Well, it’s mid September and school is back in full swing! No more lazy days and late nights for this family. We are back on the familiar schedule of, early to bed and early to rise. Now that we are back, homework, book reports and projects are starting to add up.

I did the usual back to school shopping this year. New shoes for everybody, new uniform pants and tops, new haircuts and of course loads of school supplies! Typically, I do my shopping for school supplies when the kids are not with me. This way, I can buy the plain red spiral notebook for $.50 as opposed to the “cool” one for $3.25. I can buy four boxes of the cheap, yellow, wooden pencils, for the price of I box of the more expensive mechanical ones, you get the idea. This year, for lack of better judgement, I took Caleb and Cassady with me to Wal-Mart to let them pick out what they thought they needed to have a successful school year.

With their wish list in hand, we made our way to the school supply isle. They needed notebooks, three ring binders, loose leaf paper, dividers, Compass and protractor, graph paper, red pens, blue pens, black pens, back packs, book covers, scientific calculators, and of course pencils, lots of pencils. As we worked our way to the end of the list, I realized that I had not stayed within budget (I hate that word!). Our cart was piling up and so was the cost! As I walked down the isle toward the pencils, Caleb picked up a bag of mechanical pencils and said, “mom, can I have these instead.” “why can’t you just use these wooden pencils? I said. “They are a lot cheaper and you can have more that way.” “I don’t really like those mom”, he said “I just like the mechanical ones better. They’re always sharp and everybody uses them, please?” “ok”, I said, and I motioned for him to put them in the cart.

All I could think of was, if Devin was here he would tell Caleb to get over it, and that the old fashioned, yellow, wooden pencils would work just fine. BUT, he wasn’t with us and what he don’t know won’t hurt him ;-).

By the time school started, they were ready from head to toe with backpacks full of supplies and tummies full of butterflies!

[Fast forward with me two weeks]

Last night as the kids were getting ready for bed, Caleb says, “oh mom, are you going to Wal-Mart tomorrow, because I need new pencils” “what?” I said, “I just bought you new pencils, remember? I bought you an entire pack of the mechanical pencils….so all you need is lead, right?” He kinda got this sick look on his face and said, “no, I need more pencils, not just lead.” I could not believe this kid was asking me for more pencils already! What did he do, eat them?

I began to question him further. “Did you lose them?”, I asked. “How on earth can you lose all of your pencils in one week?” With a sheepish look on his face he said, “I didn’t lose them, I bartered with them.” “Bartered!” I said, ” what do you mean? Why?” “Well”, he said, “we have been studying about bartering in history class so Coach Isaacs told us we were gonna have a bartering day in class and for us to bring something to barter, so I bartered my pencils.”

Unbelievable! You can’t make this stuff up!

“Well, what did you get in return?” I asked. “Candy”, he said, “Twizzlers, Starbursts, Dum Dums and marshmallows. But now I don’t have any pencils.” “sure you do”, I said, “there are plenty of the plain, yellow, wooden ones over there in the drawer!”

At least now he understands the concept of bartering!

Next year I’m just gonna buy him a $5.00 bag of candy and let him barter for all of his school supplies!