The Back to School ABCs (According to ODNT)

If you like this post, be sure to check out its 


With so many brands named, I should’ve been PAID to write this post.


A is for Alarm Clock. The two of you haven’t spoken all summer. And suddenly you realize you’re going to be facing off with that bitch every morning for the next nine and a half months.

B is for Bookbag. These days, you can choose between backpack-style (which, because they’re so heavy, will slowly stunt your child’s growth) or rolling (so your kid can look like he’s racing across a busy airport to catch the red eye to Phoenix). Honestly, I never even used a book bag. I used an oversized rubber band (which doubled as a pretty powerful weapon) to get the job done in Nineteen-Eighty-Before-There-Was-Fire.

C is for Contact Paper. You’ll need it to cover workbooks, assemble special projects and repair folders, novels and notebooks. Oh, and did I mention that if you haven’t already purchased it that you’ll soon be racing around town to at least a half a dozen stores, fruitlessly, only to realize that you’re screwed and you now need to order it online? (And how exactly do you think I know this?)

D is for Duct Tape. Because their school shoes will inevitably fall apart when you can count the remaining days of the year on your fingers and toes. And you’d rather send your kid to school looking like trailer trash than purchase new ones so late in the year. (Gosh, I hope no one who calls themselves ‘trailer trash’ is reading right now. Which would be insane because WHO would actually call themselves trailer trash AND be able to read?)

E is for Erasers. No matter how many you have right now, it’s not enough. Your kid is way dumber than you think. He’s going to make mistakes the likes of which you could never predict. Plus, apparently it’s super fun to erase. So, go. Go get more. Now. They’re like 45 for a dollar. We’ll wait.

F is for Food. Lots of it. In the most overprocessed, orange-powder-covered, pre-packaged, single-serving forms you can find. Sure, all that convenience adds up. And, yes, it’s not always the healthiest option. But you’ll thank me when when you realize you need to pack a lunch in fifteen seconds because one of the kids sees that the cafeteria calendar says Shepherd’s Pie.

G is for Goo, as in Shoe Goo. For those more discerning than the duct tape people mentioned above. (“More discerning” = you buy name brand Cheetos)

H is for Haircut. School pictures are just around the corner and you want them to look clean and fresh in the yearbook. Also, accept now that picture day is likely the only day they’ll look clean and fresh all year. (See “S” below. You should learn to love dirt. Embrace it even. Dirt is your friend.)

I is for Ice Pack. Not for your kids. (Duh.) For you. For when they have so much freakin’ homework that you work with them for hours and find yourself going to bed with a splitting headache from the math you had to reteach yourself and then somehow explain to your kid. Patiently.

J is for Jelly. And peanut butter. Unless your kid is allergic. Then you need to find something else that pairs well with jelly. Like ham. Or cream cheese. Or maybe just more jelly. And buys tons of all of it because you’ll be slapping that shit together at warp speed a lot in the morning.

K is for Kleenex. Dear God, don’t forget the Kleenex. If just ONE kid uses it, isn’t it totally worth the effort?

L is for Lunch Kit. ‘Cause they need something in which to tote the Bologna Pizza Lunchables to and from school. When I was a kid, we called them (rusty, dented metal, Donny & Marie) lunch boxes. “Lunch Kit” makes it sound like something you buy with the food already in it. (God, wouldn’t that be awesome?)

M is for Milk Money. Of course, today they can also get three different kinds of juice, bottled water, whole milk, 2% or chocolate. (What the hell kid isn’t getting chocolate milk every day, by the way?)

N is for Nail Scissors. Keeping things under control here is one of the best ways to avoid bringing a DNA sample of each child in your kid’s class into your home. I truly pity those of you with nail biters. Just think of what they’re ingesting. And contracting. And bringing home to YOUR immune system.

O is for Os, as in Cheerios, Eggos, Honey Nut Toasty Os, etc. Curiously, any food that ends in O is sure to make a great breakfast on school mornings. It’s fast, your kids will love it and they can even make it for themselves. (Yes, I am fully aware that Spaghetti-O, Oreo and Dorito end in O. Check the above criteria and tell me they don’t fit in perfectly.)

