The Preteen Years

The other day Gal Smiley brought home her Grade 6 class picture. I sat down with her to write out who was in the picture, a tradition started by my mother every time I brought home one of my own class pictures. I just love seeing the faces of all the kids that my kid hangs out with every day, and also seeing how some of them have changed, as I barely see them otherwise from one year to the next.

Now that Gal Smiley is in Grade 6 and the Captain is in Grade 7, I’m noticing that the changes are coming fast and furious – and it’s just crazy how all over the map it is. I had always heard that girls grow first, but I was a very late bloomer and always the smallest in the class, so I didn’t really have a clear picture of what was happening at the other end of the spectrum. But in the Grade 6 and Grade 7 classes, you have a mix of kids who still look like little kids, through kids that have changed so much I barely recognize them anymore, to kids who are towering over the teacher. Some that used to be the tallest, back in grade 3, are now middle of the pack, and others who used to be so small and cuddly now look like they could buy beer without ID. I am amazed at the diversity. I suppose they will all catch up with each other by the time they’re done high school, but in the meantime, they barely look like they belong in the same class.

I’m not going to discuss oncoming puberty in too much detail, because the preteen years are delicate enough as it is, and heaven knows none of us would like those difficult times splashed all over the internet – although I will say this: my children OWN the bottom left corner of every class picture (REPRESENT). In fact, to remind myself to have a light touch here, I believe I should be forced to post this picture of me rocking my giant 80s glasses and brown hoodie at age almost-11:


Still a total baby. And here I am at, believe it or not, 16, still looking like I could pass for the kid rate at the movies, despite my awesome rainbow dangly earrings and MOI shirt (man, I loved that shirt, and no, I didn’t have a boyfriend, why do you ask?).


And lastly, here’s my own puberty-mash-up of a seventh grade photo. I’m in the bottom left hand corner, of course. REPRESENT.


2 thoughts on “The Preteen Years

  1. It’s so weird, isn’t it? My brother was one of the tiny, young-looking ones. He suddenly changed, I think it was sophomore year. My two eldest were both earlyish, in height anyway, hitting 6 feet before the end of middle school. I was a Right On Schedule type, not slower or faster than average. I remember reading Are You There God, It’s Me Margaret, and being terrified of being the girl who got EARLY BOSOMS.

  2. My daughter is in 7th grade and it is so true that the kids’ sizes are all over the map. She’s about 5’3″ and there are plenty of boys who are way shorter. My husband was one of those late bloomers until high school.

    I never thought about being in the bottom left, but I am always at the front since I’m short (5’2″).

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