the Book Fair began was now sold out, and the whining began. And when the whining began, more people began filing in, and as more people began filing in, the space dwindled to nothing, and soon we were elbow to elbow with boogery kids and fed up parents and the only books I could find were crap about Taylor Swift and Five Seconds of Summer. The fuck?

I elbowed made my way around the clearance table and grabbed books that were the cheapest I thought would be of interest, shoving them into my kids arms and insisting we leave before my head explodes. It’s a sea of people now, and if we didn’t get to the register as soon as humanly possible, we’d never make it out alive. We’d get roped into the damn PTA meeting and the free yoga classes and the weird free hair cuts that would probably turn our heads into penises and would have to take a karate class and I’d break my back and never be able to walk again ALL BECAUSE OF THE BOOK FAIR SO LET’S GO!
They’d managed to find a few books they wanted (along with my cheap stellar selections), but I noticed something awry in my 6 year old’s arms. He had put back one of the things I’d chosen for him and opted for a big book about a cat named Pete.

Husband basically has to pry the book from his grips, and of course, it’s way more expensive than the one he sneakily put back. As annoyed as I was at this point, watching the line grow, I had to applaud his ballsiness. First time at the book fair and he’s already trying to pull the one-over on us. I’d have argued with him and forced him to bring home my selection instead, saving us some money, but money was not worth my sanity, or the penis hair cuts, or the weird yoga on the Gymtorium floor, or the broken back. Pete is coming home with us. Sorry, wallet.

TO THE REGISTERS! With way more books than were on their lists. Of course, behind the register is a wall full of more crappy overpriced trinkety junk than there are books, but they already tricked me into Pete and some stupid 3D book about dinosaurs that will last all of about 5 minutes. Trinkets can go screw themselves!

The husband mutters something about “I guess it’s worth it for education” as the total rings up at over $70 (not even fucking kidding), and we’re home free! Almost. We have to make it past the yoga, the wiener head haircuts, the back breaking Karate demo, the frickin’ PTA meeting, and… there standing in the middle of our hallway to freedom is the damn principal. YES THE PRINCIPAL!

We employed the same tactic as we do the guys at mall kiosks. Pretend to be deep in conversation with someone else and whatever you do, do NOT make eye contact. DO NOT!

As the horribly cold air of the outside hits my face, I realize we’ve made it. We beat the Book Fair. I don’t know how we ever got so lucky, but we did. The short ride home was like floating on a cloud. Of course, the first thing the kids want to do is read their shiny new educational-spent-too-much-money-but-they’ll-be-smarter-and-it-helped-the-school-so-it’s-totally-worth-it books. Parker pulls the cat book out of the bag, opens it up, and yells STICKERS! That’s right. That little turd exchanged my $5 “this is totally gonna help him with his reading” book for a $10 book full of stickers that probably costs $1 at Walgreens.

I may not have gotten a penis haircut that night, but I got fucked by Pete the Cat, and the Book Fair claimed yet another victim.

Posted on February 26, 2016 by Holdin' Holden 3 Comments
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