P is for Patience. You’ll need silos of it … when they come home saying things like “I didn’t think it would be on the test,” “But Mrs. Delery only said for HENRY to stop doing it,” and “SHE kicked ME in the stomach first!”

Q is for Quinoa. I like to keep some on hand to set out on the kitchen counter to create the illusion that it’s a staple in my family’s diet when we have friends over to play. It helps make the other mothers feel inferior to you and allows you to laugh condescendingly and say things like “We use it in everything” and “I just got tired of feeding my kids so much toxic poison.” NOTE: Be aware of this foreign word’s pronunciation (ˈkēnwä) as you will not sound superior but rather like a jackass if you go with the more pedestrian version (kwin-OH-ah) that I threw around for years.

R is for Reasons. Your kid is going to be late for school, forget his homework and act out once in a while. And “We got caught in traffic,” “The dog ate it,” and “It wasn’t ME!” just aren’t cutting it anymore. So, my advice is to get cracking now. It’s early in the year and there’s plenty of time to start crafting some unique and original excuses for the teachers. Once written, you need to drill your kids with recitations until they can utter these new story lines without tears or laughter. Only then will they be bulletproof when problems arise.

S is for Scrunchies and other hair accessories. Yes, it’s hot in August. And, yes, it’s a good idea to keep her hair out of her eyes. But mostly it’s the best defense you have against a lice outbreak at school. That and dirty hair plastered with lots of hair spray. Not that I would have ANY idea what I’m talking about here. (cough)

T is for Tide Pens. (Okay, where’s my endorsement money?) Because at the end of the day their clothing is going to look like a crime scene of unidentifiable stains. And you’re not going to want to do laundry every day. This magic stick buys you the time you need as a human being between spaghetti stains, Kool-aid catastrophes and blood baths. (Fine. Maybe not BLOOD baths.)

U is for underarm deodorant. I thought about suggesting uniforms, umbrellas or even unconditional love. But I’m sticking with underarm deodorant. If your kid is in middle school or even getting close to it, do his teacher a solid and buy some today. There’s never been a better time to try it. (Still need convincing? Offer to sub one afternoon following recess. It’s worse than peeling onions.)

V is for Virus Prevention. In whatever form you can get. Purell, Lysol, hand soap, tissues, flu shots, whatever. Just buy it, please, and use it. I do NOT want whatever your kid is peddling. ‘Case, you know, MY kids are always the innocent victims.

W is for washable. Anything that comes with this label is your friend. Case in point – Let’s say your kid comes home with colorful streaks all over her shirt.

  • Scenario A – After learning it’s her washable markers … You: (sigh) Take off your shirt and put it on the washer. I’ll go spray it down. And wash it. Again. (sigh) … OR …
  • Scenario B – After learning it’s her indelible Sharpies … You: Holy shit. I mean … Shoot! Well, NO! I shouldn’t have said that, but this isn’t about ME! What were you thinking? … You know what? I don’t even care. Just take the damned shirt off and put it in the trash. Or wait, put it with the rags so we can be reminded of this moment every time we clean the son of a mother … $&@%#!! … What were you THINKING?”

X is for Xylophone. Yeah, I know. This one seems weird. But not in MY house. Because, for the past two years, my girl has lugged her instrument (the LARGEST one in the band, thank you very much) into the school with either Dave’s or my assistance and left it in a special place to pick up for her lesson. Because she couldn’t navigate the halls with her heavy book bag AND this oversized musical behemoth. NOTE: New parents, start introducing your toddlers to toy trumpets and flutes now. They’re much more portable. Ooh, or a piccolo. Seriously, it looks like a damned pencil.

Y is for Yellow Highlighters. Trust me when I say if you try to replace your boy’s dried out highlighter with a pink one you may as well be asking him to go to school wearing your old prom dress. Avoid this disaster and keep some (androgynous) yellow on hand.

