Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Mid School-Year Check in

So the ongoing saga of my kids in school has been a source of much amusement with my friends and family.  This year Hamslice is in 5th grade, with Little Ham in 4th grade.

The year started out a little rough, with Little Ham finding it hilarious to swear like a sailor and discuss the concept of 'sexiness' in 4th grader lingo, including the phrases "sexy penis" and "sexy butt," punctuated with slaps to the heinies of both girls and boys. The school administration [ahem] frowns on such behavior.

Hamslice, meanwhile, entered the semester like an asteroid entering the atmosphere. Much as he does each year.

As of mid-year we are actually doing OK. Little Ham has figured out that he has the smarts to do all of the work required of him at school, so now he's a little cocky. He has these big diorama projects this year, and he waits until the *very last possible minute* and cranks them out in 5 minutes and gets "A"s.  This has Hambone and I gobsmacked, after years of listening to Hamslice's languid arguments about the theory of school and the appropriateness of the projects and the existential need for dioramas. We had forgotten that the projects can simply "get done" without all the drama.

Hamslice is in all advanced classes but pulling solid Bs - Ds because he fails to see the point of the details in his projects. Or the projects themselves, also what is the point of school. And life. He is testing out at mid high-school levels in all subjects, so we are not super concerned with his grades. It's probably just time for middle school for that one. Or maybe a year in a commune.

The boys are into 'full time brother' mode with just glimmers of transition still. For instance, Little Ham and Hamslice still fight about who gets to go into whose bedroom and when, but Little Ham is sometimes inclined to push too far and then when Hamslice gets mad, Little Ham breaks into gibberish speech and overly defiant behavior.

Little Ham is working hard right now on controlling his silliness. One of his defense mechanisms is to move into a near-manic state where he is just giggles and sillies and not at all able to function. It's a form of helplessness, combined with aggravating behaviors. Pretty neat. So obviously that is our focus right now.

Hamslice has matured an incredible amount this year. It's like a packet of neurons plugged in somewhere in his brain and he is now able to see outside of himself and understand other peoples' feelings and how his actions fit into these feelings. Typical Hamslice, he has lagged behind in this area for years, and then once he gets started figuring it out, he takes off like a rocket.

Our strange little family is a full-fledged unit, and functioning as one. So far so good, but already I see signs that the end of school year update will have some zingers.

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