Junior High Can Suck It

This morning, my children rose at the crack of dawn in order to get ready for their first day of school.

Apparently, they both needed to wake the dead two full hours before they needed to catch the school bus in order to prepare for their first day in their new grades. When I questioned them about why they felt the need to rise at 6 am, they explained they were getting older and needed more time to prepare to face the day in front of them.

I'm hard pressed to argue this logic since it's past ten am, I've been up since 6 and I'm still sitting in my jammies and trying to avoid any adult responsibilites that keep calling my name.

However, back in the day of yore, I distinctly remember sleeping in until ten minutes before I had to rush out the door, stopping only to brush my hair and teeth, grab a glass of orange juice and eat a handful of dry cereal as I yawned my way to the bus stop. It never occurred to me to get up any second earlier than absolutely necessary just to get ready for school.

So either my children are smarter than I am or I've seriously went wrong somewhere down the path of child rearing.

How I miss the days of waking them up by throwing open their doors, bellowing on the top of my lungs "Good MORNING MY CHILDREN! Rise and SHINE!" as I clanged on the lid of a pot and ducked as they hurled their pillows at my head.

The little demons have turned the tables on me by waking me up every morning by jumping on my bed and yelling "Good MORNING MOMMY! Rise and SHINE" and then scamper out giggling as I hurl obscenities at their heads and bury my head under my pillow.

Where has time gone?

Perhaps I'm letting my own middle school days colour my judgement here. Sure I was an athlete, on every sports team and a straight A student as well as part of the drama club and the leader of our Peer Support Group.

You know what all that educational goodness that got me?

Stuffed into a locker more than once, ostracized at the lunch tables and labeled "Tiny Titty Tanis the Class Geek."

Don't believe me? We once had an in-class election and someone nominated me for class Treasurer because I was such a brainiac. I went home to proudly tell my parents just how kick ass awesome I was and how because someone else nominated me I was surely a shoo-in.

As it turned out, it was a well orchestrated joke by several cooler class mates and as the votes were read out loud and it became apparent that I was the only one to vote for me, the sniggering began.

Only an unplanned growth spurt the summer before I entered grade eight saved me from the same the fate suffered by a boy named Joe. I was too tall to pick up and hang off the hook on the back of the science door, although they may have tried once or twice.

All of this was compounded by the oversized and decidedly seventies like glasses my parents forced me to wear and my wardrobe consisting of handmade clothing stitched lovingly by my mother. I'd have much preferred if she would have lovingly purchased my clothes from Au Coton and the Gap instead of basically pinning a "Kick Me" sign on the back of every piece of clothing she created for me. But beggars can't be choosers at that age.

So ya, middle school rocked for me. There were a few moments to remember, like the Valentines dance in grade eight where a boy named Jeff asked me to be his date. He was cute, and while not a member of the hip crowd, he certainly didn't trawl the depths of loserdom alongside me. Romance swirled around us inside our circular gym filled with pink and red streamers and balloons as the deejay played Journey's Open Arms.

It was on that dance floor as we shuffled our feet back and forth and clutched each other's shoulders that he leaned in and kissed me. I remember he tasted like pepperoni pizza and cinnamon gum and when I didn't smack him upside the head when he touched my lips with his he shoved his fat tongue inside my mouth and ground his braces against my lips.

What I didn't know what was going on behind me as he tried to lick my tonsils was his friend stood behind us with a stop watch timing how long he could make out with a girl. I think we made it thirty five seconds before I had to go up for air and swallow the pool of spit that had somehow collected in my mouth during our romantic moment. We spent the rest of the dance not looking at one another while his hand rested on my ass and as soon as the song ended I ran to the bathroom and hid for the next thirty minutes while giggling and gossiping with my girl friends.

Because I was cool like that.

The only other action I saw during those three years of junior high hell was when one of the endless stream of boys would walk by, snap my bra and then make a loud joke about why someone who was as flat as a board needed a bra for her nonexistent boobs.

I'm not bitter or anything. After all, twenty years later and my cups literally runneth over. Thanks a lot boobs. Would it have killed you to show up a little sooner?



Mine too kid. Mine too.

My children, however, have yet to suffer the same fate their mother did. While they aren't at the top of the social totem pole, they landed somewhere nicely in the middle unlike me, who never even made it to the bottom.

I make sure they have clothes they like (even if I do refuse to spend the dollars it requires for the labels they need to shoot to the top of the ecosystem of school) and while Frac wears glasses I actually make sure they look nice on him instead of just purchasing from the discount bargain bin.

And unlike myself at that age, they possess something I never did and still struggle to find: a healthy dose of self-esteem.

Perhaps I did something right on this parenting path afterall.

So I sit here alone, with only my dogs and the ever present yet totally silent little man Jumby, wondering what waits for them as they travel through the perils of school and hope their fates are kinder than mine ever was.

As they stuffed new gym shoes and lunches into their spanky new backpacks, I asked them what they hoped this year would bring for them.

Frac piped up as he wrestled an oversized sneaker (seriously, the kid isn't even twelve yet and already he is in a mens size nine shoe!) and looked up at me and grinned, "This is the year I'm not going to get pantsed by anyone on the playground!"

I laughed and then checked to make sure he was wearing a belt. You know, to do my part in making his dream come true and all that.

"Well Fric, what about you? What's your big goal for grade eight? After all, you are smack in the middle of junior high and it won't be long before you grace the halls of high school. What do you hope for this year?" I asked while imagining she'd tell me how she would be planning to have the highest grade point average of her class or to win the coveted Sports Merit award at the end of the year.

(Ya, I'm delusional. You should know this about me by now.)

Fric flipped her freshly blown out bob and batted her mascara coated eyelashes at me and answered dreamily, "This is the year I get a real boyfriend and find out what a french kiss is."

Needless to say, the coffee I was sipping went down the wrong pipe and I stood there choking and gasping as they waved goodbye and walked down our driveway to catch the bus to their destinies.

Damn it. Junior high didn't kill me the first time around but it seems highly likely it's going to do me in this time around the block.


Look how excited they are to nail my coffin shut. Brats.