Friday, June 3, 2011

Fifth Grader for Sale

The end of the school year is upon us.  Elementary children are squirrelly, over-excited, and strung out on last-minute cupcakes and candy.  There are talent shows, field days, assemblies, picnics, programs, graduations, and field trips...all one right after the other.  It's exhausting. 

Every year, the same thing happens.  My children become little alien creatures, unrecognizable in action and emotion:  euphoric one minute, in tears the next, followed by moodiness rivaled only by a PMSing adolescent.  Until finally the day comes.  The last day of school.  And suddenly, my kids realize that their heightened emotions have all been leading up to this single moment that will forever change who and what they are.  Wiping tears that refuse to stay in check, waving one last goodbye to friends, they cross the threshold of the school doors for the last time of the year.

This year, my fifth grade son will be lucky if I let him live that long.

Being an elementary music teacher, my husband has the unique privilege of seeing the same kids year after year as they make their way through elementary school, and he gets to know them pretty well.  One thing he's always noticed about his students, though, is that as the year comes to a close, the majority of the fifth graders are hit with the same affliction.  They become arrogant, cocky, know-it-all little jerks.  He diagnoses them with what he calls  "MiddleSchool-itis".  And our own son has it bad.  

Giant fish in a tiny pond, fifth graders have spent the entire school year being bigger (although not in my son's case), smarter, and tougher than everyone else in school.  Throughout the year, they're given special privileges (kindergarten buddies), special responsibilities (lunch helpers, safeties, flag raisers), and special events (trips, pizza parties, field day, graduation).  They've gained a wealth of knowledge, including the "grown up" talks about reproduction and their bodies, and for months they've been told "When you get to middle school...".  By the time this part of the year rolls around, those fifth graders are feeling pretty good about themselves.

And then they turn into little my son.

All of a sudden, this arrogant child seems to think that he's on equal footing with me and my husband.  That he can parent our other children.  That he can speak to us like we're the kids on the playground.  His desire to control his own life is spinning out of control (ironically), and I fear that soon he may snap.  Or maybe I will.

In order that he may continue breathing, I've decided to make up a few fliers to post around town.  If you see one and are interested, please comment below.  Just make sure you read the fine print.

            Fifth Grader with MiddleSchool-itis
 *Free to Good Home*

- can do anything
- knows everything
- makes no mistakes
- is the awesomest person ever
- can run your home single-handedly
- comes complete with parenting skills

No returns or exchanges of said fifth grader will be accepted
 while the illness persists.

Please note that this is a temporary arrangement and will be dissolved
entirely upon the fifth grader's admittance to sixth grade,
 when he will realize he is a tiny fish in a giant pond
and will cry for his mommy.

1 comment:

  1. So funny and true! Unfortunately, eighth grade-itis might be worse, which is then followed the period of ultimate knowledge and wisdom: the teen years. Did you know every 14-year-old is smarter than their parent(s)? Don't believe me? Just ask one. By the way, rolling of the eyes can be translated into, "duh," "you're so embarrassing," or "stop talking to me."