1. He is adjusting just fine to middle school. (His older sister adjusted well to middle school. Am I misremembering what middle school was like? No, that’s impossible. Are my kids just super-humanly well-adjusted? No, that can’t be possible either. Has middle school just gotten better? I hope so.)

2. He quit piano lessons in May, but now he is taking band at school and playing the trombone. He has learned five notes so far. Five lonely notes.

3. He didn’t start wearing jeans until a couple months ago (when school started). Prior to that he would only wear athletic pants. (All of my kids have eschewed jeans as young children. The younger two still won’t touch them.) Now that he is wearing jeans, he looks about five years older. I see other kids wearing jeans at much younger ages, and they don’t look especially mature to me. Why do jeans make my kids look like teenagers? I don’t know.

4. His current obsession is Magic The Gathering. He goes to tournaments with a friend who turned him on to the game. I find it the dullest game in the history of the world, and utterly confusing (probably because I’m a girl). He thinks it’s the best thing ever and is very put out that no one else in the family wants to play with him, even though he’s done his best to teach us how. I feel really guilty about it. I do. I wish I could explain to him how guilty I feel while at the same time making it clear that I cannot possibly play his favorite game with him without losing my freaking mind. Really. While at the same time not letting on that the game he thinks is awesome is the most excruciatingly boring thing I have ever tried to do. Sometimes parenthood is an exercise in hurting your child’s feelings in the least harmful way.

5. He is still the world’s biggest Ducks fan.

6. He has watched every episode of Quincy, M.E., all eight seasons. He has now moved on to Dragnet. For Halloween he wants to be Bill Gannon and his best friend to be Joe Friday. Interesting that he should pick Gannon over Friday. I’m sure this says something about him, but I’m not sure what.

7. He has had the same BFF since they were in the first grade. I’ve never had a friend that long. I moved around too much to have friends that long. This is one of the reasons I am determined not to move again. I might be more emotionally invested in my children’s friendships than they are.

8. He likes to pretend he’s angry with me. He’ll say stuff like, “Mom, you’re a terrible mother.” This isn’t what he says when he’s actually angry with me. When he’s actually angry with me, he doesn’t say much of anything. Anyway, he’ll say, “Mom, you’re a terrible mother,” and what he wants me to do is start fake-crying and to carry on very emotionally until he can’t stand it anymore and then he’ll say, “I’m just kidding, Mom–you’re not a terrible mother,” and then I’ll say, “Oh, thank you,” and stop fake-crying and just go on with my life. The other day I did something demonstrating basic competence as a human being, and he said, “Wow, Mom, you’re amazing. But not amazing enough for ME!” and I had to start crying again. It can be very exhausting, all of this manufactured mother-son drama.

9. He still needs me to tuck him in at night. He also still sleeps with the same Paddington receiving blanket I wrapped him in as a baby. It’s basically just a bunch of knotted-up threads these days, but our cousin the seamstress found some Paddington fabric exactly like his blanket and made him a pillowcase out of it, and now he sleeps with his Paddington pillowcase and the original Paddington blanket safely ensconced therein. When he stops sleeping with Paddington, I will probably cry. Real crying.

10. He has a killer cowlick that refuses to be tamed. It makes styling his hair very difficult. I think he’s jealous of his brother’s hair, which is naturally curly and just looks awesome without anyone having to do anything to it. Sometimes he says (in his fake-angry voice), “Elvis’s hair is too good!”

11. His favorite expression these days is “What fresh crap is this?” It’s not the most genteel conversation-starter, but it could be worse.

12. HE IS TWELVE YEARS OLD TODAY. TWELVE! *

* For some perspective, when I started this blog, he was three. THREE. His R’s and L’s were still W’s. CWAZY.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MISTER BUBBY!