Monthly Archives: August 2013

Welcome to Hell. I mean High School.


My oldest is in tenth grade. Where I grew up, ninth graders were shoved in with the rest of high school, but not here. Here they’re with seventh and eighth graders, which means they start high school before they’re in high school. The powers that be are rethinking that. It’s a new idea here and slow to catch on. I think the resistance is from overprotective parents not wanting to really admit a fourteen-year-old is a teenager and send them off with all the ‘big kids.’ I have a thirteen year old too. He’s a big kid, dump him in the deep end.


It doesn’t matter. What does matter is that my baby girl (AKA “The Girl” to all of you) is genuinely in high school now by anyone’s definition. She’s not impressed. Although I am hearing a different sort of rant from her nowadays.


First there’s the “don’t they know to walk on the right?” Actually, her school is brand new, just rebuilt so it can hold the new ninth graders. So . . . no. Almost a third of the kids there don’t know to walk on the right because they don’t drive. But wait, they grew up in – well the majority of the world that drives on the right, so shouldn’t they have clued in to walk on the right by now? No. Apparently not, we’ll leave it at that.


Second, remember I went off a while ago about teenage boys being allergic to soap? It’s not limited to thirteen-year-olds, unfortunately. Enough said. 


Third, she’s not impressed with others of her own gender either. I tuned out as she went on (and on and on) questioning why a girl who wants to play violin would get her nails done and have them so long she can’t actually play. Or why another would take swimming but not realize she might need a swimsuit she can actually swim in without the top coming off. Personally I’m amazed they’re allowing two-piece suits in a co-ed swim class, but hey, what do I know?


Also, she doesn’t understand how anyone can find Latin hard. Plus now she can take Honors and AP classes and, again, she’s flummoxed why kids are whining about it being difficult or time consuming.


And she was asked out in her first week of school. By text message. I’m not kidding. Her immediate response was to text back and ask if he really just asked her out via text, then to ask if he breaks up via Facebook. He didn’t get it. Bit of a mixed bag on that one. She’s flattered, yet annoyed. And in giggles because Hubby is having a meltdown.


The Girl’s fifteen, we’re not letting her date yet. In truth, she can handle group dates now, she’s mature enough. Boys her age aren’t though and we need to protect them from her snarky attitude and her father’s growing reach-for-a-rifle paranoia. He needs another year to psych himself up for this. Hubby’s just not ready.

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Video Game Detox (Pending)


The Boy is thirteen and just starting eighth grade. He’s pretty typical for a teenage boy, more’s the pity. His life’s all about video games and putting off his few chores until ‘later.’ It’s a vague time reference that never seems to arrive unless his video games are threatened.


Now that school is on the horizon, I’m starting to wake him a bit earlier each morning because I’m sadistic. I mean because I’m a caring mother who doesn’t want him to fall asleep in class the way he falls asleep at the kitchen table at breakfast. Then lies down and falls asleep on the way up the stairs afterward. And in the bathroom.


So I’m reading parenting teenage boys books. It’s a big to hit my self-esteem. Pass the rum-filled chocolates, please. 


Occasionally something just jumps out at me. In Everything Bad Is Good For You, by Steven Johnson, the author references research done on the brains of young video gamers when he suggests the games stimulate a particular part of the brain in much the same way that crack cocaine affects the same area.


Hmm. Then I look at my thirteen-year-old happily driving off an overpass in Grand Theft Auto. Why he wants to drive off an overpass over and over again in different cars to see how each lands is beyond me. I think it serves to prove I’m not a thirteen-year-old boy.


So playing video games stimulates a child’s brain like drugs. It explains The Boy’s behavior. He loves his Methcraft.  I mean Minecrack. I mean Minecraft. I guess that means I need to detox him. This is not going to be pleasant.


Actually I think I’ll take a page from The Boy’s book and finish my current reading list first. Maybe they have tips. Besides, I’ll need more rum-filled chocolates. Depending on what it says, and The Boy’s reaction, I might need to upgrade to rum-filled Coke.

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Social Media and the Teenage Horde


A friend of mine updated her MySpace page and sent me an invite to check it out. (Yes, MySpace is still around.) While I was looking it over, The Girl was looking over my shoulder and asked “What’s that?”

Are you kidding me? How can someone not know about MySpace? I was so stunned I can’t remember if I even answered her. I became lost in misty memories.

I fled MySpace years ago because it was being overrun with teenagers. Like many, I found Facebook and sighed in relief to be able to be social with adults I didn’t know. You all know how that turned out. Yeah. My teenagers live on Facebook too. So once again I migrated to Google+ to seek adult interaction. (Crossing my fingers and looking over my shoulder for teenagers.)

In actuality, The Boy has found Google+, he’s just not interested. He’s thirteen and not enough of his peers are there (yet). It’ll happen. Teenagers are like some sort of plague and there’s just no way to contain them in the eWorld. They’re better at it than we are. We’re the generation that thought Tron was neat for crying out loud! My kids got bored, said “That’s ridiculous, it doesn’t work like that,” and wandered off just as it was getting good. Now The Boy is eyeing The Matrix and Caprica and I swear he’s wondering if he could make that tech work.

I look at him sometimes and see The Terminator and Battlestar Galactica in our future. Did I mention The Boy wants to work for Microsoft and The Girl wants to work for Google? Hollywood may be prophetic, and is certainly giving them ideas, but we have social media to blame for addicting them to the cyberworld. Thanks, MySpace.

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