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(something like this... but worse)

For the most part, I am new to all this parenting stuff.

Yes, I have 2 bonus children that we've had full time since they were 7 & 10. But Aaron is a totally hands on dad. Doctor's appointments, parent-teacher conferences, permission to hang out with friends or have sleepovers... it's all him.

Of course, I help out when and where I can. Being at home when they get home from school. Driving to soccer and volleyball. Pushing for piano lessons. And just being generally supportive of the best dad in the world. (He totally is).

But back to what this is really about. This post is really about back to school shopping. And backpacks. And how this is my first time taking a child- my actual child- to buy a backpack for his first year at school. Maxwell starts kindergarten in August, and while I am mentally and emotionally preparing myself for that HUGE event that might make me cry tears of joy and sorrow... really what I am focused on is "the backpack".

We talked about it-

Me: Oh my gosh Maxwell, you're getting so big, you're going to start kindergarten so soon and we'll take you to the store to buy loads of crayons, and colored pencils, and paper, a collegiate binder, tape, highlighters, pencils, erasers, medium ball point pens in black, a compass, a calculator, a pencil sharpener, and maybe... if you're lucky... a peechee. Oh, and you even get to pick out your own backpack! Yay!

But today, as I walked past the recently remodeled seasonal area of Target, and took a good look at the different backpacks Maxwell would be choosing from, I wished I had never said that.

What I should have said...

Me: blah, blah, blah... and I will pick out the cutest backpack ever just for you!

I called Aaron in a panic.

Me: You know which one he will choose. He's going to pick the Star Wars one, and that is so nerdy, and it has Darth Maul and Darth Vador on it- in 3D! It's so ugly. Don't you know we have to train our kids to like cute stuff? Don't you know that?? Help me!!! Help me!! Help meeeeeee!

Aaron: He probably will choose that one, and it will be great, and he'll love it, and we'll have awesome pictures of him with that backpack on his first day of kindergarten. Besides, there's no such thing as a Pottery Barn backpack.

Me: Actually... there is.

Aaron: Just let this one go. He's just a boy for cryin' out loud.

(He really uses the phrase "for cryin' out loud", in case you were wondering).

So, as a first time mother trying to navigate the waters of back-to-school life with her first born, do you have any advice for me? Like how to break down and actually buy an ugly Star Wars backpack? Cause I don't know if I can actually do it. I don't even know if I can send my kid to school. Maybe if he just doesn't go to school... then I won't have to buy...

I need serious help.
p.s. Is there such a thing as a cute Star Wars backpack? Or maybe Uncle Mikie can make him a super cool Zuriick/Star Wars backpack? I'm struggling here.


Anonymous said…
Can't help you here - Christian never did want a fun backpack or light up shoes or character shirts - oh no - he had to have a backpack chosen by him from Gap Kids for his kindergarten year and by 2nd grade he insisted on a Quiksilver one (which I saw a couple of my brothers friends using in High School). But Aaron's right - it will make for great photos and memories when he's about 12. Maybe you can sneak in a Pottery Barn one or at least a good ole Jansport???
Wendy said…
Taylor went with Grandma to get his first back pack for kindergarten last's red (a size to big in my estimation) with a huge 3D Darth Vader on it. From what I heard she tried to talk him out of it, but he could not be convinced of anything else. I think it's one of those rites of passage, your big enough to make this decision on your own. (Even if i don't like it!)
Jocelyn said…
We have a rule at our house. No characters/movie stars/tv cartoons on anything we wear or adorn our bedrooms. I always pick out 2 or 3 acceptable choices and THEN let the boys pick. I say set him all up with some star wars pencils or a folder or lunch box. This is still a struggle, everytime we buy shoes/clothes. Its really hard when every kid in school has spiderman this and pokemon than.
Kim Simpson said…
There will be like 20 other kids with that same backpack at school. I feel your pain. Why do they have to make character things so gotty and ugly. I gave in this year since my older one wanted one of the backpacks with wheels on it. Isn't there some sort of IQ requirement to have one of those?
Monica said…
Take him to a sports store instead of Target to pick out his backpack. They won't have Star Wars backpacks.Tell him this is where big boys get there backpacks.
Or you can suck it up and let him get what he wants. He won't always want the cheesey stuff. He has a good example of style.
Abby said…
He's going to look back when he's 30 at pictures of his very 1st day of school and say "Mom, why did you let me wear that backpack to school"

I vote NO on the star wars backpack, just go buy him a cute little jansport-he will be so cute!
meg said…
You could be my other half! I am the exact same way. I have always been very firm from when both my girls were little that we don't buy shoes with lights or characters on them. I make them happy by getting them HSM and Hannah Montana t-shirts that are cute {I can handle that}. I always take them to get school clothes first, and there are ususally tons of cute backpacks in the dept stores {without characters}. Ashlyn always gets so anxious to get one that I let her pick one there, then we are both happy. I agree with whoever said to let him pick some folders/pencils with his favorite characters!
Aimee said…
My rule when back to school shopping is no characters. The rule is set before going and I won't even discuss, look at or acknowledge a character backpack. End of story.
Okay, so I have been there with all of my boys and I say buy it for him! Sorry all of you others who disagree! I too have a firm rule against character crap on shoes and stuff, but I finally realized after Blake went to kindergarten, that the COOL kids do have the Star Wars and Ninja Turtle backpacks and the kids who had the cute Gap ones were so envious (my kid).

