Our local elementary school usually has recess aides who supervise the school playground before and after lunch. When two of the four aides were inavailable for various reasons, though, the school asked for parent volunteers to step up and help out for the month.
This has sparked a great little network of “playground spies” to emerge among fellow moms. Even if you can’t personally witness the fun that is recess first-hand, you can count on your fellow spies to fill you in on how the little buggers are really behaving when they think no one is looking.
I had to laugh when I got a phone call the other day from a girlfriend who had just finished her shift as a recess fill-in.
“Hello?” I answered.
“Your son is a man-whore,” said the instantly-recognizable voice of my good friend without prelude.
“Oh yeah, which one?” I asked, laughing.
“Stacey, you have two sons. Which one would I be calling a man-whore?” she countered. (The “duh!” was unspoken and understood.)
“Oh, of course. So what did Scottie do?”
She then regaled me with the tale of my first-grader, surrounded by girls and succumbing to the first-grade equivalent of batted eyelashes and doe eyes. Completely oblivious to how his actions delight his little harem, he willingly saves seats and shares supplies in such a way as to result in phone calls that make me laugh hard enough to pee my pants.
A couple of weeks earlier, I received another spy report via text from a different mom friend.
“Spying on my kids and saw Robbie on the playground,” she wrote. ”He and his friends are tagging the cr@p out of each other, but having a blast doing it.”
This was great news to hear, since last year I was struggling with a whole other set ofplayground issues, worrying about my son feeling lonely and left out. Over the summer, he gained a bunch of confidence, achieved childhood milestones, and generally came out of his shell. So hearing about his crazy, regular-boy behavior on the playground really warmed my heart and help settle any nerves I had about his third-grade year.
After getting reports like this, I decided to volunteer for my own shift as playground spy. I wanted to see first-hand how all of the kids, not just my own, were doing at recess. I made a few observations on childhood in general, while I was there.
- 1. Kids are inherently kind. With all of the focus on bullying and the garbage they call news on TV anymore, you’d think we’re raising a generation of criminals and deviants. But I’m happy to say that recess showed me that kids will naturally rise to the challenge and do the right thing much more often than not. I was on my guard to watch for anyone excluding other kids or being mean, but saw many more actions of opening up circles to include rather than the opposite.
Being Mommy from first slurp to last sip.
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