Hoarders: The School Edition

Last week was parent-teacher conferences at the boys’ elementary school. Ahhh, conferences. A time to discuss your child’s insistence on having everything HIS WAY (*cough* Boy #3), see a myriad of test scores and more test scores (I’m lookin’ at you, No Child Left Behind!) โ€” and snoop in your kid’s locker (not necessarily endorsed by the school).

First on the schedule was Boy #3. Why is it that Boy #1 and Boy #2 would have never DREAMED of throwing a tantrum in class (which in no way implies they exhibited the same proper behavior at home), but my last kid, you know, the one who’s supposed to be “easy-going” and “laid back,” leaped into Lake Tantrum with both feet? Fortunately, Boy #3’s teacher is a real gem and she really gets kindergartners, and boy kindergartners in particular. So although his conference was unlike any other conference I’d attended, it was still very positive, constructive and encouraging. At least Boy #3 seems to have the academics down, so we just need to tackle that social part of school and he’ll be good to go. (Thank God we didn’t send him when he was 5!)

On the way out of the classroom, I spied Boy #3’s locker and said, “Is it okay if I check his locker real quick before I go?” I had suspicions that at least one jacket was camped out in there, forgotten after a cold-morning-but-warm-afternoon day.

But when I opened the locker door, I realized I was not prepared for what I would find. There were several hanging on hooks and several on the floor, and they were all Boy #3’s. I was not only unprepared mentally for what I would find, but unprepared physically too. My face flushed as I passed a family in the hall, my arms loaded up with sweatshirts, jackets and mittens.

As I walked by the office en route to the parking lot, I noticed two long tables, beside which hung a huge sign: “Parents! If it’s not at home, it’s probably here. Please check our Lost & Found!” I felt my stomach sink as I glanced at the orphaned clothing items on display. Oh, how I didn’t want to, but I knew I had to stop.

The first thing that caught my eye was a navy blue jacket with “ENGLAND” printed across the front. An unusual jacket, and coincidentally, one that I had just found at a local thrift store for Boy #2. Hmm…what are the odds that someone else has this same jacket, I wondered. But when I spotted another sweatshirt of Boy #2’s, I knew that both jackets belonged to my kid. As did the stocking cap with a “C” on it. As did the navy blue gloves with the orange flames. As did the OTHER sweatshirt.

Since my arms were already full before, you can imagine the sight I made after adding the Lost & Found rescues to my pile. I shuffled to my van, barely able to see above the mountain of outerwear I was carrying, in what can only be described as “The Walk of Shame.” As other parents passed by me, I could imagine the thoughts running through their heads. Thoughts like, “What have her kids been wearing at home?” and “I’m so glad I’m not her” and “Call the police, this lady’s been looting at the Lost & Found!”

But, as you can imagine if you’re at all familiar with my life, it gets better, folks.

Yep, remember I had only raided Boy #3’s locker and the Lost & Found. I hadn’t yet made it to Boy #2’s locker.

Winter coat? Check.

Fall jackets in several different weights? Check.

Beach towel? Check.

Winter coat that’s two sizes too big because you had left all your other coats at school and so had to wear your older brother’s coat because there was frost on the ground and your mom didn’t want to get turned in to DHS for sending her kid to school without proper weather attire? And, check.

Think I’m exaggerating? Do 16 coats, 2 pairs of gloves, 1 single glove, 2 hats and 1 beach towel lie?

Am I the only one? Or is anyone else raising a brood of hoarders?


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