Car Conversations

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.

Growing too fast.

Growing too fast.

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Middle Schoolers Seeking Dating Advice From Crazy Parents: A True Story

My oldest son is now in middle school.

We have entered the big leagues, my friends.

The thought of String Bean walking through the doors of middle school sent me into a panic. All I could think about were my uncomfortable days of junior high.  I never wanted to relive those moments of hell again.

Fortunately, all my worrying was for nothing. String Bean has had a good run thus far.

Lately, he has been asking me some unique questions.  Questions that he has decided I am the best resource to ask.  Questions about dating.

Yes, dating.  Apparently something resembling this happens in sixth grade.

Sadly, I don’t want to share my middle school dating experiences which only consisted of one slow dance, a note that had the words, “Will you go out with me? Circle one: yes, no or maybe,” and being dumped by the said note-writer because I wasn’t allowed to go with he and his older brother to an amusement park.

Obviously, I was not the best person to ask.  I didn’t become a good person to ask until later in high school and in college.  Oh yes.  Good times.

So sorry – I digress. Back to String Bean.

“Mom.  Can I talk to you?” he said as he is working on his math homework.

“Sure thing, dude,” I said as I stared blankly at his math homework.  It looks more advanced than my college Algebra class.

“How do you know if a girl likes you?” he said, not making eye contact with me.

“Do you talk to the girl at school?”

“Yes. We sit near each other in Social Studies.”

“Have you talked to her about anything in particular like movies or Legos or anything?”

“Mom. Seriously? You think I am that dorky that I would talk to a giiiiiiiirrrrrrrlllll about Legos?”

“No, not at all. Probably not a good idea to talk about Legos.  I was just thinking about Legos for a second. My bad,” I said while looking at the Lego Shakepeare figure he gave me last week.

“How do I know if she likes me?” he said, starting to lose patience with me.

“Has she given you any hints that she likes you, such as giggles or whispers to her friends or smiles really big when you are around?” Yes, I am grasping here.  Failing like I failed many a math test.

“Yeah, kind of.  So, how do I ask her on a date?”

Wait a second.  A date? Wwwwwwwhhhhhhhhaaaaaaaaatttttt???

“Umm. You could ask her if she likes Thor, and if she has seen any of the movies,” I said.  I am not sure where my response came from except for the fact I really like Thor.  Really like him.  And I want to see Thor, so I would take anyone to see it with me!

“OK.  Maybe I will talk to her about movies then,” he says and goes back to his homework.

Successful dodging of topic!  Hooray!

Later in the evening, as we are doing the bedtime ritual, I go to tuck String Bean in.

“Mom.  So how do I ask a girl on a date again?”

“Starting talking to her and then see where it goes,” I said, and, knowing full well The Captain was nearby, I added, “Maybe you should ask your dad because he is a guy also.”  Ha.

“Dad, how do I ask a girl out on a date?” he said.

The Captain appeared in the doorway looking completely baffled at the question, but without missing a beat, he replied, “You are too young to go on dates.  Now go to bed.”

String Bean looks at me and whispers, “See, Mom, this is why I asked you. Dad must not have had any dates in middle school.  He probably talked to girls about Legos.  Poor guy.”

They grow up too fast...

They grow up too fast…