My oldest son started middle school this year and there are lots and lots of things that changed for him. Here are the top ten:
10. He has science every day. In elementary school, he had actual science maybe once every few weeks (okay, okay, that doesn’t include the stuff integrated into the reading curriculum, but that stuff is, you know, boring). I thought this was kind of a dull change, but when asked, Sweet Pea identified this first. He is a Science Guy. The Mythbusters are his Galileo and Edison. His Einstein and Marie Curie except without the funny accent or that pesky radioactivity. Love science!
9. He stays after school lots of days. Ooooh, this one is win-win! His middle school really encourages the kids to participate in after-school activities. There are so many different options it is almost silly, and these are only the ones I can remember: band, (Sweet Pea’s first choice), orchestra, chorus, drama, stage crew, soccer, cross-country (Sweet Pea’s second choice), volunteer club, community service club, and… homework club which starts next week! Love it, love it, love it! Sweet Pea gets home an hour later, has one fewer hour to fight with his brothers AND has fun while doing it.
8. He has LESS homework. I know, right? I guess if you want more homework you have to join the homework club.
7. One word: Gym. Two more words: Locker Room. Ick. He is as excited about that as you would expect. I am sure changing your clothes in front of a gaggle of 6th grade boys is as much fun as it sounds. Technically, the boys only have to change their shirts (and put on deodorant, thank the Lord). So they cheat the system by wearing their gym shorts to school on Gym days. Leading us to…
6. New gym shorts. Lots of them so there is always a clean pair and he never risks having to (gasp!) change his shorts in front of anyone. (Note: Unlike Pumpkin Pie, Sweet Pea is not morally opposed to wearing underwear).
5. An umbrella! No, I did not let the child have an umbrella until he was 12. If you know him, you understand. Until recently I would have sooner given him a samurai sword than an umbrella. Every interaction he had with an umbrella had “traumatic eye injury” written all over it.
4. A cell phone. Yup. We did it. This is the age around these parts when most kids get their phones. He takes it to school on the days he stays late so he can text me five times from the late bus and send me a picture of his buddy on a “wanted” poster. He also takes it when he is playing outside so he can text me from the front yard. And the back yard. One time he texted me from the living room to see if the bathtub was free. So glad I am paying money for that.
3. He is allowed to stay home alone. I know, I can’t believe it myself. But, he has been awesome and there have been way fewer fires than when I am here.
2. No recess. Sweet Pea is one of those kids who, given the opportunity, would take full advantage of recess well into his 20’s. He is like his father, he likes to run and run and run. Preferably in circles. Maybe up a tree or over a fence all the while shooting at imaginary aliens, robots, or super villains.
1. No more raincoat. EVER. My sweet Pea, with all his 6th grade bad a**ed-ness (bad a**ed-ness was not a word yesterday, but it is now) refused to wear a raincoat this week when it was REALLY raining. Okay, maybe not at the exact moment he left for the bus, but 15 minutes earlier it had been raining sideways! He could not give me any kind of coherent reason for not wearing one. He just kept saying “No!” in an increasingly panicked voice like I was going to force one on him and staple it to his body so he couldn’t remove it without the jaws of life. You wanna be wet? Be wet. I don’t have to turn in wet homework and wear your nasty, smelly, soggy shoes all day.
My Sweet Pea has lots of new stuff ahead in his life and he can be as grown up as his middle-school-self wants to be, but he is still my baby and he STILL calls me into his room at night for one last hug. And another last hug. And to close his closet door. XO