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Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Book Fair Embarrassment

I love school book fairs! There is something about books that makes my heart go pitter patter. The thought of all those books to pick from excites me and I look forward to them all year long. The fall one is perfectly timed, the kids need books to read 20 minutes a day and this gives them a chance to pick out their very own books. Their choice doesn't always happen. I like to make sure they have a variety of reading material so sometimes I buy books that I "encourage" them to read.

My husband is not a book fair fan. Part of it is that he just doesn't understand how a book can be exciting. He is not a fan of reading and grudgingly reads only when he has to. When I say that he avoids reading I mean if you ask him to pass him a specific kind of salad dressing, lie ranch, he asks you what color the dressing is so he doesn't have to read the bottle. It is like he can make a conscious choice to read or not to read. To be fair I don't understand how he does that. Reading is so much a part of me that I don't think I could turn it off.

There are other reasons why he is not a book fair person. A big one is that books usually cost money. He does not like to spend money. Again to be fare we don't make a lot of money and there is always something we have to do without, a bill that we can't pay or a place we can't go to. Still I try to make sure we have plenty of books in the house. If I can get them at a discount even better.

He thinks we have too many books and doesn't understand why we need more. My philosophy is if they keep writing them I will keep reading them. I know I could go to the library but there is something I like about full book shelves at home. I love being surrounded by books.

Last night was the book fair at my daughter's school. She came home from school bouncing with anticipation for the event that evening. When I told her that we had to wait until 6 pm for it to open she cried because she didn't want to wait. Daddy and I both reassured her that we would take P and her to the fair when it opened. I think she spent most of the time watching the clock. When it was time to go both children were so excited.

We got to the school in just a few moments and pulled into the parking lot. Both B and P had their seat belts off and doors open before we could blink. They were off at top speed excitedly discussing what kind of books they wanted. This thrilled me because my son is not a lover of reading. I think if we didn't encourage him to read or if he didn't have to read 2o minutes a day for school that he would never open a book for enjoyment. To see him excited about reading brings joy to my heart.

Finally we got to the door and found the book fair. It was set up on the stage in the auditorium. With in moments both had books picked out. Of course the books they picked out were $12.00 books. Sadly we couldn't afford books that cost that much so I had to redirect them to books in our price range. I found one I liked for only $3.00. It was a non-fiction book filled with facts about the states. Yup, I'm a nerd and proud of it.

If you have been to a book fair then you know they don't only sell books. There are posters, pens, pencils, erasers, pointers, and all sorts of other fun non book items. These are things that we don't buy at book fairs. However the children always try to convince us that they just have to have a slime kit or a pair of mini drum sticks. Bonus, some of these items are the most expensive things at the book fair, double trouble for us.

After the kids picked out two books each they zero in on the contraband items that they know I'll say no to. I don't want to be the bad guy all the time, so I did what any sensible mommy would do, I sent them to daddy. After all he has all the money now. My son comes running up to me telling me that daddy said he could get the slime kit. Oh goodie I think! He is bouncing up and down and he is so excited. B has also convinced him to let her get a pencil with four erasers. We get in line, I have two books, each child has two books and one contraband item. So far no crying, so far no arguments. That was about to change.

Usually when I go to a book fair I buy bags of books, the spring sale is better because it is the buy one get one free sale. Still I have been known to buy a lot of books at both the fall and spring sales. This time I knew we were low on money and I only picked out two, only $8.00 worth of books. Many books I wanted stayed on the shelves. This was a sacrifice I was not used to making.

Daddy now notices Ps contraband item and asks him how much it is. Seriously, I would have asked the price before I agreed to buy it. Yikes it was $10.00 and there was no way we could afford it. Now tell any child that they can't have a promised item is difficult, but telling an child with asperger's after they are told they can get it is horrible. When daddy told him no the world ended. He was upset and frustrated, tears were streaming down his face. I tried to comfort him. Daddy unfortunately got mad. He called P a crybaby (I hate it when he calls the kids cry babies and I do tell him so).

Remember we are at my daughter's school with teachers, the new principal, parents and other students all around us. Daddy now is swearing and upset, then he notices that I have two books too and he goes ballistic. He now has dagger eyes focused on me and he is telling me how I am spending too much money, now the kids want these stupid extras and it never ends. He tells me how I have no sense of responsibility and we never should have come. Somehow I kept a calm voice and asked him to calm down. He was embarrassing me and people were starting to look.

The line slowly moved, he would storm out of the auditorium and then come back and yell at me in a hushed tone. I had no idea if he was going to pay so I pulled out a check. Big mistake! He was furious now, how dare I use that account, it was stealing (my name is on the account) and I had no right to it. He would pay he finally decided. As he paid he turned to me and announced loudly that we only had $3.00 left for the rest of the week and we didn't have any food.

Okay, I had $20.00 back home so I wasn't worried, we also have a freezer full of food as well as boxed and canned food in our cupboards. We were not going to starve. I think he is finally done and again I am wrong. He whisper yells at me as we walked out of the auditorium. No one can hear him but his body language spoke loudly. He wouldn't stop until we got home and then he only did because he had to go to work.

Today I looked through my books happy with my purchase. I thought to myself that the next book fair would be in the spring and hopefully I will have a steady job by then so I could avoid the argument that always had accompanied book fairs. Then my son came home from school and gives me his back pack. I take his folder out and open it. There glaring at me is an announcement - Book Fair and Ice Cream Social next week. This year the kids are in separate school and it never occurred to me that there would be separate book fairs. Oh oh, I'm in trouble!

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