I use the word “conversations” in the broadest sense of the term.

If you have middle school boys–I’ve had 3–a conversation denotes any verbal exchange during which the boy in question responds at least one time in a complete sentence. Grunts, groans, heaves, and moans don’t count, although they are better than the non-response.

A conversation with a middle school boy is a huge success whenever the adult gives a command or request and receives verbal repartee, which is backed by any motivation ranging between Okay and Do I have to? A lack of response generally means No; I’m pretending I haven’t heard you because I plan on playing ignorant when you ask me about this later.

Here are my top 20 most-used conversations:

(By him):

1.”I don’t need to shower. I was in the pool.”

2. “I don’t need to shower. I showered 2 days ago.”

3.”Why do I have to use soap? I got wet.”

(obviously, hygiene was a big issue for us)

4. “I forgot my homework at school, But don’t worry, I can do it during another class.” (Because teachers don’t mind that.)

5. “I don’t have any homework.” (next morning) “Oh, crap! I have a history test today.”

6. “I’m starving. There’s nothing to eat.” (the fridge is full and the door is open)

7. “I got a D. But don’t worry, everyone else did worse than me. The teacher doesn’t know how to teach.”

8. (at 7:00, 10:00, 12:00, 3:00, and 5:00) “What are we having for dinner?”

9. (at all the times in between) “Can we go out?”, “Can I get a burger?”, “Can I get a milkshake?”, “Can I get some fries?”

10. “Why do I have to mow the grass? There’s only weeds out there.”

11. (in the evening) “Why do I have to go to bed? I’m not tired.”

12. (in the morning) “Why do I have to get up? I’m so tired.”

13. “What?”

(By me):

14. “Something stinks in here. Oh, it’s your feet.”

15. “You smell like wet dog. Did you use shampoo?”

16. “Did you remember to brush your teeth this morning?”

(I know, more hygiene issues!)

17. “Who’s going to be there?”

18. “Why are muddy cleats on the kitchen table?”

19. “Your dirty clothes go in the hamper.” (this is a new rule,obviously)

20. “I love you more than anything!”

Middle school boys are awkward, irascible, infuriating, but in spite of all that, they are oh, so lovable. Someday, when you look back on these years, these same conversations will become surprisingly tender and precious.


image from honestapproaches.wordpress.com

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