Cool Kids

This morning my five year old son told me that he needed to take his lunch to school in a shopping bag instead of the $30 Bakugan lunch thing I bought for him because that is what all of the “cool kids” were doing.

Then he said that he knew he was a cool kid because he had a stuffed dragon.

I kind of wanted to tell him that he shouldn’t worry about the cool kids. The kids that are cool in high school usually have pretty mediocre lives by their mid 20s and nobody even remembers who the cool kids were in their Kindergarten class.

I wanted to tell him to be himself and to have fun. I wanted to tell him that if it made him happy to take his lunch in a hat then that is what he should do.

I wanted to tell him that the cool kids don’t matter.


Of course, I still care about the cool kids. Yes, I care about them much less than I did when I was in 8th grade, but a tiny little part of me will always want to part of the “in” crowd. I know it doesn’t matter. I know I am happy. I know my life is good and I have great friends, but this girl is still in there somewhere wanting to be friends with the most popular girl in school.

Now I’m just hoping that the cool kids have decided against bras to the grocery store because I accidentally left the house without mine on this morning and had to shop in my coat the entire time.

I’m also hoping that my daughter can somehow continue to avoid caring about what the other girls are doing. This might sound sexist but it always seemed like the popularity game affected the girls more than the boys. I would love it if my children could avoid the pain of insecurity.

This week I’ve heard some of the most amazing writers I know worrying about how much they suck. These are men and women in their 30s and 40s who astound me on a regular basis. These are published authors and A-List Bloggers and people whose words have made me cry or howl with laughter.

Maybe the insecurity never goes away. Hopefully it just gets easier. I feel bad for my kids because they still have to get through the worst of it, and they don’t even know it is coming.

And I can know what I know about growing up and still try not to worry about the shopping bags and dragons I can’t predict for them that I know will show up. And I can be glad that he says he knows he’s a cool kid, for now, for whatever random reason. It can’t hurt to store some of that up for the times when I know he won’t feel that way.

Maybe we will get lucky and all they will have to do to be cool is take their lunches to school in shopping bags. I have hundreds of those and I know where to get more when they run out. I bought the stuffed dragon on eBay so I can replace that too.

But the Kindergarten kid who decided on shopping bags owes me thirty bucks for the Bakugan lunch bag.

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  1. I truly don’t think the base insecurity ever goes away, at least fully; I do think that we learn better coping skills and maybe even accept ourselves a bit more and learn how to share our true selves when we feel comfortable with people…

    (side note.. loved meeting and hanging out with you)

  2. oh sarah!

    this is such a REAL fear when raising children. my daughters just turned one and i catch myself saying “you don’t have to be like everyone else. You are you and you are perfect.” As if there is a gang of toddlers running around and talking shit about the baby with the dirty knees.

    also, i hate to disprove your theory– erin wallace was the most popular girl in Kindergarten. She tried to persuade me to trade my cabbage patch stamp set for a “night at her house.” fortunately i didn’t sell my soul to popularity until sixth grade.

    good luck.

  3. I am so insecure I have considered that I should lose weight because if I die I will look too fat in my coffin. Not even kidding. Don’t even get me started on my writing.

  4. Sarah, you *are* one of the cool kids. Not that I would know from experience or anything.

    I just hope I’m doing a better job of helping my kids feel comfortable with who they are than most of our parents did with us.

  5. You should totally use facebook as a teaching tool for this lesson. Isn’t that why facebook even exists, so you can see that your exes are unhappy and the popular kids are still clinging to the “good old days”?

    I read a great book called “Queen Bee Moms” that says mothers play the same roles they had in school when they come into the social hierarchy of their kids’ schools. Very interesting read.

  6. Wow, I have the same worries for my kids. It hurts me to hear my kids saying, “She’s one of the popular kids” and know that the kid mentioned is a real snot, and worse, the kid’s mom is a real gossip who’d rather tear you down than give your kid a ride home from school. I wish I could bottle up the energy and enthusiasm they had when they were 4 and made instant friends while they were at the Y for an hour.

    And I think, even braless, you’re pretty freaking cool. I mean, look at the prom pic!

  7. Shit, you found a Bakugon lunch box? If your kid is done with it I’ll take it off his hands for my son.

  8. My biggest fear when I found out I’d be having a daughter was the realization that I would someday have to send her to junior high. I’ve had one main goal for the past 13 years I’ve been a parent: not show the kids that I care what others think.

  9. I think the shopping bag was a wise choice – not going to hurt anyone. I mean, he didn’t ask for a tattoo. That’s my biggest fear. . when June asks for a sleeve tat for her 13th bday.

  10. There is always someone cooler than you. Words to live by.

  11. It’s such a hard line to walk. I don’t think it’s wrong to want our kids to be a ‘cool kid’-there are things that are easier when you are. However, if being the ‘cool kid’ means being a douche then it’s not what I want for them, either.

    I love it when it’s only a matter of what you carry your lunch in. Aah, such simplicity!

  12. I actually liked your pic!!! LOL!!! And Jennifer Grey in that movie was totally hot….she got Charlie Sheen to drool all over her…oh…never mind!!

  13. The thing with the cool kids though is they are actually MORE insecure than everyone else.

    Trying to live up to the expectations of everyone else.

  14. I always thought you were cool.

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