Pens, pencils, erasers: Where do they all go?

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A note came home from my daughter’s school the other day. Us mums and dads have been asked to double check our kids have the stationery they need as many are “lacking essential items” such as pens, pencils and erasers.

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Pens, pencils, erasers, rulers in fact, all stationery. What exactly do children do with this stuff and how does it vanish so quickly?

On reading this I thought: “Quelle surprise.” Despite regularly buying pencils, pencil sharpeners, rulers, specialist handwriting pens and so on, I can never, ever find this stuff when it’s time for Helen to settle down and do her homework.

A couple of years ago, I even bought Helen a beautiful, old-fashioned swing-top school desk. The idea was that stationery would be stored inside it and mum, dad and both daughters would know where stationery could be found.

Needless to say, this didn’t really come to pass. More often than not, I find the desk is rammed full of scrap paper and dried-up felt tip pens that lost their lids a long, long time ago.

Every time I call out: “Come on Helen, time to do your homework” she will sit down. I then ask where her school bag is.

This, of course, is my attempt at encouraging independence. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t and I end up helping her look for her bag.

This, however, is only the start of proceedings. Once the bag has been located, we have to find a usable pen or pencil.

Simply finding a pen or pencil, that’s the easy bit. It’s finding a suitable one that’s the tough bit.

Every pencil will be blunt. The hunt then has to begin for a pencil sharpener. Our house, at various times, has been flooded with the things but can I locate one when needed?

Of course not. I’ve even found pencil sharpeners that I’ve bought for the kids in Mrs Adams’ make-up bag because she’s been using them to sharpen eye-liner pencils.

As for pens, I mean where do they do go? Whenever a pen enters this house, I generally swipe it and place it in a special hiding place in my desk.

In theory I have a massive arsenal of pens in various dark colours ready for use at all times. I should be able to call upon this arsenal when Helen needs one for her homework. In my collection today, I have one tacky little biro on my desk, my beloved Cross roller ball having gone missing.

Oh, well there is one other pen. In fact, the other day it put me in an awkward position.

I had to sign some official paperwork that will enable kids to have new passports. I reached across my desk, picked up what looked like a black pen and placed my signature on the paperwork. It didn’t look quite right so I took a closer look and realised I’d signed the forms using a purple glitter pen.

“Too late,” I thought, “I’m not filling in that lot again.”

The paperwork was duly dispatched with my purple, glittery signature. I just hope the officials dealing with it find my error amusing and don’t reject the application out of hand.
A quick word of warning to anyone reading this who doesn’t have school-aged children. In this age of austerity, times have changed.

Aside from the very earliest years, you have to buy your kids stationery. Apart from books, schools don’t supply this stuff any more.

Anyway my friends, do you have the same issues in your household? Does stationery do some kind of crazy disappearing act as soon as it arrives? Please tell me I’m not the only one?


6 thoughts on “Pens, pencils, erasers: Where do they all go?”

  1. Oh, how true. I have vase that I use for pens, etc. I fill it and within days it’s empty again. And, apparently, no one else goes in it. You often hear a heart-rending cry in our house of ‘pen, pen where for art thou, pen!’

  2. This always happens to me…I once bought a pack of 20 pens, used ONE of them and couldn’t find the rest. That’s still an unresolved mystery!

    1. Oh Helen, I had a very similar experience with a pack of pencils. I simply don’t understand how they can all do a disappearing act.

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