Wednesday, March 21, 2012

A host of thoughts from spring to book fairs to appropriate clothing plus a contest!

It's been a month since I last posted, which is about three weeks too long. I have my excuses: we moved my husband up to Boston to settle him into his new job (the rest of the family is following in the summer), I work part time and I began writing up 15 preschool assessments (I made sure I wrote a paragraph about each and every kid because having your 3 yo attend school for the first time is a huge step and a typical "he's doing great" ain't gonna cut it). Earlier this month, I ran an elementary school Scholastic Book Fair and worked it for 7 days...but now I have settled down and found time to write.

I love books. Working the book fair was fun, rewarding, time consuming and made me realize how awesome my kids are when I wasn't home as much as I usually am. I found many new books to read like Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper which you can buy here, got to know many of the teachers that I only knew by sight before this and loved watching childrens' faces light up when they'd walk through the bookfair to use the restroom or go outside. I only had two small issues with Scholastic. One: I asked for Hunger Games because children and adults were requesting it. I was told it's too adult for that grade level so it wasn't going to come. However (this being my second issue) they found it appropriate to send stickers that said, "What happens on Facebook stays on Facebook" and "Does this sticker make my notebook look fat?" Um, hello? "Legally" you have to be a teenager to use Facebook and these kids are 11 at the oldest. And the fat comment was uncalled for, makers-of-that-sticker. You have girls entering puberty in 4th and 5th grade and who may already feel they are fat or are uncomfortable with their changing bodies, and you want to call MORE attention to that? But, being the avoid-conflict type of person I am I just didn't put the stickers out and left the email about Hunger Games alone.

Then I read the following blog, I "like" their FB page, and am now going to write my Scholastic representative an email, a nice and courteous one, about how they contradicted themselves. I urge you to read Pigtail Pals blog about Sears. Especially if you have a daughter and are having issues buying her clothing that isn't revealing or has inappropriate sayings on the shirts. This leads me into the next item of business...

Since winter just up and left and late spring took it's place, I saved a bit of money as I didn't  need to buy my children spring jackets. We went from winter coats, to no jackets at all at the bus stop in the morning. This also means allergies, mowing in March but I'll take it even though I love and miss the snow.
With spring and having three children going through growth spurts I have to buy new clothes for each of them! Boys are relatively easy. Dark shorts, plain/sport/college t-shirts, a few golf-like shirts for special events, church etc but my daughter was harder.

First, I went to a local consignment shop and scored there. I found some nice comfy shorts, cotton Land's End dresses, t-shirts with butterflies on them that weren't too tight or revealing but she needed some more. My second clothing trip, I went to my standby, KOHL'S, where I found zero--for me and her. The adult styles are all flowers or large print shirts--some have a cropped 1980s look about them--and others were just plain busy, for me, in their pattern. My daughter's clothing however was a disaster. If it didn't have sequins, low neck lines or was cropped, it was tight fitting, had pictures of stars she doesn't even like or wasn't her simple, comfortable, sporty style. I scored a pack of 3 undershirts and that was it.

Next was our local store, BOSCOV'S (kind of like a JC Penney's with a furniture and toy section). Same issue there on the clothing although they had a nice, but expensive, selection of Adidas shorts and Levi tshirts. I bought two t-shirts and a pair of shorts because she needed stuff ASAP. However, some of the shorts were short-shorts. VERY short shorts. This was in the size 7-14 area.

I ranted a bit on my FB page about it then during one soccer practice I had an hour, so I went to KMart. Usually, I stay away for reasons I won't get into on here, BUT I scored on clothing. $80 worth of clothing! They had bermuda shorts, comfy, stylish shirts that had a simple tie in the back, capris without all the bling or ripped look...you get the point.

As hard as it is to find clothing that I feel is appropriate for my children, I know it can be hard to find books that appeal to younger boys and girls. The most often asked question at the book fair was "what do you recommend for my son? He's 13." Well, we weren't selling Transcendent: Tales of the Paranormal there so I recommended Maze Runner, Out of My Mind, some James Patterson Young Adult novels and a few others that our book fair didn't have.

So, my message is this. Take the time to search for what you think is appropriate, because what you do now will take root and influence them in the future.

Those of you who took the time to read the title will notice I didn't mention a contest yet :-) Well, here we go. It's odd. I have something that pertains to my book that was hand made, a necklace, but I didn't want the usual "be first to comment here" or "if you can prove you bought two copies you win" type of contests. In addition to the necklace, you'll receive two books, Out of My Mind and a signed copy of Transcendent. Instead, I would love for you to do some research. Look for a book, card or item of clothing (in a store or online) that you'd never buy your child. By child I mean something you'd see in the "young adult" section in a book store or the size babies-juniors section of a retail store. Take a picture and send it to me or post it here, on my Facebook page here or provide the link in the comments section and tell us why you wouldn't purchase the item.

How will I pick a winner? Well, I have someone lined up who is well versed on this issue. Melissa, founder of Pigtail Pals, has graciously accepted the challenge to find the worst example of advertising/clothing etc for children so she will be seeing the links/pictures you post. This contest starts now and will run for about two weeks! Take this time to do some online shopping, use your new iPhone to take a photo of that horrible book or card or t-shirt at the store. The winner will receive the handmade necklace, pictures to come, and a copy of one of my new favorite-must-read-books for everyone Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper. Oh, and of course, a signed copy of Transcendent: Tales of the Paranormal! Please make sure you leave some contact information if you post your entry into the contest.

Thanks for reading!