Did you know they call it “middle school” now? What was wrong with calling it junior high? Oh, and here in Encinitas, it’s only 7th and 8th grade. Two quick years to find out where you fit in, who is nerdy, but smart and who is cool, but doesn’t know it and then …. it’s over, and you have to start all over again in high school.
We sat our 13-year-olds down mid-summer for a quick briefing on what they can expect both academically and socially. (Full disclosure: V read all about this age and gave me the Cliff Notes.) Let’s just say it became a lesson for us in a whole lot of things we don’t know about kids in this generation.
Lesson #1: Don’t tell them anything you don’t want the world to know on social media.
Lesson #2: Don’t praise them in public, like, ever. Not even as a joke.
Lesson #3: Hormones are kicking in, which translates into hugely exaggerated scenarios. Case in point: “Delaney, there’s scrambled eggs on the table. Charlie was nice enough to make extra for you.” “Well, I can’t eat THAT! Are you serious? He just pet the dog, put gel in his hair and put on his shoes. Do you want me to die from some weird germ disease or something!?”
Lesson #4: Don’t call attention to what is happening with their bodies. Not funny ever.
For now, all we can do is sit back wide-eyed and plaster a grin on our faces and remember how thankful we are our 10-year-old is still 10. When she becomes a teenager, we will know exactly what to do when she is hanging out with her peers: Act cool, throw out a few fist bumps and vacate the scene immediately.
This year has been a true test in parenting as we bounce all around town, living like vagabonds, while V remodels our home. I don’t see what was wrong with our house to begin with. If it isn’t hormones raging, it’s a midlife crisis, or as V likes to call herself, “fully grown and established.” Whatever you call it, I’m just happy to be along for the ride.
Happy Holidays! Cheers!
In addition to carpool karaoke, we have some junior comedians in the house…
“What do you want to be for Halloween?”
“Chapstick because I’m the BALM!”
“I swear your voice holds the world record for highest frequency”
“No, actually, that’s Mariah Carey”
“Dad, I love how we don’t even need to say out loud that I’m your favorite child.”
“Pretend I’m a cornflake and you step on me.
That makes you a cereal killer!”
“Our family is temper-mental.
Half temper, half mental.”
The last one had me laughing out loud, mainly because it describes our happy chaos perfectly. Like James Corden and his infamous Carpool Karaoke, our car regularly has someone belting out the latest tunes while our dogs, Mac and Jagger, stick their heads out the window and bark incessantly. Our neighbors often comment—in the nicest way imaginable—that it’s pretty easy to know when we aren’t home.
I know there will come a day very soon when we’ll be left with the eerie sound of silence throughout the house. The scooters won’t crash into my ankles, the laundry won’t be piled quite as high, and our water bill won’t be in the triple digits. For those reasons and hundreds more, I relish in the madness we call home. I still love coming home after a day at the office to homework, blaring music, and neighbor kids helping themselves to our refrigerator. Don’t get me wrong; by the end of the week, Friday date night remains a priority 12 years later.
For our clients, family and friends who have been there, done that, I commend you. You may be in the stage of grandchildren or beyond; traveling the world or staying put to golf; channel surfing or puttering around the house. That day will be here soon enough for us and while I can’t stop the days from speeding by, I can be mindful of the five-minute speech that frightens the daylights out of a 4th grader. I can empathize with the appearance of a first pimple and how “OMG this can’t be happening!” Though I’d like to forget, I can also understand the push and pull of 6th graders finding their way and busting at the seams for less supervision and more freedom.
Raising kids is a magnificent struggle. Sometimes I have to leave the room trying not to laugh so hard I spit out my morning coffee. I know you’ve had those moments. This holiday season, let’s make it a choice to have many more.