When Max was born I couldn’t believe he was a boy. My husband convinced me to be surprised by the gender of our baby! I hate surprises! I like to know what’s going on and have everything in order. He asked me to just let him be surprised for our first child. He loves surprises. I gave him this gift. I was convinced Max was a girl for nine months. I called him Hannah the entire time I was pregnant. His name was going to be Hannah Rachel Greene.

After 25 hours of labor and three hours of pushing Max was in distress. I didn’t know this and was quickly put out so that they could cut me open and get him out as quickly as possible. I woke up to the shock of having a c section and a baby boy. I tried so hard to avoid having a c section. I tried so hard to push him out. My mama’s boy was not letting go! He did not want to come out!

I went to sleep in pain and woke up in a panic at 4 am. I realized my baby wasn’t inside of me anymore and had the desperate need to meet and hold him. I’ll never forget the first time I held him. I stared at him and fell in love. After nine months of fighting over his name we had decided right before Max was born to name him Maxwell Joseph Greene.

Max was so happy when I was holding him. You aren’t supposed to sleep with your baby but Max wouldn’t sleep unless he had his entire body as close to me as he could possibly get. He continues to be my sweet mama’s boy even at 12 years old.

Max has always been a sweet and well behaved kid. I don’t remember having to discipline him much at all. When he knows Seth and I are serious he listens! Fast forward to middle school. Sending my sweet boy to middle school was not an easy adjustment.

Max is a smart kid and I was actually excited for him to move on to middle school. Elementary school bored him and I was hoping he was going to be challenged in middle school. I also thought he would like changing classes. My optimistic attitude with Max and middle school has started to fade. There is still hope!

My smart kid wasn’t having trouble with the work, he was having trouble getting organized. It took him all of fifth grade to learn this. He also kept telling me his friends were changing. He wasn’t liking what was going on around him and he wasn’t into socializing. I was thankful for school and soccer and for the friends he enjoyed talking to on his Xbox.

He started sixth grade and I was hoping for a better year. Once again he had a lot of great teachers but he didn’t seem happy. He seemed to be doing better than he did in fifth grade, but he was still not liking middle school. I was super thankful that he found a few kids he was comfortable eating lunch with and hanging out with.

It’s the summer before seventh grade. Max’s voice has changed a lot. I spent about a week asking Max if he had a cold. He kept saying “mom, that’s just my voice. You aren’t used to it.” That was back in July. Now that it’s August I am used to the more manly boy sitting next to me. He is almost as tall as me. His foot is bigger than mine. His appetite is bigger than mine. His strength is also bigger than mine. He’s a strong, smart, sensitive kid.

The conversation in the car today has me super emotional. I had offered to switch Max’s school a couple months ago. He didn’t want me to switch him. He brought that up today. He said that he didn’t want to switch schools, he wanted to be home schooled. He brought up a conversation with my friend Marcy that he had. Marcy was a school social worker in middle school for years. I encouraged Max to talk to her. He told me that when he talked to her he was tearing up! That makes me so sad! He told me he was teary because he doesn’t feel safe in his school. He says the drugs and fights around him don’t make him feel safe. He worries he will say the wrong thing and piss someone off. One of his sisters told him that he was strong and could handle it if someone ever tried to fight him. He asked me if he should fight back or not if that happens. I was in shock that this was even a question he was asking me. This is disturbing. This is middle school.

This is a whole different world. I’ve got a kid who doesn’t like school, doesn’t want to go back, and loves his Xbox! I ask him to invite people over and he asks me why? He says they all like to hang out on the Xbox. Hang out time is now Xbox time. This is so strange.

It’s a world of video games for these boys! Electronics include his phone, his iPad and his Xbox. Let’s not forget the lap top upstairs with more games on it. I would like to kick him outside and ask him to go ride his bike and see who is home! Life is not all about technology.

I ask my kids every summer what their top thing is that they want to do! Max picked the Xbox! Having a 12 year old boy is interesting. He is easy and sweet and so smart, but there are definitely challenges! Challenge number one being the electronics. I love that he’s having fun and socializing but his brain needs time outside and with friends in person. Challenge number two being middle school.

My hope is that Max enjoys 7th grade. I hope he has good teachers and a few good friends that help him feel more comfortable at school. Max is not a social butterfly and that’s ok! He told me that he thought my expectation for him was to be more social. We have to adjust our expectations to the personality and abilities of each child. I expect high grades from Max but I don’t expect him to be super social. I told him I expect him to have a few friends who he can hang out with and talk to. That is his personality. Max is more of an introvert. I was super excited tonight when he loved comedy improv and told me he wanted to take a class on it! New interests are always good!

Max has taught me so much. Each of my children are so different.
What has Max taught me:
Introverts don’t like big crowds. They like to have a few close friends.
Middle school can be rough years when you see drugs and fights around you. Help your child feel safe and comfortable. Involve school personnel.
Keep the lines of communication open. Remind your teenager that they can talk to you about anything.
Adjust to the times. I realize teenage boys want to socialize on the Xbox. That doesn’t mean that I won’t make him socialize in person too. Remember who is in charge.
Encourage new interests! Max loves to be funny! Comedy may be a new interest for him!
Encourage friendships by giving suggestions and nudges! “Max why don’t you see if Jacob can go to Sky Zone with us tonight!” He loved that idea! They need help! He has started making his own plans which is great! He also needs me to encourage him off the Xbox and out the door! I love when his friends invite him to swim! Hanging with a friend and being outside is the best!
Are there ways for your teenager to make money? Mowing lawns? Babysitting? Working for a friend of yours? Max can do work for Seth or his grandparents any time!

5th grade was a year of learning to get organized in middle school. He was also sad to have two good friends move away!
6th grade was the year to find his few good friends.
Let’s have Max enjoy 7th and 8th grade. The good news is that it is going fast and there is always hope for High School!

Just be there. Max knows that Mama Bear is right behind him and will always be there for him!

Words of advice from Max:
Change with the times – realize that boys like to socialize on electronics!
You can’t change hormones – it’s normal for your son to not talk a lot. It’s normal from them to be a little moody!
Take baby steps – don’t initiate a hour long conversation with your son! Just say something or ask one question! (Max doesn’t like a lot of questions)!
Know what is normal and what isn’t! Know that a lot of stuff that you’re experiencing with your son is normal!

Thank you for your input Max! Max not only read and approved this blog, he also gave me all of this input! I’m proud of him! I’m proud of the adolescent that he has become! I love talking to him and hearing his smart opinions. I love that he is aware of who he is and what he is comfortable with. I love how hard he works at school and soccer. Keep being you Max! I couldn’t love you more! I’m always here for you!

Laughing, Learning, Loving,
Rebecca Greene