Well, we’re in the deep weeds now.
We’ve officially completed our first full week with two kids in middle school. They have 22 months between them but are in back-to-back grades at school. They walk the same hallways, have (some) of the same teachers, and aren’t the least bit afraid to express opinions about rules, staff, and dress code.
Here are a few nuggets I’ve gleaned from the first week of school.
1. There were approximately 36 forms to complete between the two kids. One sent home in duplicate – the “P.E.” form – required everything from parent information to an extensive medical survey to multiple emergency contacts. For each child. Bless.
2. Sixth grade has a twenty minute lunch. Seventh has fifteen minutes. By senior year they’ll probably be fed intravenously during instructional periods.
3. I wonder how many times over the years I’ll have to make the Dumb Bunny call because there is so much I do not know. The only way you learn the stuff is to do the things, which means the first time you’re flying blind and hoping you don’t drop the ball.
4. Take athletics, for instance. This is the first year the middle school has allowed sixth graders to try out for sports (with the exception of football), but did I know that before Open House? Nope. So did I get Bear a sports physical over the summer? Nope. Why would she? Then the weekend before school started I noticed that the first softball game was in September – wait, softball as a fall sport? – which meant surely they’d be holding tryouts. Better find that out.
5. Fast forward to my Dumb Bunny e-mail asking when tryouts were and the shock factor of learning they’d begin the first day of school. Ummm…okay. Fast forward to the first day of school and the Dumb Bunny call asking what time tryouts end and where I should pick up my child. That’s right – I sent Bear off to school on the first day with a hug and a hearty, “I’ll see you…well…later.”
6. Then there was the moment when I stuttered my way through telling the coach that no, Bear doesn’t have a sports physical or concussion form on file with the school. Fast forward to me checking my daughter out on the second day of school to see her pediatrician just so she can try out for the softball team. After the administration basically said they’d call the law down on kids with tardies. Mom of the Year, babe.
7. Which leads me to what I’ve learned about the middle school sports program so far. My best resource will probably be parents of seventh and eighth graders. We are light years away from elementary school – no one’s chasing you down the hall begging you to participate, so if you’re interested you’d better get cracking. And whoever’s responsible for their web pages could use an assistant.
8. This year’s sixth grade orientation had all the stuff I needed to know last year – how the kids would get around for their first few days at school, how the drop off and pick up lines work – so kudos for the improvements.
9. The assistant principal hit highlights for girls from the school’s dress code: straps that are three fingers wide, no completely off-the-shoulder tops, skirts/shorts that reach her fingertips, no rips in jeans above the knee). A handout had more detailed dress code information, but I guess these are the areas where they have the most trouble. Bear looked to me and asked what the deal was with shoulders; I leaned over and whispered, “I guess you didn’t know – just a glimpse of them drives the boys wild.” She rolled her eyes. Bwahahahaha!
10. Bless her heart, a parent up front raised her hand to ask if the shorts rule applied to boys.
10a. In what world would ANY of us tolerate a dress code that only applied to girls?
10b. Any boy who wears shorts that don’t reach his fingers in middle school is gonna get eaten alive right now. Short shorts are out.
11. Upon learning that parents can come for lunch with their child Bear very sincerely and emphatically told me Not To Come. “Seriously, mom. Don’t.”
12. I’m fairly certain middle school health teachers don’t get paid enough. I remember blinking last year when I saw the sixth grade’s “abstinence only” curriculum, but the seventh grade outline came home this week and sh*t just got real. STDs, birth control methods, sexual assault, abuse, and trafficking…looks like T-man’s gonna have some awkward class conversations.