On My Son's Minds: Being a Pre-Teen & "More Black Kids Like Me"

Veggie burgers and hot dogs are roasting on the grill and nine year old Mr. O and six year-old Mr T are hovering around bothering me.. So let's harness their energy and ask them a few questions about their summer.

We'll start with Mr. O first...

Los Angelista: Labor Day is unofficially the end of summer vacation. What's your favorite thing you did all summer?

Mr. O: Our trip to San Francisco. That wedding was awesome and I liked walking up the hills and walking down that spiral hill (he means Lombard Street). I alo liked going to that chocolate factory there.

L.A.: You did a lot of reading in the car on that trip. What's the best book you read all summer?

Mr. O: Probably Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. I liked the details and writing in that one.

L.A: You're starting a new school this year. Anything you're excited about?

Mr. O: Meeting new friends and a new teacher, and I'm going to get to do science. (said like how Thomas Dolby says science in "She Blinded Me With Science.") Plus I'm going to turn ten so I'm going to be a pre-teen!!!

LA: You keep talking about being a pre-teen. How do you think your life is going to change when you're a pre-teen.

Mr. O: I don't know.

LA: Then why I are you so excited about it?

Mr. O: I'm just saying that when I turn ten I'm going to be a pre-teen. And then after that I'll be a teenager!

Ugh, the pre-teen and teen years! Let's talk to six year-old Mr. T:

LA: It's been a long summer. What's your favorite thing you did?

Mr. T: I would say...I don't really know. It's too hard to pick.

LA: Pick three things.

Mr. T: Going to the skate park, going to San Francisco, Santa Barbara and Cayucus, and hanging out with the family.

LA: You like to skateboard but recently you've talked about switching to surfing. Why the change?

Mr. T: Surfing just looks cooler, but I think I can do both. I'm going to be the next Tony Hawk you know.

LA: Next week you're starting second grade at a new school. What's something that you're really looking forward to?

Mr. T: I don't know. It's all going to be pretty cool. And there'll be more black kids like me, right?

LA: Yes, I think there will be. Is that important to you? .

Mr. T: At my old school, there weren't any black kids like me. Just black kids that speak Spanish. And they don't say they're black even though they're the same color as me and they say I'm black. Can I go now? This interview is boring.

And that, dear reader, is Labor Day in my house. Hope yours is filled with equally stimulating conversation!


nick said…
Ah, that inexhaustible topic, when is black not black? One day such discussions will cease to be important or interesting....

One thing that comes across from your interviews is that Mr O and Mr T both enjoy life to the full. Long may that continue!
Liz Dwyer said…
I think that "one day" is a long long way away. I just love T's perceptions about race and how he sees things.

They do enjoy life a whole lot. I'm glad that they do!
Bsquared86 said…
This has to be the cutest thing I've read in a while. Thank you for sharing!
Lisa Blah Blah said…
I love "hearing" your sons' voices through you. How did I miss that they are going to a new school? Viva is switching from private school to a magnet school right down the street from us. I am VERY curious as to how this experience is going to go, since her private school was pretty evenly mixed (Asian/white/black/Hispanic, with a strong international contingent), and her public school is predominantly black. From conversations we have had thus far, she is happy to be going somewhere where most of the kids look like her! So much for my idealistic notions...so much more to say, but this is a post in and of itself!
Liz Dwyer said…
Glad to share. It's the kind of thing I'll really enjoy reading when they're older.

Ooh, so we're both going to be going through new-school-itis! I like schools with the even mix but I think sometimes that comes with issues that our kids don't know how to deal with other than thinking the solution is to be around kids that look like them. And I think it's healthy to be able to see people you can relate to visually, but I think my boys are really going to learn that just because they look like you, that doesn't mean they'll actually be nice.
Jen said…
Your boys are just great. Just. great.

Please let us know how the school transition goes.
Liz Dwyer said…
I definitely will. Went to an orientation meeting and it's a WHOLE different experience. I'm not sure what to make of it yet.

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