So, the boys--no, make that ALL of us--have survived one whole week of the brand new academic session. As the traffic reporters seem fond of saying: "Things are moving fairly smoothly, with no major incidents to report." However, there are some stories (of course)...
For today, let's start with Tales of the Teenager: Derek cracked me up when I retrieved him from soccer practice on Tuesday by relaying the following: "Remember our hippie English teacher I told you about? Well, today he had us close our eyes while he played music in the background...and read us poetry!" By the way, both his expression and tone of voice conveyed as much disgust as if he'd just...I don't know...sniffed his own soccer cleats. (Trust me on this one...words can barely convey the...putridity. See? They're so bad, I have to make stuff up!) So my response could not have pleased him when I immediately exclaimed, "That sounds awesome! I wanna come to his class!"
(But seriously...is that allowed? It just brings me back to one of the best instructors I ever had in my entire educational career. He was a flower-child-in-spirit, who told us we could call him Tony if we wanted...sometimes perched on his desk to chat--um, "conduct a lesson"...and had those of us in his 1st period AP History class pitch in a dollar each to purchase an electric kettle so we could have coffee or hot chocolate because "it's too darn early to be here and I'm not allowed to have a beverage unless everyone does." God, I loved that man...sorry for the digression down Memory Lane...where was I?)
Then, I believe it was Thursday night when Derek informed me that he needed me to do something for his homework. Worn out from the multiple days of signing forms and filling out papers and...whatnot...that happens each August, (and does not get any less tedious or annoying with each repetition, imagine that...) I wearily asked him what was required of me this time. It turns out that his Chemistry teacher wants to train his students to use precise language when describing things, so he gave them an exercise where they had to write about a molecule that they had a model of in front of them, bring it home to a parent, and have them attempt to draw it from their child's explanation.
Ooh, cool! I'm game--but I should mention that I have absolutely NO artistic skills whatsoever...and it's kinda hard anyway to translate a 3-D object to a 2-D recreation on paper. So I did my best, but wasn't terribly satisfied with my finished product. (Is anyone surprised? I didn't think so...) But...I remembered Husband's Molecule Model Set...from his own days of studying science at Penn State. Now, we (okay, "I") have mocked him many times over the years for holding on to this antiquated kit, even packing it and moving it from Maryland to North Carolina...but I've gotta confess that it came in handy in just such a...scholastic emergency. When I finished, Derek told me it was pretty close to the original, and I suggested he take a photo to show in class the next day. Somehow, he appeared utterly scandalized by this perfectly reasonable idea.
"Well, then, how about I email your teacher?" I innocently offerred (mwah hah hah)."Mom...NO!" he gasped, "I do NOT want Mr. R to know that my mother went...full-on-nerd...with the molecule set!" (Snickering to self....aahhh, the joy of Torturing Your Teenage Offspring...I think I'm gonna get an A+ in this subject...and it's looking like a fuuuuuuun year already...)
Anywho, next we have soccer ('cuz, you know, it IS the center of all of our lives....or whatever...). When I attended the parent meeting at the beginning of the season, one thing the Head Coach mentioned reaaaallly stuck with me. He was describing team policies, and how the coaching staff tries very hard to help the boys stay out of trouble as much as possible. At one point he said something like, "I think of it as, the cupcakes are still gooey", pointing to his head and grinning wryly, "so they don't always make the...smartest decisions." (Oh, my gosh...how much do I L-O-V-E that analogy? Yep, I'm totally adopting that, starting now...) They also had concussion baseline testing, both neurological and in questionnaire format, in which, for example, the players had to estimate how often they experienced symptoms such as "short-term memory loss, brain fogginess, and inability to focus". When Derek was telling me about this, he huffed, "I don't know what they expect me to say...I'm a 15-year old boy...I feel this way on a daily basis!" (Hahahaha! Yet so true...)
So later in the week, it should have come as no shock at all that he came home from school and ever-so-casually led off a conversation with, "Apparently our new thing at lunch is walking around and screwing with people." (Oh...goodie? Can't wait to hear where this is going...) He continued, "Yeah, one of my friends has a Referee App on his phone (well, of course he does...) so we go up to someone, bump into them, fall down, and he uses the app to blow the whistle and give them a yellow card." Oh. Good Grief. My first inquiry naturally had to be: "Did you get in any trouble for this?" When he responded "nah", I could admit...that sounds pretty hilarious. Except that in a super-genius move, Derek performed this feat one time on the concrete sidewalk...scraping the HECK out of his arm in the process. It was all good, though, as another one of his buddies jumped in to pretend to provide medical support, stabilizing his head and asking him mental-orientation questions before agreeing that he could be moved. Ay yi yi...
Yep, those high school noggins could definitely could use a wee bit more time in the oven, right? But hey, at least they're using their considerably creative powers for...entertainment....rather than...wait, on second thought, let's not give them any other options! And just think, only 35 more weeks to go...siiiiiighhhhh