What's Youngest up to?

Youngest is at an interesting stage -
not quite a little kid and not a teenager either (though he's counting the days).
He may not be more introspective than his brothers were at this age, but I certainly do hear more about his life. (Oldest is a full disclosure kind of guy, much to my chagrin and Middle is SILENT.) And he is definitely much more sensitive than his brothers were - any little slight, any offhanded comment, or criticism stings him sharply. It's especially hard as his peers tend to be a little brutish compared to him, so goes the world of tweens I suppose...cliquey and critical, even his good friends can put him off from time to time.

But ANYWAY - I thought I'd write a little about what he's doing right now because this seems like a good place to keep track of where he's at.

He a dedicated student. I never have to remind him to do homework or study, and it shows on his report card. Almost every day he gives me the report of each class and how he did.

We have discontinued his trumpet lessons and his participation in the jazz band and he just plays trumpet with the school band. He was putting a lot of pressure on himself to perform at a certain level and I wanted him to ease up. His braces are due to come off sometime within the next six months and we will re-evaluate his playing then.

He is still an avid reader - but he prefers to spend time playing World Of Warcraft. He is pretty good about sharing the computer if Middle wants to do something and asks for a turn, and then usually goes off happily to play something else.

He has not chosen a "for fun" instrument as my other two did (guitars, drums) and I find that kind of funny - but okay.

He has stopped skateboarding. I think the combination of injuries, difficulty, and not being friends anymore with the other skaters at his school kind of wrung it out for him.

Youngest still loves to play outside though - there are always forts behind the log pile and traps set up in the bushes. And he talks to himself and acts out scenes the whole time.

I think his stuffed animals are ready for the attic, which is kind of sad. Jeero is still a companion, along with a monkey (given to him by a popular boy who quickly forgot about it) and OX, another Ugly Doll.

He has spent hours studying the Ikea catalogue as we have promised him grown-up furniture for his 13th birthday (he is sleeping in a bed that K built when he was a tiny boy and has milk paint dressers). After researching like a madman, he designed a wardrobe system with shelves, racks, hooks and a hamper. He's picked out a white desk and bed to match it and has asked for the room to be painted (god help me, it's knotty pine panelling) white too.
He is very excited about this. Very.

He's different from his brothers when it comes to dressing too. Oldest and Middle had very clear ideas about their clothing from the time they were about 2, and still do. But Youngest can sometimes be about comfort, sometimes about cozy and sometimes he seems not to care what he wears - his brothers were never that casual. He's lately been a jeans and tee shirt sort of guy.

At under five feet he's small for his age. My kids tend to be in the third percentile for height and weight. Oldest is still a short thin guy, and Middle is about five foot eight and only about a hundred pounds - but he grew seven inches in just a few months one year, so the jury is out regarding his growth. I can tell you that he has incredibly long thin fingers and feet - his shoes are bigger than Middle's.

Last week, Youngest took an art test. He had to prepare a portfolio and then do specific artistic exercises one morning in the cafeteria (they were instructed to sketch their shoe, a seated model and design a book jacket). If he passes he will be invited to take advanced art from this point forward, which he would greatly enjoy. I'm a little worried as I would have loved to have gotten involved in the portfolio part, as I'm sure other parents did. His looked a little mingy. But the morning of the test he ran downstairs and announced that he was wearing his Birkenstocks on purpose - much easier to draw than sneakers he told me, as he had heard that this was one of the exercises. We've got our fingers crossed that he did well as it would be a nice ego stroke for him. You should have heard him describing some of the other portfolios -
his sincerity in admiring the work of his classmates had a lump in my throat.

On the same day he went to the book fair. I gave him $25 and he came home with four books.
True Stories Of D-Day, and three Chicken Soup For The Soul For Teenagers books. I can't even tell you how impressed I was. The CS books covered school, friends and challenges and he said:
I figured these books could help me deal with stresses at school, you know, when kids are being jerks or at home when Oldest is yelling about stuff. A wave of relief swept over me as I've not had advice for him of late when people are mean or Oldest is shouting about the injustices of the world.

He's my most responsible kid. And he loves it. I never have to remind him to do anything, from taking two or three medications a day, to brushing his teeth, to being mindful of other kid's feelings. I can count on him. He loves to make us proud - and though Middle would accuse him of kissing up to us, I think he likes it for what it is - being good.


As a frontiersman - for a school presentation...


Badger said…
Aw! I heart your kids.

And Youngest's art portfolio = the boy child's science fair project this year. With the parental involvement (or lack thereof) and the sincere admiration for what the other kids did.


This parenting shit ain't easy.
Jennifer said…
I just love your boys.

With parenting you just kinda hold your breath and hope for the best working your hardest to guide their paths in the right direction.

I think you and K have done a pretty darn good job from what I can tell.
Keetha said…
Blackbird, I love the way you write about your children. It's tender and wonderful. My dear son is five and seems to be growing up before my eyes.
Anonymous said…
Yay for Youngest! and Mom! and Dad!
Anonymous said…
Anonymous said…
Another great post. Growing up is so hard. I remember very well. Your pride in your kids shines, and it's clear you are their biggest fan. It seems you use restraint wisely, which I personally find extremely difficult. They are very fortunate to have you and you them.

tut-tut said…
L read your post and wanted me to tell you how much better she felt that someone else also played outside and talked to themselves while acting out scenes. She felt she was the only one!
kt said…
Reading your wonderful warm, descriptive post has left me with a serious crush on your sweet youngest.

He sounds like the kind of guy that I hope my girlie encounters as she moves along through the pre-teen times.

Well done, bb and K.
jenny said…
y'know you can knock the mommy blog thing all you want but I love reading posts like this. the way you love and appreciate your boys just truly shines through.

hold on...reading the ikea catalog, playing video games, not caring much what i wear? Holy crap...it appears that i too am a tweleve year old boy?!?!?