Butt Cheeks and Book Fairs: Life of a Boy Mom

You know when it’s coming: your child will bring home many, many colorful order forms the days preceding the event, showcasing all the goods that are about the explode in your child’s school library. The only time of year children can convince their parents to buy expensive character erasers because the money goes to “help the school.”

That’s right, moms and dads: I am talking about the Scholastic Book Fair. 

I was hesitant at best to give my six year old son any amount of cash for said book fair. He comes home weekly with wadded up test papers, multiple sweaters and coats, books that I am uncertain even belong to him, all at the bottom of his backpack. There is also a large, white quartz rock of unknown origin that rests in the bottom of it. So, when I forked over dollar bills to my highly responsible, could run her own business nine year old daughter without thought, the six year old was immediately defensive. “There’s something I NEED to buy, Mom!” he begged. I relented, we gave in, and ten dollars went in the case of his glasses, which, by a sheer miracle, he has yet to lose. 

After school that afternoon (which, by the way, was also Crazy Hat Day), the kids piled in and began sharing their treasures from the book fair, when our youngest, a teeny five year old boy, shared that his brother had “drawn butt cheeks on a friend’s hand” while waiting on me to arrive. 

“Why would you draw body parts on another human?” I replied, shocked and confused, because, as a good Southern mama, we don’t say the ACTUAL name of body parts, so we aren’t “allowed” to say things like “butt cheeks;” it is improper.

“He asked me to. They all did!” he bellowed. 

Turns out, the book fair money had been used to buy a pen with “invisible ink.” My six year old son had set up shop, drawing images, writing initials and full names, on any child who was ready to be tatted up. Just shine a light on anyone in the first grade class at his school, and who knows what drawings will appear. 

The next morning, I was getting ready for work and, to my frustration, got my dress stuck on my body; the zipper would not go up or down. It took fifteen minutes, a pair of tweezers, scissors, and a bar of soap to release the zipper and give me the opportunity to breathe again, and grab another dress. I pulled on a pair of brand new, sparkly black tights and they instantly ripped in my hands. Panicked, I grabbed another smaller, much tighter pair without feet. We were officially late leaving our home for school, so I ignored the discomfort, ushered kids to the car (with the white quartz rock still in the bottom of his backpack) and made it to the school in record time. Once I arrived at work, it hit me — these are not my tights, these are my daughter’s. She is NINE. And I have another four hours before I can break away and buy a pair of “adult tights” of my own. Dug through my purse to find a pen, and what did I discover? A pen that writes with invisible ink, the same one that funded a preschool tattoo parlor the day before. 

When my parents were young, it didn’t matter if you had girls or boys; you were a mom and you got stuff done. The phrase “boy mom” and “girl mom” were not popular catch phrases; everyone just ran outside without shoes and drank Kool-Aid and ate Oreos when no one was looking.

So, a few things I have learned this week: 

1. I never thought I would utter the phrase, “Do NOT draw butt cheeks on another kid’s hand again–ever.”

2. Plan your outfits the night before. Then, you won’t be a prisoner in your ill-fitting clothing. 

3. Make sure, although it’s trying, that the laundry is placed in the correct drawers. If not, you WILL wear elementary girl tights to a work meeting. 

4. Having boys and girls are pretty much the same. It’s all chaos, and you are always yelling things like, “LET”S GO!” and “STOP YELLING!” and “IS EVERYONE BUCKLED UP AND WEARING UNDERWEAR?” 

So, the next time your child asks for book fair cash, just keep in mind all of those troll pencil toppers you bought back in the day, who, ironically, show their butt cheeks anyway.

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