The school is having a book fair this week.  I’m a huge fan of encouraging kids to read… and of fundraisers for the school.  But, the book fair just drives me nuts – and here’s why.

It has nothing to do with the books – I love going and picking out some new stories for the girls – and I love how excited they get about the new books.

School Supplies 3What I don’t like are the piles and piles of JUNK that they have to sell along with the books.  The pens, posters, erasers, and do-dads that they pile on the tables in the book fairs…. they are overpriced and usually won’t last more than a day or two after you purchase them.

But what do the kids fixate on?  The JUNK!  Not the books!  The JUNK!

So, I have a rule. Mommy will pay for BOOKS only. If you want to spend your money on the junk, you have to spend your own money. Not Mommy’s.  I figure it will help the girls learn to think about what they are purchasing and decide if something is really worth parting with their cash.

Sounds good in theory, right?

Well, here’s what went down this week…

We went to the book fair with the understanding that Mommy would buy 2-3 books each and that would be all. Big Girl already was talking about some highlighter she wanted and I reminded her that she could spend her own money if she wanted.  Ok, off we go.

Get to the book fair – Big Girl has forgotten her wallet and asks me to “loan” her $3 for the highlighter that she simply must have.  “Okay,” I say, “but you have to pay me back when we get home.”

Fast forward about six hours and it’s bedtime.  All of a sudden Big Girl is fixated on another pen set at school she simply must get the next day. I remind her she can spend her own money but I will not be loaning her any more money to purchase the pen.j0442235

Fast forward to morning – no wallet can be found in the disaster area also known as Big Girl’s bedroom and we have major drama because the Bank of Momma is closed for the day. She goes off to school in a huge huff and is very angry with Mommy for not loaning her $5 to purchase the highlighter (I told you the junk is overpriced!)

Fast forward to after school – I am snuggling with Big Girl and telling her how much I hate it when she leaves for school angry with me and how glad I am that she is happy again.

She looks up at me and simply says

“Well, all you had to do was give me the $5 and it would’ve all been OK.”

“Really?” I ask. “It’s just that simple? I give you whatever you want and you’ll never be mad at me again?”

“Yes, Mommy. Don’t you know  that?”

Sigh. If it were only so easy, I think…

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