What passes for normal.

Save for the fact that I, from the esophagus onward, am still feeling "off" and all that, things have settled down to "normal" ovah heah.

No more Communion, no more Mothers' Day, no more anniversary anything. Just the manifest glories of everyday living. Wake up, rouse the offspring with increased threats until the desired results ensue, prepare breakfast, pack lunch and drive to school. Repeat.

It shows how hectic a certain period of your life has been that what is the normal and everyday takes some getting-used-to. NTS is still not used to it and, in his inimitably lycanthropic way, lets us know he's displeased or unhappy or whatever. You know the boy's rattled because instead of acting as he usually does (i.e. an earthquake at 5am) he merely staggers from his bed to ours muttering "Sleep. I want sleep."

Even weirder is that these days NOS has decided to arrive at school at 7am, ostensibly to "help the teacher" but we all know the first trickles of treacherous testosterone are coursing through his system and since next year there won't be any girls in his academic life (nor will there by until he turns 18 or so, by which point I expect the hormones to be fairly rioting through his arteries) one must make hay while the sun shines.

But his boyhood is still with us, mostly. So we pored over the Junior High -- I adore this is not called the more politically correct, enuretic "middle school" -- catalog looking at the verious options available to him. F'rinstance, he is required to at least try out for one sports team per semester, and he was wondering aloud things such as "is lacrosse better than crew?"* or "What sports are open to incoming 6th Graders?"**

Also, he is required to participate in X hours of afterschool club activity, so the relative merits of the Meteorology club (yawn) vs. the Astronomy club (not bad) vs. the Debate club (depends) have all come under the microscope. Lastly, we have all discussed the most important aspects of of Next Year: Electives.

There are two electives: "Humanities" (Art, Music, Drama) and "Foreign Language" (French, Portuguese, Italian or German) and the way it works is that you can mix-and-match if you desire. That is, you can, for example,

1- Take "Intro To Art" in 6th Grade, "Intro To Music" in 7th Grade, "Intro To Drama" in 8th Grade (etc.) or
2- Start with "Intro To Art" in 6th Grade, "Intermediate Art" in 7th Grade then go "Intro To Drama" in 8th Grade (etc.) or
3- Just stick with Art (or Music or Drama) all the way through.


While NOS is more keen to stick with Music (seeing as how he has a strong background in Choral music, and decent skill on the guitar) he has noticed that in Drama, he can perform in works at girls' schools and quite often girls come and perform in assorted works ovah theah. Dunno he has changed his mind but he has filed this tidbit away for future reference. The problem with the music dept. is that they often try to equalize the instruments played and a LOT of kids come in with a guitar background and you can't very well have an ensemble of 87 guitarists and one kid on the flute. So unless you're spectacular on the guitar (or the drums) you're going to be assigned some other instrument. NOS isn't, frankly, all that eager to be a bassoonist or trombonist. So we're keeping our eye on drama.

The Foreign Language requirement works pretty much the same way. You can stick with one, or you can mix-and-match as little or as much as you like. He, being an expedient sort, is leaning towards Portuguese or Italian, these being quite similar in structure, vocabulary and grammar to Spanish. To his mother's heartbreak, he has shown my Francophobic streak and is shunning all things Gallic. He hasn't actually called them "cheese eating surrender monkeys" but that's more a function of his geopolitical naiveté so far.

These are all signs of our little boy maturing.

Oddly enough, NOS asked: "When will I be able to stay home by myself without a babysitter?" To which I replied, "When you have proof of adequate insurance coverage." He is also asking some pretty worrisome questions about what sort of car he'll have when he turns 16. (Sadly, at this school, you do wind up with some boys driving gigabuck cars which we are loath to provide NOS even if we could afford it. Something about a 16 year old driving a brand-new top-of-the-line Porsche Cayenne doesn't, y'know, sit right with me.)

What are we to make of all this normalcy?


* No it's not; lacrosse is far more of a team sport.
** Baseball, hockey, basketball, soccer.


Poppy Buxom said…
Luckily the driving-to-school thing is pretty much pointless for the Buxoms. I could stand at the end of the driveway, toss a tennis ball skywards, and have it land on the school in question.

So they walk.

I guess that's repayment for having had to deal with high school traffic for the past ten years.

My answer to what NOS was going to drive would be to reintroduce the question of insurance coverage.

In fact, I don't think it's a bad idea to make kids pay for their car insurance. And gas.

p.s. Being a spoiled brat East Coast prep, I went to a school that had "Upper School" and "Lower School." I am still not clear as to what Middle School is. I could ask my children, but why waste my breath? They won't know themselves. I must say, though, that it's a typical bit of Joke-osity that you are sufficiently worked up over something as minor as the phrase "middle school" to rant--I mean mention it in your blog.
Joke said…
I can only rant about minor things. If I started ranting about say, monetary policy or what we ought do about Lebanon this blog would begin to hemorrhage readers.


P.S. Middle school is what Junior High school used to be before someone noticed the word "Junior" was an exploitative term beloved of the hierarchy and redolent with the awfulness that is the patriarchal hegemony and so it was dropped in a show of typical flaccidity.

Except ovah heah, wheah we are pretty keen on all the patriarchy doings.
Joke said…
What? It's a language. (There's a goodly number of Portuguese and Brazilian expats down heah, so it's a highish demand sort of thing.)

Poppy Buxom said…
I figured he'd learn Portuguese for no reason except that it would be even less useful than Italian.
Joke said…
No, no, no.

He'd take Portuguese because it'd be less difficult than Italian.

teachergirl said…
Over here, middle school is what you suffer through in a skort (please, don't make me explain)after you've worn a jumper in lower school before you get the gray skirt for upper school.
Joke said…
That's possibly weirder than our case.

All I know is - you keep writing about NOS because he sounds very similar to mine and it saves me the effort!
Joke said…
I live to benefit humanity.

Oh I find this all so exciting as it reminds me of my schooling. But the weight of those decisions - music or languages? blah blah blah.

Most excellent.
Joke said…
Oh, but it gets better.

He is also required to do 25 hours of volunteering -- we'll set aside the issue of being required to volunteer -- per school year for grades 6 & 7 and 40 hours per year thereafter AND he is required (along with the rest of his classmates) to spend 4 weeks "in the missions" somewhere in the 3rd World between 11th and 12th grade.

Sort of like a mini-Peace Corps for young Catholics.

Joke said…
P.S. That missions thing is an organized sort of thing...it's not like he can choose to parachute into Lesotho.

It's pretty much 4 weeks of hauling food, digging irrigation trenches, building houses, etc. at an established Jesuit missionary site.
Tere said…
Yeah, please don't give him a brand-new fancy car when he turns 16 - resist la comemierderia!!!

And, eu falo um pouco do português e seriu-me bem, so you know, not necessarily a bad choice. Especially if he one day hopes to lure Brazilian girls...

Oh, and nice school choice. My BIL is class of 86 and I have sundry ex-noviecitos who went there.
Joke said…
Well, it wasn't really a choice, since my grandfather and my dad went there -- back when it was a boarding school! -- and I did too.

And he is NOT getting a gigabuck car. We had a discussion along those lines. More on that in an upcoming entry.


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