Ten to eleven years ago, 11 of my friends produced 13 babies in an 18 month stretch. Those babies are nearing middle school now. I'm really good at baby gifts. I'm good with little kid gifts. I buy some sort of "doll" for most boys and some sort of car for most girls. I've bought more than one kid sized hawaiian shirt. I've bought toys that appealed to the parents as much as the kids. Pretty much everyone gets a copy of The Monster At the End of This Book. But, I'm not so sure how to be the world's best Monkey-elder to middle school aged kids. Their interests are a lot harder to predict. I totally don't get pop music these days. I keep trying to remind myself the utterly horrid stuff I subjected the Old Folks to when I was a pup. (And, despite my best efforts, I found myself singing/squeeking "lahve, lahve, lahve, I want your lahve" the other day while doing homechores . . . thanks to one of my favorite human children singing Lady Gaga over and over while we were on the phone the other night.)
The thing I'm wrapping my brain around now is that these not-quite-middle-school children are now starting to attend school dances. DANCES! AT THIS AGE?! I don't think they are encouraging coupling up, in that the dances happen fairly early in the evening and the lights are on and there is generally just a lot of group based "wiggling", as the Old Man would call it. But, still, DANCES!
Gees, I feel old.