Easy back to school

25 January 2021

Easy back to school

Is it me or have these school holidays been especially long? Maybe it’s because the kids were at home during the year but it feels like back to school just can’t come quickly enough. This boys obviously don’t agree and respond with a quick moan, without looking up from their devices, when I tell them we’re off to do back to school shopping. They’re relieved when I say we’re going to Albany Mega Centre because they know they’ll get what they want here and it will be quick and easy.

I decide to start with the big stuff. Charlie’s off to year 7, or intermediate as it was in my day, and needs a new device. His Chromebook didn’t survive the last year of rough treatment and we now need a new one. We pop into in Noel Leeming and I wonder where to start. They must be used to parents looking lost, as a young guy says to me ”BYOD?” I take a moment to register so Charlie says 'yes' while looking at me like I’m completely stupid. The young sales guy asks, "Which school?” and before I’d finished telling him that it will be Charlie’s first year, he tells me about the discounts the school has negotiated on certain brands. Immediately I am at ease. Charlie tells me which one he wants and, as you’d expect, it was the more expensive option. I run through the options and decide to go with the expensive one anyway, hoping the better quality and the new carry case, will mean it lasts the whole year ahead.

At least now with both boys at a school with uniforms, I don’t have to worry about the variety of clothes I used to have to buy at this time of year. That was a nightmare. But both boys still need sport shoes so we head to Rebel Sport. James will be in Year 10 and I swear he plays every sport the school has available. That means sport shoes have a short life in our house. He walks off in search of shoes, leaving me to sort out Charlie. As expected, Charlie’s choices are more about what he likes than what he needs, and that leads to the expected pre-teen strop. Fortunately, I’ve learnt how to deal with these now. I offer him two shoes to choose from or he has nothing. He reluctantly sees it my way.

James finds two sets of shoes and while I try and reason that one will be enough, he makes it clear that I know nothing about sports, shoes or anything else in life. If you believed his version of events, shoes weren’t around when I was his age. I buy him one pair and he buys the other with the money he’s saved from pocket money.

We pop into Kathmandu for a new school bag. There’s a good range to choose from and James finds one he likes. It’s probably not the most practical one but it’s black, and looks cool, and that’s all that matters to James. I ‘convince’ Charlie to take James’ old bag from last year by buying him a new wallet instead.

The next stop is Warehouse Stationery. We’ve got lists from both schools and this is the place to get everything in one go. Books, pens, rulers, erasers, sharpeners, pencil, and the rest – it’s all here and there are plenty of options. James will need a desk for his bedroom given all the homework he’ll be doing this coming year. I suspect it’s wishful thinking on my part. I find a simple white kit-set desk that hopefully will be easy for me to assemble, as I don’t see the boys doing it.

We keep walking and James wants to pop into Hallenstein Brothers. He’s become much more conscious of his appearance and clothes in the last year. While James wonders off so he’s not seen with us, Charlie sees a t-shirt he likes. I tell him that it will be too big for him but he tries it on. SM is just right on him. I have a ‘mum moment’ as I realise both my boys have become young men. With my defences lowered, the boys walk away with t-shirts, shorts, a shirt and a pair of jeans.

We stop at Hollywood Bakery before heading home. I’m in desperate need of coffee and the boys want a coke and a chocolate milk. It’s been a productive afternoon and, thanks to Albany Mega Centre, we have everything we need for the first day back at school. School can have them, and their bad teenage attitudes, back until this time next year.

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