This used to be the line I spoke when confiding what my kids did or said in public. But lately it’s become my 9-year-old son’s dramatic catch-phrase.
Fourth grade is hard. (His words, not mine. I remember fourth grade as being a year to review and sharpen what we learned in third grade: multiplication, cursive, etc.)
For him, fourth grade is especially hard because he’s suddenly feeling the need to fit in and the smallest things cause him embarrassment.
It was warm outside last week. Temperatures in the 80s meant shorts, polo shirts and more embarrassment.
I still pick out his clothes for school every day. (Yes, he’s old enough to do it himself, but he has no sense of how to match clothes.) When I picked out a fashionably-plaid pair of shorts and polo for him to wear to school last week, he went on about how boys only wear gym shorts and girls wear “outfits.”
“I’ll be so embarrassed!” he said.
He survived the day in his “outfit” and didn’t complain when he got home.
Same outfit, different day:
The next day I let him wear gym shorts. Since he didn’t have PE that day, he asked if he could wear flip-flops to school. Fine by me.
“I was so embarrassed!” he tells me. “I was the ONLY BOY who wore flip-flops to school today.”
I get it. It’s tough to be a tween. I never thought of a 9-year-old as being old enough to be called a tween, but it really does fit in his case. He’s far too young to be a teen, but he’s surpassed the age where being around friends is about nothing more than having a good time. He needs to feel like he fits in and is accepted and something as insignificant as flip-flops can make or break an entire day.
I’m starting to think that school uniforms would save me a lot of trouble. He dreads wearing the clothes I pick out then becomes embarrassed after making his own fashion faux pas. And it’s only supposed to get harder from here?