Thursday, August 20, 2009

School Supplies, Take One

Today we went to Walmart to buy school supplies. The girls picked out markers and pencils and folders and notebooks, and at first, all was well. We've been spending A LOT of time together this month, the girls and I, which I look forward to all year, but which definitely gets wearing on all of us by this point in the summer. The fighting between the sisters is my number one greatest parental frustration, and I have tried many ways to try to make it better, ranging from literally shutting them in separate rooms - or separate floors of the house, 'cause our house is that small - to making them write lists of the things they love about each other, to shutting them in the SAME tiny room to just duke it out until they're done and silent. I am sure that in the years to come, I'll try a million more ways to encourage them to get along, and more than likely I'll come around to what the wise ones tell me, which is, "That's what sisters do."

Till then, though, I am all about aiming for peace in the house, or in the back seat of the car, or in today's case, the Walmart school supply section. After filling our cart with back to school necessaries, we reached the hoisery section of Walmart where I was looking for brown tights. There, the bickering began. "She pushed me." "She's pulling on the cart." "She moved my stuff." I ignored them, and looked at bras. "That's MY folder." "I was READING that." I gave a firm warning, then tried to find black hose in my size. "She PINCHED me." "She ELBOWED me." Then I said, "If I hear one more negative word from either one of you, every single thing in this cart stays here. You can start school without pencils, erasers, notebooks, backpacks... everything. And when your new teacher asks why you don't have these things, you can tell her it's because you were unable to be nice to your sister." Back to looking for tights, until...."Get OFF of me!" I still don't know which one said it, because in a wink I was striding out of the aisle, my brown tights in hand, to the register. I left the cart where it stood. (Sorry, Walmart if your job doesn't already suck enough, I just left more work for you.)

I don't know if this lesson will resonate, and I know that I will once again attempt to purchase school supplies for them next week. Hopefully, though, when I tell them that if I hear ONE MORE WORD then I will leave every item behind, they will believe me.

And come to think of it, at Mrs. Pepe's pool party immediately following this incident, they were awfully nice to each other. I won't kid myself that it will last, but it did make for a more pleasant afternoon.

If you're a mom who reads this, I insist you go to, and read yesterday's post about Mom Confessions, and then today's about Ways Momma Rocks. I'm telling you...both will make you feel better about yourself as a mother.


  1. I blame Walmart. It does evil things to one's spirit. Try another store for school supplies. :-)

    FYI--I would have done the same thing. Good for you for following through on the stated consequence. But to really make it stick, make them earn back a trip to get supplies for the first day. It's got to be bigger than "ok, you get a second chance because deep down we all know how exciting it is to start the first day with shiny new supplies." Because after all, you did say they would start school without them.

    PS--my 2 behave the same way off and on, and they aren't as close in age as your's, or the same gender. It's a sibling thing, not just a sister thing. Living 24/7 with anyone is bound to get on your nerves. The trick is how to ask for space and have it respected (and if I figure out how to implement that successfully, I'll let you know!!).

  2. Rock on, momma. I remember my childhood having too many empty threats ("I'l turn this car right around, and end this vacation"). Man, if I'm ever a dad, that will be one of the biggest challenges for me.

  3. I LOVE that you just left! Good job Kelly!