Yes, there is a sixth-grade boy in the house.
That means Nerf bullets on the stairs and airsoft gun pellets in the vacuum cleaner bag. Ritz crackers ingested an entire sleeve at a time. Mythbusters on TV.
A lifetime ago, I was a sixth grade teacher. I remember being absolutely horrified about the lack of hygiene so apparent in 12 year old boys. Helping a post-recess student with improper fractions, I would think, Does this kid ever shower? Change his socks? Use toothpaste?
My self-righteous little heart would wonder, Where on earth was his mother?
And, of course, now I know. At that very moment, his mother was probably at Target buying Right Guard, Odor Eaters and Colgate in bulk and placing them strategically throughout the house. His mother was bleaching socks and tee-shirts as fast as her little spin cycle could churn. His mother was sacrificing new living room furniture to pay for braces. She was fishing an orthodontic appliance out of the trash.
Now I have learned that boys this age are just pre-programmed to look like they're homeless. For every ratty, raggy tee and grimy hoodie, there are three crisp, striped Rugby shirts in the closet. With the tags still on.
I would like to travel back 15 years and tell the smug, childless me that actually those sixth-grade mothers weren't too poor or lazy to buy their boys new shoes. In fact, they probably did spring for brand-new Nikes to replace the still-pretty-new Adidas which had been "custom air conditioned" during Social Studies. And probably two days after the new shoes were purchased, one accidentally "fell out of the car" on the way home from a ski trip.
Because, once again, mothering is humbling the heck outta me. One stinky sock at a time.
P.S. Anyone seen a black Nike Reax? Size 5 1/2?