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September 8, 2008

Hormones Fly In Junior High

Now that Finn has three weeks of Junior high under his belt and is no longer quite so mesmerized by the bountiful offerings of the lunchroom, he’s had time to make new friends and gauge how the adventure is affecting his old friends.  The stress and thrill of it all has already caused some friction.

The Tiny Kingdom has four elementary schools which run from kindergarten through grade six, and the junior high brings the students from all four schools together for grades seven through nine.  Our elementary school is the smallest of the four, and Finn says he has several classes in which he’s the only kid from his school.  He knows plenty of guys from playing sports, though, and seems to have made new friends quickly.

I sat Finn down for a frank talk before school started.  I felt like he’s mature enough to recognize the social maneuverings that inevitably go at this age, and  he’d be better equipped to deal with them if he was given a heads up about their existence.  He’s never lacked self-confidence, and I wanted him to be prepared to stand up for his friends if they were ostracized, and to defend himself if his self-worth was attacked.

I told him that when I was in junior high, I saw people change.  Some people decided that sports were the only thing that mattered.  Others sought popularity at all costs.  People who had been friends for years split up because one decided the other wasn’t athletic enough, pretty enough, or cool enough.  Others drifted apart because they matured at different rates, their interests changed, or they found they had different values.

I even got down to the nitty-gritty and talked about girls and the way they can act at this age.  I felt qualified to give this talk because I have a vagina and survived junior high. ( You know, there’s a reason we all loved The Breakfast Club and Pretty in Pink and those other movies that showed the cliques that form and the cruelty kids can inflict on one another.  It’s because they’re true.)

I told him that he might see girls dropping friends in order to join a “more popular” group.  He might see a couple of girls accorded special power, just because of their perceived status.  What was important for him to remember was to be there for his friends, especially the girls, because they’re in for a rough few years.

We talked about first impressions being important.  Teachers and peers form opinions of you quickly, and once formed, they’re hard to change.  On the other hand, you should try not to make the same mistake.  Don’t judge someone as a loser because he or she looks different.

It’s a difficult assignment – we make snap judgments about people all the time.  As an example, I reminded him of my irrational prejudice against double first names, which are extremely common in the South.  My first reaction is to conclude that the parents are either indecisive or snooty.  I have absolutely no evidence to back up either of these determinations, and I must often remind myself that in fact I have many close friends whose kids have two first names. They are just as entitled to believe that mothers who name their children after Scandinavian countries are ditzy, to say the least.  See?  We’re all different.  Our quirks plus a Coke make the world go round.

Bill overheard part of our conversation and thought it was unnecessary. Neither his parents nor mine ever had such a discussion with us.  But when I look at Finn, I see a whole lot of me, and I would have appreciated a warning about what lay ahead.

We had our talk about a month ago.  I’ve already heard through the grapevine that there are girls jostling for position, turning their backs on friends they’ve had since first grade, in order to be accepted by the “in” group.  Social climbing never stops, and I surely can’t prevent it.  I can only hope that Finn can see the bigger picture and be there for his friends, no matter how many first names they have.

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I have a post up at Deep South Moms.  Check it out!

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Three years ago in My Tiny Kingdom: Not A Normal Day

Posted by Anne Glamore @ 7:40 amDeep Thoughts,School Today: Eraserboard Jungle,Tiny Kingdom Exclusive25 comments  

August 18, 2008

My School Rocks Even More

Finn’s still pumped up about the advantages of the junior high over the elementary school.  It must be that  the lunchroom ladies at the elementary school were ferocious ogres, or maybe those at the junior high moonlight as Playboy centerfolds.  Whatever the reason, Finn is even more impressed with them than he is the huge selection of beverages in the lunchroom.

“I mean, last year those ladies were so mean.  They’d just slap food on your plates and God forbid if you asked them a question.”

“What happens if you ask them a question?” Porter asked.  He eats everything and would never think to ask questions about his food.

“They’d be all like, Every time you come through this line you ask me if there’s cheese on that sandwich.  I don’t know if there is or not.  Now take it or leave it and go sit down.”

