Sunday, October 27, 2019

7 Truths About Life With A Middle Schooler

Life waaayyyy before middle school happened. I would like for him to sleep like this again though!

Age eleven hit us in June with middle school beginning shortly after and life hasn't been the same since. This goes beyond the puberty talks and into the attitude/behavioral category. Let me tell you all a little story about when I was in middle school. I won't even talk (much) about the poofy hair and bangs (curly bangs people....I still shake my head in shame) and braces, but I distinctly remember getting angry at my mom, stomping up our stairs--shaking the entire house in the process, and screaming "you bitch!!" as I slammed my door (actually the best part of this was my mom, not really getting mad at me for it, but instead getting close to my face, dropping her voice, and saying "just you wait. Someday you're kids will get you back," as she turned and walked away). We're not quite to that point yet; I feel twelve might be the year for that.

Instead we've got some other interesting behaviors that have me pulling my hair out, laughing, and drinking beers with my mom friends as we commiserate about our pre-teens. I can preach all I want about the 'tudes that come with middle school, but I'll break it down for you into seven bullet points that may have you laughing or crying--depending on which phase of parenting you're in.

1.) Suddenly can't follow directions. My eleven year old child was able to follow multi-step directions by age 1. At age 10 I could have had him run our entire household successfully. These days he can barely comprehend two step directions. For example: this evening I asked him to unload the dishwasher. He went into the kitchen, opened the silverware drawer, stared at it for a solid three minutes before asking me again what he was supposed to be doing. I can give him the usual put pajamas on, get the clean laundry from the dryer, then take the trash out. He'll hear maybe one of those instructions, the rest is lost on him. Now there's actually a scientific reasoning for this that has to do with the developing brain and puberty, but it's beyond frustrating because instead of moving forward in life it seems we've gone about six steps back. I try (like, really, really try) not to lose it with him, but I *may* have let out a few "is he fucking with me?" lines a little too loudly recently.

* Here's an interesting article about tween's brains.

2.) Coats Are Ridiculous Mentality. Okay, so we live in Iowa and we've had some freaking cold mornings already. I don't know about you, but when the temperature is at 30 degrees I layer up like I live in Antarctica. Not my eleven year old. He has refused his winter coat every morning, opting instead of a hoodie. I want to write a note to the school, ensuring them he does in fact have proper weather gear, but refuses to wear it. I'm stuck somewhere between 'let him freeze' and 'I don't want to deal with it when he gets frost bite on his fingers and comes to me.' I have yet to decide which one I'll land on.

3.) Everything with the eyes. They're either crying because I said the wrong thing or giving me intense eye rolls. If it's not tears or rolls, there's fluttering. Just to show me how stupid I am. I really want to laugh and say, "I can do that soooo much better than you!" and give him a demonstration of where he got those eye rolls from. But then again, that would just make him cry, so I tend to ignore it (while reminding him to be mindful of his eye movements).

4.) I don't know anything. Moms know nothing. We simply make stupid suggestions and know nothing about life. We are doing everything wrong. I just want you to take that personally, okay. You. Know. Nothing. Let's end that sentence with the above intense eye roll. 

5.) Jekyll and Hyde. My eleven year old truly is a little boy in a big body. One minute he's happily playing with figurines with his siblings, the next he's crying because he just wants space while listening to music. It's a Jekyll and Hyde situation. Always be on guard because you never know who you'll get when.

6.) Hello growth spurts. He's grown two pant sizes since August. In September I spent well over $100 on new clothes for him. He now fits in none of them. I might go broke between buying new wardrobes every month and feeding him.

7.) When does sleeping in happen? My eleven year old is still an early bird. In between the tears, eye rolls, growing, and clearly growing his brain so it knows more than me, he's got to be tired. I hear stories about tweens (and teenagers) who can sleep all day. When will that happen exactly?? As someone who can still sleep until noon when I have the time, I'm ready for this next one. I'm looking forward to when he stops waking up the entire household at 5 a.m.