Busy End of an Era

We had a busy week. On Monday, J had her “Moving Up” ceremony. She’s officially done with 5th grade and elementary school. Which means the whole family is done with elementary school. We were all completely ready for it, but that didn’t prevent J from getting weepy when her teachers signed her yearbook and me from getting weepy when I said good-bye to our school librarian. I’ll miss hanging out in that library! I used to be in charge of recruiting library volunteers, and one of the perks of the job, I’d tell people, is that it was a Student Safari because you could see your child and their friends in their natural environment.

I spent the latter part of Monday getting ready for Tuesday because we were hosting some of J’s friends for the last day of school, a multi-year tradition. It started out when I’d invite one or two friends mostly as an offer of babysitting because school lets out so early (dismissal at 10:45 am is considered a half-day of school). We’ve added an extra friend here or there, so this year, we ended up with six guests. At one point we were talking about meeting new people at middle school next year and one of the girls said, “Watch out, Mrs. Beltramo, because next year you’ll have thirty people over for the last day of school.” Oy.

One of the preparations was to come up with some water fun, so I was excited when a friend mentioned a super-cool product, the Bunch O Balloons by Zuru, which I found at Target.



Basically, you screw this little contraption onto your hose so that you don’t have to create water balloons individually. Instead, it fills them up 30-something at a time, and when they’re full, they pop off and they’re self-sealing, so you don’t have to tie any knots. Hello, that’s awesome. The only trouble with water balloons, of course, is that kids go through them so damn quickly. After five minutes and 160-plus balloons, someone was asking me if I had any more of them. Uhh, not really. But, as luck would have it, I also had a few old-fashioned balloons, so the girls busied themselves making water balloons the old-fashioned way. And then they started pretending that the precious few remaining balloons were babies. And one of the balloons received a markered-on face, a babydoll onesie to wear, and a name. Then they took turns carrying the “baby” in a makeshift sling. Glad to see that they’re not growing up too, too fast.

I am thrilled that J continues to be okay with hosting (unlike her big sister), but it becomes a pretty long day. There was a big, everyone-in-the-grade party at the park, so the girls ended up at our house from approximately noon to 4 or 4:30 pm, and they were frankly starting to run out of steam. I sure was!

I was only at the park party long enough to connect all of the remaining girls with an adult and to push custody of my own graduating 5th grader on another family so that we could head to the middle school moving up ceremony for M.

M had spent her afternoon with friends going out to lunch and playing games at the new Lucky Strike Social Club. I had scored some coupons at Dad Fest, and the girls really liked the game place there. For one thing, it’s geared more toward teens and adults, so they could have goofy fun while still feeling mature. Also the prizes were cool.

M’s moving up ceremony was okay. It was followed by a dance–the first and last middle school dance M actually attended–and during the ceremony the principal must have repeated that parents should retrieve their children on time at 10 pm at least five different times. He was clearly in need of a vacation. The student speeches were slightly snarkier than anticipated, which made the evening either more interesting or more irritating depending on your tolerance of Teen Snark. There were also five major awards among the 8th graders and every single one of them went to a girl, including one girl who got three of the five awards. Which, it’s hard to know where everyone stands, exactly, but you’d think that they’d want to spread the love a little, especially to at least one boy.

And yes, M received a not-major-but-still-lovely academic award, and she couldn’t exactly expect more than that when she wouldn’t participate in any of the activities that tangibly show that you are a good citizen. Cute W was surprisingly sympathetic to her point of view, which was basically that things like student council and peer counseling are oh-so-much bullshit, but it drove me crazy for three years. And it’s especially surprising because M so freely and easily bullshits in class, writing essays slanted toward the teacher’s perspective or choosing the names of foods that she knows the Spanish teacher likes when she fills out a food diario for homework. I mean, come on. It’s so easy and the payoff is so great. But whatever. I presume that the school district, which felt the need to take the kids traipsing through Harvard’s campus on their recent Boston field trip, will start impressing upon her the need to spread bullshit beyond class and into her extracurricular world. Until then, not so much.

The rest of the week was spent recovering from the end of school, Black Watch soccer try-outs for M, some party-hopping for J, a couple of dentist appointments, and preparation for this week, which is a pretty big week, too. But more on that later.



  1. Claire

    I can’t believe your youngest is done with elementary school! It doesn’t seem that long ago that you were posting about her completion of preschool. My school district (North Colonie) is threatening to move the 6th grade over to the middle school, which would mean that my son, who just finished 2nd grade, is halfway through elementary school. And it really doesn’t seem that long ago that I was looking for preschools for him.

  2. Ah, see, and we’ve got 6th grade in the middle school now, which I like. I feel like she’s SO DONE with elementary school. I remember that my girls were both excited to start 3rd grade because that officially put them in the “grown-up half” of the elementary school students. Man, it goes fast.

  3. Claire

    I’m not happy about the move of 6th grade to the middle school; in fact, if I had my way, elementary school would go up to 8th grade. I’m just not thrilled with the idea of having such a huge number of 6th graders in one building. But, it’s the wave of the future and there’s nothing I can do about it (just like when kindergarten switched from half day to full day).

  4. That’s funny, because there was briefly talk of moving 5th graders out of the elementary school, and I was for it, actually. I feel like, by 5th grade, they’ve really started to outgrow the school, and the “baby stuff” like walking in lines everywhere. We’ll have to meet back here when he’s finishing 4th or 5th grade and see if you still feel the same. But I agree that I DO hate the idea of a really huge class or a really huge school. That ginormous Shen campus is what scared us away from Clifton Park when we were house-hunting!

  5. Claire

    North Colonie isn’t as big as Shen, but there are 6 elementary schools and each have three 6 grade classes of around 25 kids each, so that makes a district-wide 6th grade of around 450 students. I just think we rush childhood too much these days.

  6. Ken B

    It’s good to see that M is learning how to game the system so young. It’s a useful life skill, and goes a long way towards advancing the human condition.

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