Middle school is an odd time. I say odd because there isn’t really another adjective I can use to explain how weird my discussions with my middle school son, String Bean, have become.
And the car has become the place for these odd talks.
Long gone are the car discussions about the merits of Wendy’s nuggets over McDonald’s McNuggets. Or the chats about the zillion unique Pokemon characters (Legendary ones versus morphed ones, etc.) and how important each one is to the game. No. These car conversations are now replaced by talks about social skills and, gulp, dating.
I should preface – String Bean is in 6th grade. I still recall playing Barbies in 6th grade. I don’t remember having a boyfriend or calling a boy’s house or being at all interested in the opposite sex.
Times they are a changin’.
This past car conversation proved very interesting. String Bean and I had just left the community theater and I was running one of the middle school girls, who is in the musical with us, home. She is in 8th grade. String Bean is smitten with her and, basically, wouldn’t lend a word to the conversation.
So I led it and told her that String Bean and I were going to go home and try to catch an episode of The Family Guy. This is something he wasn’t allowed to watch until he hit middle school status, so we watch it together (mostly in case of any questions that may come up!)
She laughed and said that it was a funny show.
String Bean sat there and said nothing, but his body language said it all. I had done the worst thing a parent can do: embarrassed him.
We chatted more, and finally arrived at her home. I waited until she went inside before pulling out of the driveway.
The silent middle child sitting in the car became quite chatty. He asked me how I talked to people so easily. I told him practice. I also told him the biggest secret of all: ask THEM about themselves. It works like magic.
He took all of it in and seemed completely content by the time we reached our home.
About 10 minutes later, he got a text on his iPod from the 8th grade girl. It said: “Turned on the TV and The Family Guy was on. Thought of you two.”
Needless to say, String Bean didn’t stop grinning all night.