A Bonus Year

My kids’ elementary school goes through sixth grade, and for that I am eternally grateful.  It’s an anomaly in LA, and probably in most parts of the country, where primary school is normally K-5.  And now that my daughter is in sixth grade, being able to put off middle school for another year has felt like a huge gift to me. 

A bonus year of childhood, if you will. 

Middle school, as we all know, is a horrible time, fraught with braces and puberty and a generalized awkwardness that every kid goes through as she tries to figure out who she is and where she fits in. Add into that mix hundreds of kids all funneling into a new school, and it seems like a recipe for disaster.  

My friends whose kids have already made the transition to middle school tell me daily horror stories about the mean girls and the pressure to wear the right clothes and the competition for the boys’ attention, and the Instagramming.  Oh, God, the Instagramming.  

I follow some of my kids’ friends on Instagram – just to keep a handle on what’s going on out there – and I find it deeply troubling.  It’s a smorgasbord of selfies – selfies of girls looking pensive, selfies of girls looking artistically up at the sky, selfies of girls with ducklips and peace sign fingers, selfies of girls in bikinis in their bedrooms.  And even worse than the selfies are the comments – not the mean ones, mind you, but the “nice” ones.