Guest Post: Pencil Me Out

June 10, 2016 by Jennifer Carsen

Today’s guest post is courtesy of Erin Carrozzo, an NYC mother of three and former (and hopefully future!) high school English teacher turned reluctant stay-at-home-mom. She enjoys reading, writing, the NY Mets, and avoiding housework.

I am increasingly worried my husband is going to come home one day and find me dead…under an avalanche of pencils.

When did we begin celebrating every occasion, every season, and every event with pencils? My oldest kid is in 5th grade, my middle in 3rd and my youngest in kindergarten. How many more years of pencil favors and exactly how many more pencils are we in for?

Just a quick count this week alone turned up 49—yes, FORTY NINE—pencils. And that was in one room. Toy Story, Star Wars, Chinese New Year, Disney Princess, Valentine, Happy Birthday, Halloween, Santa, scented, mechanical…even a Jesus pencil for Christ’s…uhh…for Pete’s sake!

Not too long ago, while preparing my son’s lunch for school, I discovered a small package of Cheez Doodles in his lunchbox from the day before. I asked him where it came from and he replied, “From my 100 Days party.” That must have jogged his memory because he then exclaimed, “Oh wait, Mommy, I forgot to show you what else we got…”

Yes, you guessed it.

A 100 Days pencil.

Did “100 Days” even exist 20 years ago? Two decades later, not only does it exist, but we also have a pencil to commemorate it.

When I was young, back in the ’80s, if I got a Hello Kitty pencil I was in love with that thing for months—maybe even a year; it had a place of honor in my Hello Kitty pencil box and I wore it down to the nub and prayed for the day someone would give out another cool pencil. Today, my kids can’t make it through Memorial Day without receiving three flag pencils each.

And how about the erasers attached to these pencils; a more useless addition to this writing implement I cannot imagine. They are worn down or break off in about an hour and a half, leaving me to purchase individual erasers to complement the pencils. Or more pencils. Because, of course, the kids won’t use the pencils that lack erasers.

In order for us to begin to get a handle on these rapidly multiplying cylinders of graphite, can we moms band together and call a moratorium on pencil favors…not forever, but maybe for about a year? In that time period, I’m going to have my entire family write lengthy diary entries and book reports every day (if need be, we’ll copy the Bible)…in pencil. Then we should be good to welcome the pencil deluge anew.

In the meantime, may I suggest practical alternatives to the pencil?

How about hair ties? In a house with two girls, we can never find a single one when we need it.

Maybe shin guards? That might eliminate my need to scream, “Where are your shin guards??” every Saturday morning moments before game-time.

Perhaps underwear? That could reduce the number of times I have to hear, “Mom, are you planning to do the laundry this week?!”

Possibly mini airline bottles of liquor? (Well, that’s really for me, I suppose.)

Maybe calendars where the kids could write down and keep track of their own sports practices, dance classes, piano lessons, play rehearsals, games, homework, quizzes, tests, and chores for the week? That way we wouldn’t always need to be scrambling around at the last minute whilst sweating and cursing on any given day. And it might preserve what’s left of my sanity; well, that and the airline bottles, of course. Yes, that’s it! Let’s do a calendar instead!

But wait…I think we’re probably going to need a pencil to go with it.

1 Comment

  1. Lisa says:

    Oh, the craziness of our lives!

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