My oldest nephews, who were born in February 2007, finished second grade this week. That is absolutely astonishing to me. It’s hard to grasp that people who didn’t exist until 2007 can walk and talk, let alone read chapter books and multiply two-digit numbers.
Looking at these big kids (up to my shoulders!), I’m reminded of the Up Series. In the early ’60s, British filmmakers interviewed seven-year-olds from different backgrounds and social classes. The premise: “to get a glimpse of England in the year 2000. The shop steward and the executive of the year 2000 are now seven years old.” They were testing the Jesuit maxim “Give me a child until he is seven and I will give you the man.” The filmmakers have followed up with the participants every seven years; they are now approaching 60 years old.
There are other Up series filmed throughout the world. The first installment of the American version was released in 1991, so when I watch it I’m seeing kids grow up in the same time I did. The really amazing thing is that in many cases, the child at seven does tell you a lot about the adult they’ll become.
So how about those kids we all seemed to have in our second grade classes? Do you think we can accurately predict where they are now? Maybe not – but it’s fun to try.
The Nose Picker
Also known as the Gross Kid. As a child, I lived in fear that I was the Gross Kid even though I was hygienic. And as an adult, I sometimes still feel like a grown-up version of the Gross Kid.
But you know who doesn’t feel like that? The actual grown-up version of the Gross Kid. Because the hallmark of the Nose Picker/ Gross Kid/ Smelly Kid was that they were utterly oblivious to their own filth. This kid has not become an appealing adult. He has become that guy at your office with the rumpled shirt who is always faintly smelly, or the sticky guy who you hope doesn’t chose the elliptical next to you. She’s that person whose apartment may be surface-clean, but the sink always has a layer of grime.
If the Nose Picker was an unappealing kid because his parents just didn’t care, though, not because the kid was oblivious, then he is probably very tidy and fastidious now.
The Dinosaur Kid
How about that one child who knew everything about dinosaurs (or fighter jets, or bugs, etc)? Chances are this kid is the expert in some super-specific field, but has left the dino t-shirts behind. But if you go see Jurassic World with a former Dinosaur Kid this summer, be prepared for a tirade on the inaccurate skin folds of the velociraptors, because once you amass that much knowledge about a subject it doesn’t go away, it just gets locked up for a while.
That One Kid Who Showed Up Halfway Through The Year
Remember how one kid would show up halfway through the year, introduced by the principal, and then they’d be gone at the start of the next school year? That kid made friends fast – in part because everyone was so taken with the novelty of an unfamiliar kid, and in part because if you switched schools a lot, you sort of had to know how to make friends quickly. So it would come as no surprise that That One Kid Who Showed Up Halfway Through The Year is now a person who instantly gets involved in a new workplace or neighborhood.
The Kid With The Healthy Lunches
Well, they’re probably thin, but good God, at what cost?
Actually, I take that back. The kid with the aggressively healthy lunches raided his friends’ Dunkaroos and Pop Tart Bites every time he went over to to play – I should know, my friend had the good junk food and I did the same. By high school, they probably developed a Claudia Kishi complex and snuck unhealthy snacks. This kid is now an adult who buys lunch from a vending machine at work.
The Kid With The Good Lunches
You know how some children were destined to a life of Lunchables and Handi-Snacks when your lot in life was bologna sandwiches and lukewarm yogurt? Those Good Lunch Kids had 20 minutes of joy in the middle of every school day. I like to think they still create happiness with little things, like as adults they have a living room with one really unexpected piece of art, or they’ll wear a normal weekend outfit with a punchy pair of shoes.
Or, childhood Type II diabetes. One of those.
The Kid With The Statement Piece
It always seemed cool when a child had one thing they always had with them. Think Harriet the Spy with the tomato sandwiches. Or the boy with the purple socks, also from Harriet The Spy. Or Punky Brewster’s mismatched shoes, or Blossom’s hats. By now, this person has outgrown their statement piece. The boy who always wore suspenders is not still wearing suspenders. But they still like to get noticed right away, so look for a gregarious personality or some chunky jewelry. In second grade, the kid with the statement piece knew his own mind, so now they’re adults who have to have their house, car and workspace just the way they want it.
These are the people who have customized license plates.
I went to Catholic school, where every girl was Dress Girl. However, I still knew some of those girls who even in their free time insisted on wearing dresses. All dresses, only dresses, every day. Sometimes it was a religious thing but usually it was just a preference. Dress girl is not someone who works in fashion. Dress girl just chilled out at some point and realized that pants are useful for things like exercising, or windy days. But she’s mostly just someone who wears a lot of dresses, still. Sorry.
That Kid With A Ton Of Siblings
Your eyes don’t deceive you, that’s Jamal Lyon and Jess Merriweather in the best show nobody seems to remember.
If the Kid With A Ton Of Siblings was the oldest – or one of the oldest – in their giant family, there’s an excellent chance that this person is now an Adult With No Children, enjoying the blissful sounds of silence and sharing their wardrobe with nobody. In the immortal words of Kevin McAllister, when these kids grow up and get married, they’re living alone.
The Two Kids Who Look Alike But ARE NOT SIBLINGS
They never talked to each other again. But one has a spouse who looks like them. When they have kids, nobody can say “he looks just like his dad” or “that’s his mom’s nose!” Instead it’s like “yeah… that’s the only face those two faces could have created.”
Any other ginger kids out there? Then you know the very real struggle of being asked if you’re twins if there’s another random ginger in the class.
The “Half Hour Of PBS” Kid
Often a crossover with the Healthy Lunch Kid, remember that one kid who was allowed a single half-hour of public television once a week? Yeah, she spent a lot of time playing outdoors, developing an imagination, and getting acquainted with her local library, but she never knew what the heck was going on on TGIF. And like the Healthy Lunch Kid, this child binged on SNICK and Tiny Toons as soon as a play date began.
This could have gone one of two ways. Either this kid is now a TV blogger, or she’s one of those people who manages to drop the fact that she doesn’t own a TV into every conversation, relevant or not.
He Had A Rat Tail
He doesn’t, now.
The Kid God Forgot To Color In
Me, ’90s, skiing cow sweater, you’re welcome internet.
Oh, bless. That kid with pasty skin and pink-rimmed eyes is now an adult with slightly less pasty skin. For some reason, this child eventually ended up allergic to everything, as well. The quote from Community comes to mind – it’s like God spilled a person. The pasty child is now a grownup who doesn’t leave home without sunscreen, Zyrtec, eye drops, an inhaler, and maybe an epipen. And tissues, because for some reason frequent nosebleeds go along with this whole setup.
And yes, this kid is me. Now excuse me as I fish my flonase out of my purse.
The Girl Who Knows Everything
Nobody in the world knows more than a seven-year-old girl. Especially THIS seven-year-old girl. Unfortunately, knowing everything is not the best way to ingratiate yourself with your peers.
The Girl Who Knows Everything probably forgot that she knows everything for a few years there – junior high or high school – but her Hermione Granger tendencies won out and now she’s
in an upper-level position in the Ministry of Magic got a pretty good job.
The Kid Who Wants Everyone To think He’s Rich
God bless typecasting. I feel like our child-selves should have been friends.
What’s more insufferable than a rich kid? A kid who wants everyone to KNOW that he’s a rich kid. This is the girl who told everyone that she got her Halloween costume from the deluxe tier, or the boy who referred to his pool as an “olympic-sized swimming pool.” I’m not saying that this kid is rich now, but they probably have a subprime mortgage on a flashy McMansion and lease a nice car that’s beyond their means to own.