A few days a week I drive around with extra kids and gain more insight than most parents receive in a month’s time. Even though transporting a car full of 11 and 12 year olds home from school doesn’t sound like a joy ride, I am one of the rare parents who actually looks forward to it.
In just a half hour, I receive an education most parents would pay big bucks for. I have to admit that I often learn more than I want to know, but more importantly, I’m learning more about my daughter and her environment.
This week alone, I learned several things about myself, my daughter, and the “tween” life.
#1: I am clearly not as cool as I thought I was. Apparently, it is not “acceptable” for a parent “of my age” as my daughter says, to sing along or even bob my head to the music on the radio. She lowers her head in shame if I violate this rule.
#2: Kids gossip just as much as adults. Although the carpool is primarily boys, I am constantly amazed at the amount of gossip that flows through one vehicle in a 30-minute period. I know who broke up with who, who was sent to the principal’s office, whose teacher went on a rampage, and who plans to ask who out the next day.
#3: Tweens can multitask well. Not one child that enters my vehicle is lacking a mound of electronic devices. Each one typically has an iPod, a cell phone, and sometimes, a video game or Nintendo DS. Within five minutes after school has let out, each one has received at least 10 text messages, answered them, and moved on to a new phone conversation. However, these devices do not stop the flow of chatter, the exchange of teasing, or the ability to answer when I ask, “How was your day?”
#4: Staying silent is the key to sanity. I’ve realized that they really don’t want to talk with me and thankfully, I don’t have to try and keep a conversation going. They just want to relax, talk with each other, text, and share music. When I’m silent, though, they are much more forthcoming with information that I didn’t necessarily need to know.
All in all, I enjoy this experience. Yes, it’s noisy and yes, I’m using gas and tire wear, but if I didn’t have these moments, I wouldn’t have a clue about the trials and tribulations of my daughter’s school life. And, I would miss out on all the juicy gossip – OMG.
– Shannon Philpott
Blog Entry: Oct. 21, 2009
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