Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Middle School

You don’t go to the bathroom in middle school.

I was listening to Ben and Zachary talk about Ben’s upcoming transition to middle school this morning. Zachary seemed fairly certain. Ben giggled in agreement.

I never go unless I absolutely have to anyway, Ben said.

I’m trying to remember my middle school. I know by high school I did not use the bathrooms. Too many smokers. Toilets clogged with cigarette butts. Ick.

But I think I used the facilities without fear in middle school.

My baby is going to middle school.

He asked me to order a class of 2007 shirt from his elementary school. I don’t think I had a class of 1981 shirt from high school, let alone whatever year I ‘graduated’ from elementary school.

He’s excited and nervous, running around the house singing songs from his school play on the top of his lungs and clapping at the same time. In between bursts of song, he yells at Jake for… existing.

Poor Jake only wants to sing, dance and clap, too.

Soon, Ben will have a daylong visit at his new school. A chance to ride a bus- he walks every morning the couple blocks now. New routines, big changes- not something that comes easily to Ben.

He’s his mother’s son, to be sure.

I don’t remember being afraid to go to the bathroom in middle school but I do remember a few choice moments on the school bus. I’m guessing the fact that each kid is now armed with a cell phone when they are shipped off to middle school pretty much eliminates any fistfights.

For me it was a mean boy who threw my favorite Snoopy lunch box out the window. When my mother got home, she drove me to the spot where poor snoopy was tossed and we got out and walked up and down the road looking for it. We never found it.

Ben won’t be packing a snoopy lunch box. Or any lunch box. The cafeteria, I have been told, is the peak of the middle school experience. Right now? Almost all of the kids in his class bring their own lunches. Some order but the school is so small, the food is shipped in from the high school. Imagine how tasty a school lunch, shipped several miles through traffic, tastes. Mmmm.

Now he’ll get to go through a line and choose from many different items. He’ll have an account and the lunch ladies will punch in his name and make the debit.

I remember clutching 35, then 50 cents in my hand. I loved the cafeteria food.

My baby is going to middle school.

Thirty-five more days of elementary school. I’m so proud of how Ben pulled himself together this year and started to become a great student. It did take the threat of private school but in the face of a change he did not want to make, he did something about it. He worked hard.

He is so kind and thoughtful, his teacher gushed at the parent teacher conference.

Ben? We all looked at each other.

Oh yes, he really sets a great tone.

It’s always good to know the message is getting through, we agreed. We’re looking forward to seeing it at home someday.

The order for the tee shirt is in and the play rehearsal is this afternoon. Ben is going to middle school. He’s not a baby anymore. He’s turning into a teenager.

And while there is so much happening in his life?

JAKE! He screamed this morning because a folder was lost, a lunch bag not packed, and it was time to leave for school. YOU IDIOT!

Some things will never change


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