The Joys Of Back-to-school Shopping

Empty Holy Nativity uniform shelves TANNYA JOAQUIN PHOTO

Empty Holy Nativity uniform shelves TANNYA JOAQUIN PHOTO

Back-to-school shopping — what an experience!

My smiling kids proudly tried on their new uniforms and chose their favorites in anticipation of their first day at a new school.

OK, who am I kidding?! That’s what I envisioned when I planned our uniform shopping excursion the weekend before school started.

Here’s what really happened: I arrive with my son and daughter and ask to be pointed to the Holy Nativity uniform section. Hmmm, this couldn’t be right. The shelves are empty. I mean bare. Think the bottled water section before Iselle and Julio.

Stress starts to build as I scold myself and wonder how I could have let this happen. The nice sales clerk senses my desperation and says we can order, but I know it will not arrive in time for the school year.

Wait, what’s this I see in the corner of my eye? One white polo shirt — a size too big for my son, but with no other option, it’s a blessing. So I will have to wash his white shirt every night, I think. I can do this. At this same moment, my son discovers a whole bin of Holy Nativity P.E. uniforms. Score!

We grab three sets.

Then, on to the tougher part. My 2-year-old daughter. We tried on the XS P.E. uniform which was too big for my 5-year-old and way too big for my toddler.

Thankfully, the sales clerk found one size 3 dress. I may have outwardly said hallelujah at that moment. We also find khaki shorts in my son’s size and skirts in my daughter’s. Phew! We grab two for each and order blue polo shirts that will be shipped to my home from the Mainland.

I didn’t go into full Mommy-mode panic because the school mentioned there would be some “gently used” uniforms available. At orientation, I pick up a couple of polo shirts to hold us over until ours arrive.

I left out a few parts of the shopping saga. When I started scouring the store for any uniform pieces, my daughter decided she was over it and had a meltdown. I said “so much for our fun shopping experience.” She refused to take off her uniform. While she was throwing the tantrum, my son told me he needed to go to the bathroom.

So we rush out of the store upstairs to the bathroom as I warn my daughter not to get her only dress dirty. I think we’re home free until we get back to the store —my son plays near a pillar, and surfaces with grease all over his hands.

Yikes. We rush back up to the bathrooms. I have to scrub hard to get the mystery gunk off his hands. Thank goodness, I think to myself, he’s not still in his white polo shirt.

Finally, we return to pay. Since the order will be mailed to my house, our sales clerk asks for my name. I sheepishly say under my breath, “Tannya Joaquin,” hoping he doesn’t recognize me from TV.