“What are your lunch ladies like?” Drew asked.

“Well, they’re much prettier, and I bet if you asked them that, they’d say, Oh, let me put on my plastic gloves so I keep everything extremely sanitary and then they’d lift up the corner of the sandwich and check it out and say, well honey, I see some cheese and it appears to be provolone, and would you care for this sandwich today?”

Finn sat back, reveling in the marvelousness of this, the junior high.

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Three years ago in My Tiny Kingdom: And In The Morning, We’re Making Waffles! (bonus points to those of you who get the movie reference in the title and the text of this post)

Posted by Anne Glamore @ 8:28 amSchool Today: Eraserboard Jungle10 comments  

August 13, 2008

My School Is Better Than Your School

Now that Finn has made the exhilarating move from elementary school to the junior high, he comes home thrilled with the perks of his new school.  He spends most of dinner taunting his brothers with the vast improvements in his living conditions while they listen, stunned that such scenes are actually possible and await them in just three years.

“Man, the lunchroom is beast,” he said while we were eating Bowties With Prosciutto last night.  “When you go in there are these three cooler things like you see in a mini-mart and they’re filled with different drinks.  One has water and the next one has juices, like apple juice and orange juice, and they’re in these awesome containers, not those tiny cartons like at the elementary school.”

“We have apple juice instead of orange juice this year,” Drew said.  “But it’s frozen.”

“That figures,” Finn said.  “Anyway, the third cooler is the best, and it has all this, like, Vitamin Water and other cool drinks in it.”

“Did you try one?” Bill asked.

“No way.  I got a plain water in case the Vitamin Water is all sissy and stuff.  But I think I’m going to try every single kind of drink they have until I settle on my beverage of choice.”

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Three years ago in My Tiny Kingdom: Virtual Book Club Meeting #3

Posted by Anne Glamore @ 1:06 pmSchool Today: Eraserboard Jungle10 comments  

August 4, 2008

Locker 101:A, Hygiene:F

fin4

I took Finn to register for the junior high this morning, and once again I praised God I do not have a girl.  While we were in the seventh grade hall and I was teaching Finn how to work the combination lock on his locker (a tricky task for a lefty), I realized that the girls’ moms were weighted down with bags of supplies.  I left Finn practicing his new skill while I investigated.

Dear Lord, they had brought vibrant wrapping paper, X-acto knives, sturdy rulers, curly ribbon, boas, and matching shelves for interior locker decoration.  One girl had zebra paper on the back of the locker, lime green on each side (with a neat slit cut for the hook on each side) and a tiny disco ball dangling delicately from the top.  It was an intricate piece of art when finished– one I could never have accomplished.  A friend must have seen the horror on my face because as she walked by she whispered, “Only the girls do that.  You’re in the clear.”

The twins were with us and Drew and Porter raced up and down the halls while we got Finn’s schedule, supplies, and located his classrooms.  We retrieved his textbooks and were all gathered around his locker, watching him dexterously open the lock, when I smelled a pungent smell, the kind you notice when you sit too close to a hairy man on the subway.

I thought it was rather fitting that Finn was proving too much for his deodorant on the exact day we were marking a new step in his journey through academia.  But as we were gathered around, watching the textbooks thud into the metal locker, I smelled each boy individually and discovered that it was Drew, my smallest, fairest child, who stank like he’d been wrestling in garbage.

I scrutinized him and saw that he was also sporting a pimple on his chin– Drew, not yet ten, proud owner of the first fully formed Glamore pimple.

Remember last spring when I had to get in the shower with my bathing suit on and go over cleanliness with Porter?  I stopped short of that this time, but I did give Drew quite a lecture, and I pulled all the cleaning products out of the shower as visual aids.

“Honey, you’re doing a great job on the shampooing, so two thumbs up there.  But the rest of you needs improvement.  You wash your face with this poured on a washcloth,” I said, pointing to the Cetaphil.  “You use the bar of soap to wash the rest of your body including what?”

“I don’t know,” Drew said.

“Your pits and your willie.  Have you been washing your penis?”

He shook his head.

“Have you been washing under your arms?”

He shook his head.

