M started high school this week. (And yes, it’s almost as startling a concept as the fact he’s now as tall as I am.) He’d been surprisingly nervous ahead of time, and finally admitted the night before school started that he was worried because he’d heard that the older students beat up the freshmen. I told him that with all the emphasis on anti-bullying these days, it was definitely not open season on freshmen, and that seemed to encourage him.
And after 3 days of school, in which he has not been beaten up, not gotten lost too often trying to find his classes, not lost too many of his possessions, signed up for the same gym section as his best friend, and realized that 5 out of his 7 teachers seem nice, he’s much happier. He also discovered that a good friend of his from Scouts is on his new school bus route. So he’s spent the last couple bus rides playing Go Fish with two of his 9th grade neighborhood buddies, his 10th grade Scout buddy, and a couple 12th grade older brothers of the other kids. M’s comment: “The older kids on the bus are a lot nicer than the older kids were a few years ago on the middle school bus route.”
Yeah, middle school really is the worst. One more reason to be glad it’s behind him.
I’ve heard that the high school is large enough that every kid can find their own niche and a group of compatible friends to hang out with. “Geeks who play card games on the bus” is certainly a healthier niche than “Druggies who hang out in the parking lot during free periods.”
Now E and I just have to come through on our promise to get him a cell phone for high school. We think giving him something with a camera and web access is too much potential for trouble. I’m sure he’ll fit right in with the geek crowd even if they see the bottom-of-the-line Tracfone we’re buying him. To make things even more ridiculous, since our house is metal-framed, nobody ever gets cell phone reception inside it. So he won’t be one of those kids who feels social pressures to stay up late at night replying to texts; he just has to tell his friends he lives in a metal cage.