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Little Hefner lives on
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Another season has passed (almost), and another school year begins.

I was praying like nobody’s business that this school year for The Kid would get off to great start.

Although he was starting at yet another new school, he had made a couple of friends over the summer that would also be going to the same school. Last year he had to go in cold turkey and was so anxious about it, he stayed sick for about six weeks. The daily drama and nightly tears of how hard it was to adjust and how awful the kids were got to be like beating a dead horse. I would be a good momma and sit and listen, hold him close, tell him it would all work out and it would all be okay.

Then one day, just like magic, it was.

Suddenly he had a little posse that he hung around with, had friends come to the house to hang out, and was making friends with kids he never imagined he would be friends with.

Even though we moved again during the school year, I kept him in the same school and we just commuted. He got used to that and it was actually a good thing because it gave him time to chill before he started his day.

Now that he is in middle school, he has to put on his big boy panties and learn to play well with others.

Some of the kids have already been raggin’ on him because he just turned 12 a couple of days ago and is in the 7th grade. He’s also on the short side.

“Doot, you should be in the sixth grade, doot...”.

“Yeah, Doot. You’re too leetle to be in the seventh grade, Doot.”

Of course, I laughed my hiney off as he did his best imitation of his Latino tormenters.

“Ma, what do they care how old I am or how tall I am?”

“Well, they look old enough to be in the 10th grade, you should ask them why they’re only in the seventh grade when they look like they should be in high school already. And aside from that, they can’t wrap their heads around the fact that you’re smart. You will always be one of the youngest, if not the youngest, in your class. But it’s never caused you a problem ’cause you’ve always been one of the smartest.”

He walked along side me, shifting his 20-pound backpack as he shook his head.

“I can’t believe I have to put up with this ... stuff ... again. I’m so sick of school I can’t stand it.”

We’ve discussed the possibility of home-schooling, but I’m trying to avoid it. I told him to give it two weeks and we’ll go from there.

I know he sees home-schooling as an opportunity to whip through his classes and jump onto his video games.

I told him that was a very sad way to approach home-schooling, although I totally get it that he is having withdrawals.

I want him to be sociable, and I want him to participate in classroom debates, but mostly I want him to get used to dealing with people who get under his skin.

“I know it’s only the second day, but is there anything good that’s happened?”

He was quiet for a minute, kicking a stone out of the way as we trundled toward the house, and this little smile crossed his lips.

“Uh oh. What is it?”

“Well ... if you must know ... I already have a girlfriend.”


“What do you mean you ‘already have a girlfriend’? How?”

I rolled my eyes and shook my head.

“Well, there’s this girl, her name is Nicole. She was looking at me all day and following me around, and then she started talking to me at break and at lunch ... I know she likes me.”

“OK, that’s different. You don’t have a ‘girlfriend’ unless you ask her to be your girlfriend. Is she new?”

“Yeah. They moved here from Texas.”

“Just be careful, Doot. I don’t need you gettin’ hooked up so early in the year. Grades first and foremost. If there is a girl who wants your attention, that’s one thing, but you have to take care of your grades ahead of anything else.”

For heaven’s sake, his voice hasn’t even changed yet and he’s already taking notes in his little black book.

“Ma, can’t you cut me just a little slack about the school work?”

“No. I can’t. I will kick your tail into tomorrowland if you don’t keep As and Bs. I don’t mind if the girls think you’re cute but by golly, steer clear. You have more important things to think about.”

“Yeah, you’re right. There are some new video games coming out in November that I want.”


“I know.”

No grades, no games.

“Maybe I’m not so keen on being home-schooled after all, Ma.”

“Why not?”

“You’re a lot tougher than the teachers I have at school. I don’t think you’d be easy on me.”

I think it’s more about keeping him ‘safe’ from the long reaching arms of tween-aged girls.

I don’t have to worry about him right now because I know he would ignore any girl for a good video game.

Even his momma.