My nine-year-old saw it in the house and asked "Is this book for me?" We often get him books out of the library because he reads so quickly and we want to keep him in new books so he doesn't go back and read a Harry Potter book over again. Mean, I know.
It made me laugh out loud to have him think that this book was chosen for him. If it's any good, he could probably glean something valuable out of it...in 12 years. It showed me, though, that he identifies that way: as a geek. He was doomed by genetics to this fate, of course. The first child of nerdy parents stands almost no chance of being cool. At nine, though, he doesn't feel miserable about being a geek. He's confident and creative and knowledgeable. He has a circle of friends, some of them just as nerdy, others further along the cool spectrum. I envy him that. Moving around as a kid, I lost the protective bubble of at least having the kids I'd started kindergarten with knowing me and having my back later on in school. Nerdy and new proved a socially inhibiting combination. He may grow, sadly, into the carload of insecurities that marked my high school days, but as a fourth-grader, he doesn't worry what other people think. Life remains fun and full of possibility.
|Future earth-inheritor with his solar system |
model (and Diary of a Wimpy Kid tee shirt)
Even though Charlie's way closer in time to the pressures of middle school and high school than I am, I remember difficult days in those seven years. So I worry for him. His spirit - so robust now - undoubtedly will face assaults by a smart-ain't-cool philosophy, cultural advances or not. I fear that my analysis and advice will ring hollow when the time comes. I can see him balking at "Stay true to yourself. It'll all get better as you get older." Sad to say, I know that he won't even face the harder pressures of being a smart, ambitious girl.
Raising a grade school geek really is fun. He surprises us and makes us laugh. He even challenges me to keep up with his knowledge at times. I just hope I have what it takes to help him through the valley of the shadow of seventh grade.