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Spiraling Out of Control

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My son received a card in the mail from his new teacher welcoming him to 4th grade. The teacher included the much-anticipated supply list. Fortunately, I already have a good number of items on it (like the glue sticks and boxes of crayons I picked up for 20 cents each during my mid-summer buying frenzy). Unfortunately, the entire list was written in Spanish, so I have to take my son's translation at its word.

He's in a Spanish immersion program, the hope being that his early start will give him a good shot at learning the language).

The list renewed an argument my son and I started when school ended in June. He came home on his final day of school, pulled his ratty old notebook from his backpack, and began tearing out the pages that had been used. He told me he intended to reuse the notebook when school started up again. My blood ran cold. I may have mentioned before that my fondness for spiral-bound notebooks borders on being creepy. Little gives me as much pleasure as a brand-new notebook and its promise of words yet written. When I give my child a pristine notebook each fall, it symbolizes a fresh start to a new school year.

I told all of this to my son. He'd have none of it. He formed a rational argument about wasted paper and the need to protect our planet by recycling and reusing. I did what I always do when I sense I'm losing an argument to one of my children. "We'll discuss this another time," I said.

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