I know I've said it before, but it bears repeating: WOW, did the first day of school sneak up on us! We (well, "I") bought all of the required supplies last month and tucked them away. (As though ignoring them would help to prolong Summer, right? Eh, wishful thinking...) No one was changing schools this year, so we didn't have the built-in heads-up of new procedures to learn or special Orientation Meetings to attend. Nope, it just...suddenly seemed to be the end of August, leaving us barely recovered from the post-vacation funk of "yearning for the beach", yet abruptly having to scramble back into our academic routine. Like a consistent, set bedtime? What's that all about? No more lying around reading or watching the Os game until 10 p.m. And alarm clocks? Pleaaaaase, noooooo! (That was for Derek, who needs to get up...ahem...earlier than I do, poor baby.) Speaking of the 7th-Grader, he also must bid adios to the long, leisurely, several-course morning meals to which he oh-so-quickly became accustomed in the casual Summertime. Welcome back to "scarf a bagel and hit the bus stop at 7:20" (Ugh--oh wait, that's Husband's gig, not mine...whew! I preside over the "second seating" at the breakfast counter with the 4th-Grader, who gets to amble down the street at the vastly more civilized hour of 8:45.) Then there's the Dinner Hour, which often occurs at 7...or 7:30...or even later during our unscheduled months--but which I had better work on reining back in to a reasonable "post-homework, pre-shower" time slot.
Most of these issues simply fall into the category of "readjusting our agenda"...kind of like when everyone changes the clocks for Daylight Savings Time--we have...let's see, we'll call it Freedom Time (Summer) and Structured Time (School Year). But...there are subtle signals being sent out by the 12-year old that some fundamental changes to our established regimen might be looming in the near future. For instance, a few weeks ago he verrrrrry nonchalantly asked me, "Do you think Dad's going to walk me down to the bus this year?" Uh-oh. I made some sort of noncommittal response, to see where he was going with this, so he mused, "He doesn't have to; I can go by myself." Now, for Derek, this was about as close to an impassioned "for the love of Pete, give me some space, Parental Units!" statement as you're going to get. But he didn't say it particularly strongly, and when he brought it up with Husband--who expressed his own desire to continue sharing their early-morning strolls and "manly chats"--Derek readily agreed that they could go on as usual. (One bullet: dodged.)
Then the first day of school, I waited for Derek to return in the afternoon and tell me all the Middle School News. The normal time for him to walk in the door came...and went...and it got later...and still later. Finally he meandered in a half-hour past his regular time and announced that he'd taken it upon himself, since it was such a sunny, warm day, and the students hadn't gotten go go outside at lunch time, to disembark from the bus 2 stops early, walk a friend home, then make his way to his own house. Oy. (I was stunned that he didn't immediately seize the opportunity to point out the fact that he was unable to call and inform me of his plans...as he still doesn't have a phone. Perhaps he was allowing me to figure it out on my own...but then again, I'm not sure the preteen male brain is capable of that kind of subtle ploy...) Lastly, as I was demanding that both boys leave the television and prepare to turn in, Derek brought up the fact that he frequently finds himself lying in bed these days, unable to fall asleep until he's been there for quite a while. He presented this evidence as a way to lobby for a later bedtime. (In front of his younger brother, which was so NOT what I needed. These items will clearly have to be dealt with...soon...ish....)
So, from what I remember of Derek's 4th-Grade year, Riley's going to study a ton of cool stuff, including the Chesapeake Bay, the Plymouth Colony, and the Wampanoag Indians. (Which incidentally is just so much fun to say as well, yes?) Heck, he gets to start the year by making Terrariums and Aquariums, complete with live plants and fish. And (thank goodness) he seems to be sliding right into school on an even keel. But I have no prior experience with 7th Grade (except my own, which I think we'll agree is ancient and irrelevant history at this juncture), or the whole "adolescent-boy....thing", so for right now, I'm going with the "cross your fingers, buckle up, and hope for the best" approach. Wheeeee!!!!