Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Front Nine

Dear Max: 

I’m writing a couple weeks after your ninth birthday.  Of course, I always mean to write this on the day of, but time has run away with me, just as it is running away with you.

On your birthday, I posted on Facebook that I blinked, and you turned 9…

In this past year, I have watched you become particularly independent and confident.  Especially in the past few months, I frequently hear “I got this, Mom”, “I can do it,” “I’ll handle it” as you’re pouring orange juice for yourself or cooking an egg.  You apparently don’t need help anymore.

I read something about the development of 9 year olds—that they become worldly thinkers.  Worldly, like in how the world was actually created or what is the meaning of life.  And you said to me, out of the blue in the car the other day, “I can’t really imagine not having you as a mom.”  That warmed my insides, it did.

You are still solidly holding your own as the youngest against two teenagers (and Baxter).  You can play any game, strategizing and understanding the nuances with the best of us.  But I don’t really have a clear picture of your life as a student, as you don’t share much about school.  I remember at the end of last year, I ran into your teacher in the hallway at school and asked about you. “He has a sense of humor that is unlike most third graders,” he said.  I do notice this year that you may have crossed over a hump with spelling and are quicker to make choices.  

You are taller and thinner and can finally ride most roller coasters.  Your room is almost always tidy, and you are the least likely to complain about chores.  You have an uncanny ability to pick up the tune and chorus of a song.  You still won’t wear clothes with zippers, though you have relented to an occasional button.  You have far too much energy for two old parents.  You enjoyed golf camp over the summer, and I so enjoyed playing with you.  

Your Grandma Jo says you have turned into your dad’s Mini Me.  I can’t deny it.  Your looks have moved in that direction, and you tend to communicate (or not) with me in the same style—making me dig for what I really want to know.  For instance, “Who did you have lunch with today?” I ask.  “My friends,” you tell me. 

When I watch you from a distance, I still see that baby who smiled at everything, that even-keeled toddler who never threw a tantrum, that Kindergartner who was sent to the Planning Room on Day 5 of school for playfully wrestling with his buddies on the playground, and that third grader who finds humor in the things that others don’t quite get yet.  You are still the happy one, the guy who just wants to have a little fun, our SpongeBob afficionado.  And I am so curious to see where this spirit takes you over time.  It surely won’t be a boring place. 


Lucky #13

Dear Will: 

13.  It’s so weird to think of you as a teen—you haven’t gone through any wild mood swings or cranky periods yet.  Quite the opposite, really.  You are a delightful young person!

You still seem like you like to hang out with Dad and me; you’re the kid who I can count on to accept a compromise; you take responsibility for anything thrown in your direction; you enjoy a good meal; you’re agreeable; you’re almost always in a good mood; you’re an awesome role model for your brother.  

This doesn’t seem like typical teenage stuff…

On the extracurricular front, you love theatre, gaming, and Camp Billings.  You also like math, running, sailing, swimming, hanging out with Baxter, and bowling.   You don’t like beets, language arts, or housework.  A little more typical, I think.  

As a member of the LEAD group in school, captain of the cross-country team, and recipient of the Camp Billings Triangle of Honor, you’ve shown a confident capacity for and interest in being a leader.  And you will debate an issue until the cows come home.  That headstrong and stubborn streak of your toddler years is still there, but it shows itself in more positive ways now.  

You are on the top of the hill as an 8th grader, and you started the year with a long list of things you need to accomplish:  homework, athletics, theatre, chorus, band, your 8th grade community service project.  You seemed a bit stressed by the challenge of it all, but I don’t see anything getting in your way. 

Except for this:  You lose things.  But you find them.  I don’t think I’ll ever meet a person who has such a lucky streak for finding misplaced things.  You lost a new jacket four days after you received it for your birthday, and when I asked you if you had found it, your answer was “Not YET.”  And you found it the next day.  This happens relatively frequently with your lunchbox too.  

Everyone notices your patience with Max.  He still follows you everywhere and talks constantly at you, and you are remarkably kind, helpful, and accommodating toward him.  The few times you brush him off, I certainly can’t blame you, for you’ve likely lasted longer than most would with his constant “attentions.”  

Your current profession of choice is an actor.  As you know, I usually suggest that this passion should be more of a hobby than a profession for you (as I’m a little concerned that this won’t be a very generous path for you.)  But you say you’re going to prove me wrong... :)

So here we go into your years of getting prepared to be an adult.  It’s likely that you will get a little moody and make some bad choices in the coming years.  (Remember “Fork you”?)  And I bet your room will never be spotless, your hair will never be long and messy, and your individuality will never be compromised. 


Wednesday, September 5, 2012

The Douchbag

After going blog-dark for a little over a year now, I have been feeling eager to write again, and a few stories that need archiving (for entertainment in my old age) have recently transpired.  This one developed during today's carpool to high school.  The setting:  My car.  The characters:  One junior, a boy; four freshpeople, all girls; the driver, me. 

In the murmur of the sleepy teen conversation, I heard J use the word "douchbag." 

Me:  J, did you just say douchbag?
J:  Sorry, Mrs. P.
Me:  You can use the word if first you can tell me it's real meaning.
A, boldly:  It's what you use to clean your vagina.
S:  Well, you don't use the bag to clean your vagina.  
A:  No, the bag contains the stuff you use. 
Me:  Excellent.  You may now use the word freely.  

F, the boy junior, did not say a word.  

So then I asked what a douchbag is in the street sense.  These are what I gathered are some of a douchbag's characteristics--all news to me: 
  • They are lax bros--guys who play lacrosse.
  • They wear tall/long dark socks. 
  • Their shirts are either polos or sleeveless pinnies.  
  • They wear either salmon-colored cotton shorts (like khakis) or long, brightly colored sport shorts.  I wondered why salmon. 
  • They have nice hair they toss around.  This is called "flow." 
  • They often wear their "snapbacks" on the front of their heads.  A snapback is the sizing mechanism on certain caps. 
  • Douchbags are attractive.  If you are not attractive, you are not a douchbag. 
J was the most passionate about the distinctions of a douchbag.  F, the boy junior, helped me understand what a snapback is.  

Me:  F, I'm surprised you subscribe to this douchbagging. 
F:  I'm not really that committed to it.  

I dropped them off and school and thanked them for such an enlightening morning.  Then I pointed to a guy wearing salmon shorts, and they all gave me a thumbs up.  

Note to readers:  I do not plan to share this blog (or any) with my daughter, as I would like to continue to document such mornings, and I don't want her to shut down for fear that I will write about her on the internet.  So no snitching!