I looked at Nolan the other day, and wondered, who are you and where is my son?
He's a little wound up. Starting jr high hasn't been hard, but not been easy either. Homework, a backpack that is so heavy I'm sure it'll stunt his growth, and more responsibility for himself than ever before are beginning to wear on him.
We try to help out. But you know, we're stupid.
We've not been there before. I've never had a backpack weigh as much as my baby sister. I never had anyone give me attitude for just being me.
I grit my teeth and try to let him be. I try.
I think it was last week, I asked him why his backpack seemed heavier. "Because I have two textbooks in it, too." "The books you brought home Friday?" "Yes." "Did you have homework or something?" "No." "So do they have to go back, or are these books your teacher gave you to leave at home to use?" "They have to go back." "Are you sure? I remember a couple of them saying they'd send some home..."
I stopped. He was looking at me with that kind of pre-teen disgust, that hurry-up-say-it-I'm-not-doing-it-you-don't-know-what-you're-talking-about look that makes you want to reach out and smack a head. Fine, fine, carry that load, buddy, I thought. Off he went that morning, huge pack, project, and bass clarinet in his hand.
Later that week, I was in his room and saw the texts on the floor (because you know, that's where they go). "Nolan? Are these the books you had to take back the other day?" "Yes." "What's up with that?" "The teachers said they are for at home." "Oh, so maybe Mommy's not so stupid afterall??" (couldn't resist) He sheepishy shakes his head no.
Luckily, his instrument can stay in a special locker in the band room, so now it's just the backpack. And occasionally, lunch and a project.
We are all adjusting to homework--there's quite a bit, usually projects of some kind or other for which I will be dispatched for supplies at 8 pm(eyeroll)--and I'm resisting the urge to go to his Science class and staredown a little girl who has been making his life difficult like only girls that age can (he switched tables to get away from her); I have to throw it up to the lunchroom gods that he's actually having something to eat; and I try not to worry too much and hang back.
Riiiigggght. Easier said than done. His father, adorably, exasperatingly, is in more of a knot about this transition than I am. Who would have thought that Mr Cool, Mr Anna-you-need-to-chill, would be so not able to relax? I shake my head at him as much as I shake it at the boy.
For now, we all concentrate on just getting a routine, getting it done, so he might have 30 minutes to himself at night.
The cool thing is that he's taking Spanish and last night I got to help him practice. It's fun. And he seems to be getting it. Told him I'd speak to him in it all the time. And maybe we'd watch Telemundo (he wasn't too thrilled about that).
Anyway, the other boys are doing great so far. Ryan had a little glitch where the teacher called me the first week of school. The first week! He wasn't listening, and I had a chat with him on the phone (teacher asked me to when he called)...and I threatened his little life when he got home, and he's been okay since then.
The one thing that is getting me right now, though, is the resurgence of the Yu-gi-oh card in my life. The older boys were into it, but not that into it, they collected but didn't get crazed about it. I've had a long respite from them, and was thinking I'd never see them again.
But now Ryan has embraced them, and Benjumped right back on that bandwagon. They play, they trade, and Audrey complains that they don't let her do it, too. Those shiny cards as addicting as crack, and tend to get misplaced, leading to cries of frustration about said missing card.
Donde esta la cantina?
Now, there's a Spanish phrase I can get behind.