Saturday, April 17, 2010

it's so hard to be a kid


we had a party today with sabin's entire class. a chance for her to say goodbye and also the birthday party we didn't have back in january when the weather was bad. the kids are mostly 10, sabin is the youngest at 9. they're definitely 'tweens now - not teenagers yet and yet no longer kids. the dynamics are more and more marked and yet more and more subtle.

we divided them into three teams and put them through that painful moment of choosing teams (painful if you're the last one left). but even before that, the dynamics were in play. i've never really had a sense before of anyone being teased or bullied, but i saw moments of it today. one of them really surprised me, because if you look at the kids, the girl who seemed to be teased would have been the one you thought was coolest and most popular, the other one i wanted to bully a little bit myself. i had a very hard time keeping a straight face when a classmate said to him, "sorry to ask, but are you handicapped or something?" i had honestly been wondering the same thing as he repeatedly, almost obsessively, poked the fire with a stick after being asked not to by both me and his peers. it was like he went deaf a little bit.

i watched kids clown their way out of embarassing situations. i listened to the surprisingly astute observations they have. i was astonished by their humor and facility with sarcasm (they are little danish kids, after all). i was touched by their kindness to one another (it wasn't all bullying and even the bullying was mild). i wondered at their tears (my own child, whose expectations were so high, completely melted down at one point). but mostly, i was bowled over by their energy.

and grateful that i don't have to go through it all again. it's hard to be a kid. but it's joyful as well.

7 comments:

Cham said...

It is tough to be a kid! I have sisters that are almost a decade younger than me, so listening to them and their friends talk just makes me grateful that the age of tween-ism was several miles back on my road of life. While adults aren't always more mature, at least we've progressed to the point where we can pretend we are.

My name isn't Evan said...

About kids, ah -- oh, never mind.

Writer Lady said...

I remember not even liking birthday parties - mostly because of the games they played. I didn't like to play them, but you kind of have to, don't you?

I hope Sabin enjoyed most of her party. She'll be thinking back on her friends once she's at the new place.

Barb said...

I hated being a kid. Well, at least that tween, early teen age. I think the hardest thing for my teenager is his dorky mom!
Great puzzle picture.

CatLadyLarew said...

Birthday parties... so exciting and yet so many opportunities for heartbreak! Reminds me of the old Leslie Gore song... "It's my party and I'll cry if I want to."

mrs mediocrity said...

Yes, it is so hard to watch them go through the things that we have all lived through, the hurts, the setbacks, the learning. But also the joys, the fun, the energy, the innocence, the curiosity...all part of the process. I wouldn't want to go through it all again either, but it is so intriguing to watch sometimes...

Sammi said...

I'm sure kids are more grown up than I was at their age nowadays, and it wasn't that long ago.

Bullying is a funny thing. Today we had a 9y.o. using the C word and I didn't know what to say! I was so shocked, I don't think I even knew that word at 9!!! He got slated by everyone for his foul mouth, though. It was like everyone was ganging up on him, but then... he shouldn't have used that sort of language so I guess he was in the wrong.