On Friday night, the middle schoolers of Town go skating. Woe to the family who thinks Friday night open skate would be a good time to introduce their precious preschoolers to the joys of ice. They will arrive at the rink and discover hordes of unsupervised 6th and 7th graders whispering, giggling, skating hand-in-hand, slamming into walls, caroming into hockey stops, grabbing each others' hats, and more. They will never return, having fast discovered one of the basic principles of Town life: Friday night skating is for middle schoolers (Sunday morning skating--when the middle schoolers are either asleep, at Hebrew School, or at practice--is for preschoolers).
On Friday nights, I drive M and Other E to skating, and they usually get a ride home from one of the boys (I interrupt myself to give a brief paean to the joys of living in Town: how awesome is Friday night skate for middle schoolers? so awesome, and, really, so safe and wholesome; how great is it that you can send your child off into the Town night and know that another responsible Town parent will be happy to bring her home? so great).
Last night, we picked up Other E and she was very grumpy, for good reason. We discussed the grumpiness, and then I asked whether she had eaten dinner (because 1. my kids are usually grumpiest when they have not eaten, and 2. sometimes Other E ends up not eating before skating). I was not surprised to find that she hadn't, and, being a responsible Town parent, I told her I would get her something to eat. But she refused. Since she isn't my child, I couldn't insist, but I did remind her, when I dropped them off, that if she continued to feel bad, or if she got hungry, she should get something to eat.
When M got home, I asked her if Other E had eaten, and she said no, but most of her friends don't eat very much. So we discussed the eating thing, and whether it was about weight, and she told me lots of them just have chips and a candy bar for lunch, and she thought it was ridiculous, and she and her (good) friends eat.
Excellentness #1: M eats.
Excellentness #2: M has good taste in friends.
Then she told me about how everyone had been grabbing her hat.
M's signature this year is hats. She has several wool hats, including this one, which I just finished for her, in fabulous dark gray, fuschia, and turquoise, and then she has her much-treasured fitted cap. If you don't know what a fitted cap is, you're in good company, because neither did I, and I still don't really get it, though M and S roll their eyes at me. Basically, it's a kind of baseball cap that is mainly worn by boys, I believe, and never worn by middle-aged men. We gave M hers for Hanukkah, after she expressed frequent desire for it. It is purple, and has a big B on the front, and lots of small Bs on the crown (and if you don't know what those Bs are for, then you haven't been reading this blog very long).
Anyway, M wears her hat to skating, because that's what she does (M is like that). And last night her friends were grabbing her hat, and that was fine. Then the boys started grabbing her hat, and that was not so fine. Then the wild boys got into grabbing her hat, and one of them hit her in the face (not on purpose), and that was pretty bad (I should say, for the worried among you, that M knows all these boys, and I am good friends with the wild boys' mothers, so there is no true danger involved, just middle schoolness).
I asked M if she cried. Yes, she said, she cried, and her friends got really mad at the boys, and they stopped, and the wildest boy even apologized. In fact, she knew she was going to cry eventually, so she figured she might as well get it over with, so she skated over to her friend J, started to cry, and then everything got better.
I asked if she kept wearing her hat. Yes, she said, and then another boy thought she was a boy, but she didn't care.
Excellentness #3: M wears whatever she wants and does not care about the social codes or consequences.
Excellentness #4: M is able to make tears an opportunity, rather than a nadir of shame.
And thus ends this tale of M's excellentness, brought to you by Friday-night skating (which may sound like an abyss of middle school brutality, but is truly a highlight of the week, and if we don't get it, it's because we're not middle schoolers).