I knew it was time to give up when, after the first day of school, I found him taping blank sheets of paper over the page dividers of last year's spiral-bound notebook. I asked him what he was doing. "Covering up all this stuff I drew in 3rd grade," he said. "The pictures are just so...you know, bright. And this way I'll have plenty of room to write down the names of my new subjects." What he wasn't saying was he thought his old drawings were babyish and he didn't want any of the other kids seeing them.
I considered pointing out that he wouldn't have to bother with the cover-up if he'd just let me buy him a new notebook, but in the end, I kept my mouth shut. My son has 10 months ahead of him of having to do what he's told. The least I can do is accept his decision about what notebook he uses. So what if it's not something I would start the year with? That recycled notebook is a statement of his own values, not his mother's