What's the deal with 7-year-olds?

I was thinking of writing this post, called "What's the deal with 7-year-olds?" (subtitle: "Who ARE these people??") but then thought I should try to figure out if it was just mine, or if other people are experiencing the same frustration.

Let's put aside the fact that for years you all have been saying "Seven-year-olds are so frustrating!!" but my older one was totally fine at age 7 so I just didn't get what you mean. I get it now. Boy, do I get it.

And it makes so much sense that 7 is a rough age, because we already went through the crappy developmental leaps-slash-sleep-regressions at 4 months, 9 months, 18 months, then that massive personality implosion of 3 1/2 years. So if we double that we get to 7 years. (And then 14 sucks, too, if you will recall your own life. I felt out of sorts at age 21. And 28, too, come to think of it.)

So it makes sense. But, also, I'm tired of it.

So I went to see if our friends Louise Bates Ames and France Ilg from the Gesell Child Study Institute had written a book on 7-year-olds. Their "Your Three-Year-Old: Friend or Enemy?" book saved my sanity twice, but I hadn't read past that one.

So I went to Amazon to see what the book for seven-year-olds looks like. (It turns out that Ilg wasn't on this project, but Carol Chase Haber was.) I was not disappointed: Your Seven-Year-Old: Life in a Minor Key

Well, yes. Here's the blurb about the book:

"Your Seven-Year-Old is devoted to the delightful but often anxious and withdrawn child of Seven. Although any seven-year-old will have moments of exuberance, security, and happiness, in general this is an age of introspection. As it begins, parents and teachers may welcome the quiet after the tussles and tangles of Six. But once the child of Seven starts to withdraw it’s almost as though he doesn't know where or when to stop. Seven-year-olds feel picked on by family, friends, and teachers alike; they worry that no one likes them; they expect every little task to prove too difficult to handle; tears come easily at this age.
With wit and wisdom, Dr. Ames of the highly respected Gesell Institute and Carol Chase Haber offer insights into what children this age are feeling and thinking, and how parents can best deal with these moody, serious Sevens."

Yes! Moody moody moody. Easily set off. Dramatic, as if every little slight is a deep wound to the soul.

I ordered the book, but am almost afraid to read it when it gets here, lest it confirm that this is really happening. Still, knowing is half the battle, so I'll read it.

Who's got a beef with a seven-year-old? Who's all cocky because they had an easy seven-year-old like my first one was? Who remembers being seven? Someone tell me it's not just my house, please.


* Good news! The internet tells me the name of the book about 8-year-olds is subtitled "Lively and Outgoing." That's hopeful. Nine more months.