Z is for Ziplocs. They make great snack holders, lost tooth biohazard receptacles and school supply organizers. In a pinch, they can even serve as starter wallets on days where there are bake sales, book fairs and other money-gobbling festivities. But don’t be surprised if they come back home some days filled with playground rubber, bug collections or some half-eaten snack that you are absolutely positive you didn’t send to school with your child that day.

Feel free to share with friends … because blog posts are like germs.

They’re at their best when contagious and spread around.


read to be read at

30 responses to “The Back to School ABCs (According to ODNT)

  1. As far as letter D, how about those check your email dudes. They were pretty literate (they knew their whites and reds at least!)
    I have some retro lunch boxes; I really need to start using them. Especially the thermos. Especially for cocktails – perfect for mixing!

  2. Like much of my college experience, my school supplies could be reduced to BS – booze, sunglasses.
    What did you think I meant?

    by the way, this would have been an excellent writing exercise for your kids to get them back in the mindset.

  3. Oh, Guap, once again, you have struck classroom gold! Michele, you and Guap have a winner on your hands, and my middle schoolers have a new team builder! Have I thanked y’all today for inspiring me, yet again?
    So happy to orbit your blogosphere!

  4. Great list! This ramped up my already mounting anxiety about being prepared for the new school year. My daughter is going into 2nd grade and I’m dreading the increasingly heavy loads of homework that I’ll have to help with. That was boring when I was in school, now I have to do it again??? Bleeccchh

  5. Baaahhh kids are expensive!

  6. Such a fun list and great idea for a blog post!

  7. S could also be for sand. Why is there so much sand in his shoes and pockets? WHY?

  8. I don’t have kids, but I do wash out Ziploc bags and reuse them. They are GOLD.

  9. truthfullydotca

    E is my favourite. Especially as a teacher.

  10. nineteen-eighty-before-there-was-fire…OMG – Love this line! And since I’m EVEN OLDER, I can totally relate. With The Tater going to kindergarten in 2 weeks, I’m freaking out because it’s starting all over!! Holy Crap, I need a margarita! Love your stuff, and that’s why I’m giving you the Versatile Blogger Award ~ Carry on!

  11. I just reread this post and Laughed out loud at every letter….I am so not ready – holy toledo I need 2 margaritas! Thanks again!

  12. OMG! Sofaking fabulous! I am amending my shopping list as we speak. God bless you ODNT!

  13. Excellent. I especially love that you apologize for the trailer trash comment and then remind us all ain’t not trailer trash be readin’ blogs. I am a teacher and when I student taught kindergarten, I used to say I was going to force every girl to wear her hair back whether she wanted it or not. Beyond lice and grossness, when your hair is all in your face, you just can’t think straight! Now I teach middle school and I’m too busy worry about which body parts are exposed to even notice their hair.

  14. I love it! Will definitely share.

  15. Stopping by from the Blog Hop! Thanks for the laugh before I go to bed. I loved this post! I know a few people who will get a kick out this 🙂

  16. I love it! I’m currently doing the A-Z of relentless mothering.. great minds think alike! 🙂 new follower via the TGIF blog hop

  17. OMG Q slayed me! Hahaha!
    Great list!

  18. You need to make an iBook out of this!

  19. Hahahah. GREAT list. I will have to bookmark this for future reference for when my daughter is school age. I definitely always have duct tape on hand. That is as much of a staple in our house as toilet paper. There is nothing duct tape can’t fix. And if you run out of toilet paper…yeah I don’t know where I was going with that…Also, loved Q is for Quinoa. I never liked it much but I started cooking with it lately because it’s really easy, it’s healthy, and I feel damn great about myself when I make it. Did I mention that it’s EASY?! Plus, my baby can “chew” it, and any food that I don’t have to puree is my friend

  20. You had me until Jelly. With ham. Ham??? Really? Cream cheese – all day long. Ham. Not so much. 😉
    Glad to find you on the hop! Tracy @

  21. What a clever post, I love this!!! And, yest, I relate to all the of the letters, especially K for Kleenex and V for virus. Not looking forward to the barrage of colds that come with a new school year!! Thanks for such a fun read!

  22. Pingback: The Back to School ABCs. Or Blues. Whatever. | OldDogNewTits

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s