Friday, March 27, 2009

6th Grade Safari

A while back (Monday, January 19th to be exact) a bloggie friend of mine Coach J wrote a post about her experience with a "One-Upper" (a.k.a someone who always needs to be better, grander etc than everyone else).

The post was really funny but it didn't resonate with me as much then as it does today...I mean, I have met my share of one uppers in my life, but I have never really felt emotionally triggered by it...UNTIL NOW.

You see, Momo is in the 6th grade and you may not be aware of this...

But 6th grade is the natural habitat of the "One-Upper".

Really, it is...I mean, not only can 6th grade be potentially fatal (if not emotionally or socially) it's also a relatively well known fact that "One-Uppers" lurk in hallways, bathrooms & lunch areas of middle schools world wide.

Don't get me wrong... elementary school has some beasts of it's own but Middle School really breeds a whole new animal.

Momo has has spent a lot of time this year learning to navigate the new terrain and, more impoartantly, how to develop a way to categorize the cannibals which inhabit 6th grade.

She has found that they range in fierceness.

Some of the more docile ones partake in a general fluffing of feathers, no real harm done, other than being sure that you (and everyone else) knows that they have the better shoes or the newer bag or the cooler jeans.

On the other end of the spectrum lie the really vicious variety. They seem to take innate pleasure in watching you squirm and writhe in humiliation when you don't measure up. Then there are the ones who seem to be your friend but they have a constant desire to make sure you know that they are better. The "One-Upper's" who spend the night at your hourse only to make comments about how much better their stuff is. The ones who compete with you in every mundane way (i.e. whose sneeze is funner, who feels most tired, who's hair is more brown).

Now, this last variey I mentioned doensn't appear particulary horrible, and at first glance they really aren't that bad. But, I assure you that constant "One-Upping" from those you beleive to be your friends can get on your nerves! get's on my nerves and I only have to hear it (not experience it) from the front seat of the car as I play chauffer.Needless to say, Momo had enough! She spent one too many a night wondering why she could never just have fun and be happy...why EVERYTHING had to be a comptetion.

Anyways, last weekend she went to a sleepover with some "new" friends and when she came home she said that she had "the best time of her life". She talked about all the fun things they did and how there was no fighting or "One-Upping". I think she has finally figured out what she wants in her frinds, and that it does not include constant put downs and invalidation.

To this, I breathed a deep sigh of relief...Relief that Momo seems to be gaining a new awareness of what she will and will not tolerate in relationships AND relief that the 6th grade safari is nearing an end...

But...oh Gawd...what the hell is 7th grade going to be like?!?


  1. I remember going through the constant wondering if I was good enough to be "in." By the time I was in high school I quit wondering. I just didn't care any more. I considered myself "out," without caring about it, yet as an adult, former classmates have said they thought I was "so popular"!! Sheesh. Teen years are such a tough time.

    I'm glad Momo is finding a good place, and I hope she can maintain her own peace, exhibiting poise. Maybe one day someone will say, "oh I never dared speak to you because you were so popular." Ha! As I said, teen years ....

    One on my granddaughters is in 5th grade in a private school where my daughter teaches. She has been accepted in a public school for middle and high schoolers, a total AP program. I'm excited to see her go there and I hope her fairly sheltered environment in the current school has not under-prepared her for the "real" world. I can only hope that all students are "exceptional" in social skills as well as their scholastic ones!

  2. I remember this when my daughter was in middle school. My son just started 6th grade this year and I don't see it as much. Girls can be ruthless...

    Hey, thanks for offering to be the designated driver! They can be hard to find on a Friday night!

  3. You brought back very severely scaring 6th grade memories LOL my shrink will bill you personally for this one ;P

  4. i am glad she seemed to have found her place... but oh man i sure do remember 6th grade!!

  5. I'll just have to echo you and say "oh gawd." I teach a class full of One-Uppers who are too smart for their own good. Every day is a never ending struggle to see who is the smartest or fastest reader or best at science or knows the most crap. However, it sounds like Momo has a good head on her shoulders and will come through the One-Upper phase unscathed and wiser.

    And thanks for the Internet hugs. Sometimes that's all we need.


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