Last year before kindergarten, I hemmed and hawed over whether or not to order the girls expensive, quality backpacks, complete with coordinating lunch boxes, or to let them pick out cheap character ones from Target.
This damn decision ate me so alive, you’d think I’d been tasked with deciding which college they would be attending. I just could not figure out what the best thing to do was. On one hand, I knew they would love the cheap, Ninja Turtle backpacks they had seen. On the other, seasoned school mom friends raved about how long their sturdy L.L Bean backpacks had lasted, and how they were truly the superior choice. Seriosuly, making decisions is HARD for the indecisive.
But if you’ve ever seen a 5-year-old’s face light up when they see the absolute most perfect Ninja Turtle backpack ever, complete with “turtle shell” pocket, then you know what the right choice is. School was new and exciting, and a little bit scary, so it was important to me that they have something that was familiar, something that they loved. And holy crap, did they love those crappy backpacks.
In the bigger picture, this was just kindergarten, and the backpacks were only like $11. If they broke or tore halfway through the year, it wouldn’t break us to get a replacement.
And they did indeed break.
I could go and order more expensive backpacks that don’t assault my eyes with characters. But this small decision that they get to make reminds me that even though I’m hyperventilating a little bit about them getting older, they’re still little kids.
Rachel – sweet, dependable Rachel – stuck with her old familiar favorite, the Ninja Turtles. It’s new and stiff and full of possibilities, complete with a tiny pocket fit for all of the random items she loves to stow away, like rocks and dirty plastic spoons that she finds on the cafeteria floor.
Claire grabbed the first backpack she saw – Monster High. And I’m not going to lie. I wasn’t thrilled. I wanted to ask, “Are you sure? What about this one?” eagerly holding up a blindingly obnoxious cartoon character.
It’s not that I really have anything against the brand, you know, aside from the short skirts and “come hither” bedroom eyes on gigantic heads. Claire got a Monster High doll for her birthday, and she loved if at first sight. It’s just…I just thought we had a little more time. A little more time for the little kid stuff, for Hello Kitty and Minnie Mouse, for sweet and innocent. But nope. Monster High all the way. And I need a matching lunch box too, Mom.
And she really loves it.
Some things change; some things stay the same. We’re ready for you, first grade. Come hither bedroom eyes and all. On the backpack. Not my kids.