I finally broke down with my other boys and bought them those backpacks and they LOVED it! Just so you know, as they got older they grew out of wanting the lame stuff and they liked the "cool" things that I liked too. So my advice is, let him have it! He will think you are the greatest mom and every kid in school will think it is awesome. He will grow out of it, I promise!
grandma jojo said…
o.k. i have to put my two cents in.
1) it's kindergarten
2) it's a backpack

(i'm with aaron on this one). let it go. max will love his backpack. he will love school. he has plenty of time to pick plain backpacks, and he will. i just wish i was there to go "back" to school shopping with him.
Don't you want Max to cherish one of his childhood memories: remember what he had a choice at least once in his lifetime: back pack? I even remember I was so excited to have a Brady Bunch Metal Lunch box.

He eventually will change his interested in a year or two. (I soon will post about my kids' bedroom theme.)
Alifinale said…
You are a crack up. I say now that I don't want to ever buy the Star Wars back pack - but I actually think it is funny and will make him so happy. So, as long as he isn't sporting a Darth Vader shirt along with the backpack I think it will be ok.
Deby said…
There are so few decisions that you can make for yourself when you are little - you should let him pick his backpack. He will think you are the best mother EVER. His friends new and old will gaze longingly at his amazingly cool backpack. And I can pretty much guarantee that by the time he goes to college, he won't want character backpacks anymore. :)
grandma jojo said…
two more cents worth: i can't believe that is my daughter aimee saying no character "things" for her girls. maybe not now. but that wasn't always the case. come on. give me a break. you have to pick your battles and is this really something you want to battle over? it's a non-issue in a world of SO many issues. i think i am going to buy all of my grandchildren the most hideous of backpacks for back to school this year!!! if that is what they want that is.
Hol said…
Aunt Joie and Aunt Jenny talked to day at church and I agree with their final decision. Let Max pick his own backpack and express his individuality. He is going to kindergarten. Think forward 4 years, Max will have already lived half of his time with you guiding him. Think of all the things that he will ask your advice on then because you let him be himself now. You are a super mom!! Choose your battles wisely.
Anonymous said…
Why can't I just choose it! I want a star wars backpack too, is that so wrong?! Jansport is for nerds!
Anonymous said…
That was from Parker by the way
Jenn N. said…
I say let him get the Star Wars backpack. Summer loves her Lightning McQueen shoes and Spiderman hat. As much as I can't stand them I know she feels so cool.
Neva said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
Neva said…
Well, all I have to say about this is that you had Strawberry Shortcake, Cinderella, Cabbage Patch Etc, and you turned out cool and with good taste except for that thing on your fireplace.
Let Max feel good about himself when he starts school with a cool
Starwars backpack. Don't make him be the laughing stock with some lame old backpack. It's all about fitting in, remember? Please let Aaron or me take him shopping for a backpack or give Max your credit card and let him buy it all by himself.
Stephanie said…
I'm so sorry... just know that we all know what backpack he would have had had you been able to choose.
Aimee said…
Ok mom, here is my deal with character backpacks...

1. They are usually REALLY ugly and tacky.

2. Half way through the year they will be over whatever character it is that they chose and HATE the item. It was after such an episode that I stopped allowing characters.

3. How do you draw the line? I hate Bratz and each and every one of my daughters at some point in their life has asked for a Bratz back pack. No freaking way.

Parker, I dare you to go to school with a Star Wars back pack.....I double dog dare you.
grandma jojo said…
mandee, did you think this post would generate such a heated debate? what a crack up. and parker i triple dog dare you!
grandma jojo said…
what the heck is on your fireplace that is so distasteful? have i missed something?
Rachie said…
Oh, I feel your pain. I dread the age where the twins begin picking out their own gear.

I like the iead of giving him 3 approved choices.

The other part of me says "who cares? If it makes him happy..."

Good Luck and may the force be with you.
grantmom6 said…
So, when my first 5 kids were little they didn't have character backpacks, so the cool ones were the Jansport that would last more than just one year. When Connor came around, I too resisted the "character"...although his character of choice was Superman. I even asked a much younger Mom if all the kindergartners used this kind and she assured me that yes that is what they used now. The lunch pail is another issue. I remember having one (can't think of which tv show it was), but it was just like the one this ugly boy in my class had. Half of the time he would take mine home and I'd have to go over to his house after school to switch. YUCK!!!
Likely said…
Don't do it. You'll regret it. He'll regret it. I'll regret it.

Just buy him a pee-chee that he can fold into quarters and stick in his back pocket. No backpack needed.

Seriously though, I have mentioned pee-chees to numerous people over the years and they have NO IDEA what I am talking about. I love that you do my little Bakersfield friend. Maybe it was just a Bakersfield thing? Have you ever seen them in any stores anymore?

I am going to google them right now.
Likely said…
Here ya go:

Apparently Mead doesn't make them anymore. You have to bid for them on Ebay.

Maybe they are on moratorium.
Heather said…
So here is what Chloe has picked out so far:

1) A HSM T Shirt
2) A Littlest Pet Shop backpack
3)Hanna Montana shoes (I really tried to talk her out of them - but they'll wear out in a few months anyway.)

Will you still be my sister-in-law?
Sara said…
My mom has gotten a bunch of Thomas the train and Lightning McQueen shirts for Mason. I probably wouldn't have bought them myself, but he seriously loves them! He is always so excited to wear them. Sometimes I veto his choice and make him wear something else if it totally doesn't match, but other times I say who cares! It's him being him and for some reason it makes him happy because 1) he chose to wear it 2) he's proud of it.

I've decided I don't care what other people think if they see him wearing his Thomas shirt with matching pants because I don't know them and they don't know my gem of a son. So for me, who cares?
Summer said…
You are hilarious!!! I cant wait to see to stars wars back pack! Poor Braiden, he will want one too when he sees Max's, but he will have to settle for a hand-me-down from Preston.

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