We're three weeks into the school year and we're back on schedules, well-ordered and in a good groove that I hope lasts until December. Life is good.
Lillian had her first day of kindergarten. How did it go? Well as we drove up to the school she informed (not asked, informed) me that I need not accompany her into the school. "I can go by myself Mom," she said.
When I explained that at least for the first day the teachers wanted parents to go with their children into the school she sighed and said, "Okay but can you wait at the end of the hall?"
No, I had to go all the way with her into the classroom so she shrugged and allowed me to be present. I asked her that afternoon if she'd made any friends and she said that she "had indeed made some friends" (that's her new word: indeed--she sounds like she's a BBC announcer) but couldn't come up with any names to prove it.
I later saw the class list and it's no wonder, there aren't more than two or three traditional names in the group, most are multisyllabic with apostrophes and Ys thrown in haphazardly like orthographic shrapnel. Granted, some are lovely-sounding ethnic names, but then there are a lot of odd ones. "Gage" and "Cross"??? I can just see it now, "I'd like you to meet my lovely children: Gage, Torque and Chassis."
But speaking of friends, now that school is going again friends are suddenly a hot issue. All summer the kids have played together, played with neighborhood kids and generally been above all the pettiness that elementary-level social life has to offer. Three weeks into school and we're now officially embroiled in soap operas.
Let's start with Spencer, some of his friends have air soft guns which are the modern equivalent of BB guns. They shoot little plastic pellets that sting like crazy (this I’m told, I had better never find out for myself) but can’t break the skin or cause much destruction though I'm sure in the hands of a pre-pubescent male there are plenty of things it could damage, say an eye?
Spencer’s been hot to have one of these guns but I hadn't given it much thought because I assumed there was little chance of him affording one. Last Saturday he asked Andrew if they could go to Sportsman’s Warehouse to “Look at air soft guns.” I took it at face value until they came home WITH an air soft gun, evidently the mowing business has been good to my boy and he's got more cash than I gave him credit for.
I did a "What what????" When I saw it and thanked my husband heartily for jumping in there and letting our son to purchase a firearm. I mean who wants to be bogged down in pesky decisions like “Should I allow my son to shoot at the neighbor kid for recreation?” I thought there was a Brady Bill or something that prevented against this kind of thing. WHERE’S THAT DARN WAITING PERIOD WHEN YOU REALLY NEED IT????
But the deed was done and then I was stuck with looking like a woman trying to sissify her boy if she were to be so left-wing as to demand that he return the gun—and yes, it’s a gun, I don't care that it's also a toy. I gave up but took my revenge by telling Andrew that it was now entirely HIS responsibility to teach the boy gun safety, make sure he had the appropriate safety gear, set all those minute bylaws for how the gun was to be operated and then handle the lawsuits that would most certainly come when the neighborhood dogs started losing body parts.
Well THEN the kicker in the Saga de Air Soft came yesterday. One of Spencer’s little friends informed him that his new gun was a piece of junk because it cost “under $20.” Because $19.99 to a 10 year-old boy is so cheap apparently. Spencer was in tears and informed us he was taking his gun back so he could get a “good” gun. Never mind that Spencer had worked all summer mowing lawns to earn the money for that gun while this other kid probably hadn't done anything to earn his. Just try explaining to a crushed child that it doesn't matter what the other kids say, they know that it does matter a great deal--at least to them.
When reason failed Andrew finally apprised him of the situation, namely, “You can’t take back something that’s already been opened and used just because your punky friend tries to tear you down and make you feel bad because now he's not the only one with a cool toy.” This only produced more tears but most people have known for some time that we have hearts of stone that aren’t moved by things like 10 year-olds and their desires for “way cool" richy air guns.
The situation has taken a while to cool down but we’ve officially moved past DEFCON 4-crisis mode. The prognosis is good and the lesson has been learned which is (basically) don’t unwrap anything until it gets the “cool” seal of approval from your 5th grade friends. Sigh.
Grace is enjoying eighth grade. At least she’s enjoying it more since having learned her arch-nemesis Jenna is moving out of the country. Yes, Jenna is responsible for quite a few gray hairs on my head and I can’t say that I’m sorry she’s leaving. I think in the future that high schools and colleges ought to consider Jenna for their mascot because I’ve learned that there are few things on the planet as ferocious and intimidating as a 13 year-old alpha-female. Wolverines? No, they eventually get tired of their victims and will leave the carcass alone. Fighting Sioux? No, they’re satisfied with just your scalp. No there’s nothing fiercer, more tenacious and more vicious than a 7th or 8th grade girl.
Though I remember going through junior high myself it's still hard for me to comprehend why girls like Jenna enjoy picking on other girls like Grace. She'll demand her seat at the lunch table, call her names, tell her she's stupid or dresses like a 3rd-grader and try to get others to do the same. My only satisfaction is that someday, somewhere little Jenna will grow up and have a family of her own, hopefully with three or four teenage girls of her own that will make her life as fun and traumatic as she’s managed to make ours.
Grace was unclear as to where exactly Jenna was moving. Evidently it was a “secret” that every other girl at the table was worthy of hearing except Grace so we’re still in the dark as to which of our dear allies will be blessed with her presence. I wonder if Iraq is a possibility? I bet she could clear out those insurgents pretty quick. A bit of biting sarcasm, some public humiliation, a sprinkling of widely broadcast put-downs and she’ll have Osama crying for his Momma within the month.
But even with traumas like these don't get me wrong, it's great to be back in the academic saddle again. Fall is my favorite time of year and it's going to be a good year--I can feel it.
Congratulations to Dawn of So A Blonde Walks into a Blog for winning last week's Saturday Giveaway. She walked away with the Watermelon Stripe handbag from XS Baggage.
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