“Ye gods, honey, what do you do in there?  You take the longest showers of anyone in this house.”

“I like to think about songs,” Drew said.

“Okay, while you’re thinking about songs you need to wash all your parts.  When you get out of the shower you rub this on your face all over.  Your chin, your cheeks, your forehead.”

He nodded.

“Then you put deodorant on.  At night when you get out of the shower, and in the morning before school.  You can’t go around smelling like a dirty monkey.”

“That would be funny,” Drew said.

“I’m giving you one week, and if that pimple isn’t clearing up and your pits aren’t smelling better, I’m going to put on my bathing suit and walk you through it, just like I did with Porter.”

Drew grimaced.

“Now, go take a shower immediately doing everything I just said.  When you’re done, I want to smell you.”

He ran.

We all did a lot of growing up today.

Dow1

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Two years ago in My Tiny Kingdom: The Breast Wars: I Devise A Winning Strategy

Posted by Anne Glamore @ 3:33 pmBoys: Demented & Dangerous,School Today: Eraserboard Jungle26 comments  

March 16, 2008

In Which We Take The Wrong Approach

Last week the boys got their report cards. Drew’s was fine in all respects, but his teacher had written, “Needs to work on talking in class” at the bottom of the form.

Bill and I could relate to that. Neither of us was keen on shouting out in class. Drew is by far the quietest of our boys, and it makes sense that he’s not raising his hand even if he knows the answer.

We had a chat with him and reminded him that he studies hard and does well in school.

“Don’t be afraid to raise your hand in class,” I told him. “It’s important to participate.”

“It’s no big deal if you get it wrong,” Bill added. “The important thing is that you try.”

Drew was looking at us as if we each had six eyes and horns sprouting from our heads.

“Why are you telling me this?” he asked.

I showed him the part of his report card that had us concerned.

“I think my teacher means that I talk with my friends in class too much,” he said, as his face reddened. “We’ve been working on our comic book when we finish our math early and she said we’re disturbing other students even though we were trying to whisper.”

Oh.

So then Bill and I gave him an equally heartfelt talk about being quiet in class when it is not appropriate to talk. At that point all three of us were thinking, “Whatever.”

Meanwhile, Porter loves reading but could not care less about his multiplication facts, especially since he believes a calculator will always be available to him. We’ve preached to him that educated people must know their multiplication facts through the twelves, as that’s what’s required of him in third grade, although I personally have done well in life knowing the facts only through the tens.

He’s been doing extra practice on his math facts each night, and his teacher was kind enough to provide sheets of problems for him to work on.  The other night he got all of them correct except for 9×3 and 3×9, which he had pegged as 28.

Bill had him count out three sets of nine, and Porter counted up to 27, but he wasn’t happy about it.

“This is so frustrating,” he said.  “My head tells me that 9×3 is 27, but my teacher tells me that it’s 28.”  He flopped onto our bed dramatically.

“Who am I to believe?  Who?” he asked, waving his legs in the air and staring at the ceiling.  “It’s not fair that I have to choose between my head and my teacher.”

Despite our assurances that his teacher would agree that 9×3 is 27, Porter maintained the opposite, and requested that we email his teacher and set her straight.

Again, WHATEVER.

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One year ago in My Tiny Kingdom: Letter From Lisbon

Posted by Anne Glamore @ 12:55 pmSchool Today: Eraserboard Jungle8 comments  


Welcome to the Kingdom

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I'm Anne Glamore, wife, mother, lawyer and blogger. I have three boys, and I'm desperately trying to train them to become Southern gentlemen, but that may be an unrealistic goal. At this point I'd be ecstatic if they'd quit farting at the dinner table. If you're new here, check out the Readers' Favorite Posts below or browse through the Categories. I write about my attempts to teach the boys about peckers and sex (which we call "making googly eyes"), my struggles with hepatitis C and spine surgery, the boys' adventures with fire and pets, my mom's death from ovarian cancer, my love of cooking (with plenty of recipes) and anything else that crosses my mind. Join me on Twitter or StumbleUpon or Email me. I'm happy to speak to your group or club.

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