Red-Letter Day

One of the highlights of first-grade life is the Great Crayon Replacement. A couple of months into the school year, that starter box of crayons is starting to look like a scrap of cardboard with a few naked, colorful stumps.

Little Brother was coloring a shark picture after dinner tonight when he announced that he was allowed to bring a 24-pack of crayons to school now. He was a very happy guy. I told him that I’d go down to the basement and get him a box of crayons to put in his schoolbag.

Little Brother had other ideas.

He took the nice, new 64-box of crayons that was just opened a week or so ago (I try to hide the school supplies until they’re really needed, but the lure of the New Green and Yellow Box is irresistible to grade-schoolers and middle-schoolers alike). Then he started counting out all his favorites.

He has pretty good taste in colors. Like me, he goes for the interesting name. Why take plain old “purple” when you can have “purple mountain majesty?” Who settles for “green” when there’s “granny smith apple?”

His teacher runs a pretty tight ship, though, and I was concerned that she might not appreciate the Little Brother Sandwich Bag of 24 Great Crayons. I figured that at least he should have the basic colors in there, so I started quizzing him on whether there was red, orange, black, and brown in his selection.

We were doing fine until we got to yellow. “I don’t need yellow,” he claimed. “I’ll just use yellow-green.”

“That’s not the same,” I answered. “What if you have to color something like the sun, or a star?”

He finally conceded that yellow would be a good addition to his set of colors, and happily zipped up his little sandwich bag of crayons and put it in his schoolbag.

And now we have a 40-box of crayons sitting here, with no good colors left in it, and plenty of empty spaces. No one’s going to use that now. I’m sure they’ll start tearing apart the basement looking for another 64-box, which I don’t happen to have down there. (And if I did, do you think I’d tell them that?)

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