Friday, August 17, 2012

On the brink

Last week, we had nine boys with guns over to celebrate eleven years of this guy:

Even at this age, Si's favorite thing to do was throw things.

It was a fitting tribute. Equally fitting is that his job for the next eleven years is to pick fluorescent airsoft ammo out of the lawn and garden. He was game for the first day, and stoked that he'd managed to trick Helen into helping (two minutes in, however, she quit - "I didn't know that this was going to be boring!" and he's been miserable, but committed, ever since).

On Monday, he starts middle school, the first step toward his much-anticipated adulthood. He regularly points out all the things that are proof of his ready-to-be-independent status: he can cook for himself (smoothies and chocolate milk), he is too old for a babysitter (cough not cough), he can earn money to pay for his own entertainment and consumables (from us, though. I'm still hoping he adds an external revenue stream to his earnings sometime soon.)

Character traits: goofy
I could go on about his usual personality markers: baseball, math, games, the newish interest in (fake) guns. The way he is at heart a bookish kid who, through baseball and games, has positioned himself squarely among the jocks. The way he is basically shy and respectful but has an unexpected flair for performance. How when M., reading out loud from a magazine, said "Having confidence and asking questions are not being rude," Si jumped up with a light of revelation in his eyes and said, "That's good to know! I'm always worried about seeming rude."

But with a sense of responsibility. And of beleaguered oppression.
In the past few months he has discovered radio and developed the regulation eleven-year-old taste for mass-produced music. While I am sorry that Beethoven is no longer in the hizzouse, and I am probably approaching my lifetime limit for 97.5 The Party, it's fun that he can take charge of this aspect of himself. It's gone along with some more inspiring acts of independence, too: he decided, in response to seeing his baseball friends buckle down and train, that he needs to improve his running speed. All month we've been going to the middle school track after dinner and running speed intervals and endurance work: this is probably the first time he's taken initiative in self-improvement, and it's good to see. As the kids and I drove home from the track last night, with them dangling their arms recklessly from the open windows and party music blaring, it felt like the new normal: life with big kids.

Not afraid to take a break.
It felt pretty good.


artemisia said...

I loved every word of this.

And this is so stinkin' adorable:

"That's good to know! I'm always worried about seeming rude."

Melospiza said...

Yes, his comment hit me as something as a revelation, too: oh, THAT'S what my kid is all about. He's in a constant struggle not to seem rude.