Playground Musings

I’ve been editing all morning for a project, and it’s got me. They’re right you know, you can’t write unless you write. So I finally am going to finish this draft I started weeks ago. As you may know I work at an elementary school, and I am learning a lot. Aside from the fact that saying “back pack” is so 2002 (kid, it is a PACK that goes on your BACK. get off me.) (it’s “book bag” if you’re trying to be in with the 10 year olds these days), I’ve made several observations on the ol’ playground. (Don’t tell them I called it the ol’ playground, they’ll kick me out I tell you!)

One of the first things I noticed is that little girls love playing house. Now look, I’m not all “AH, negative gender stereotyping, save the feminism!” (If you want me to go there bring up twilight which is all sorts of the worst thing I could ever imagine on every level) (Don’t bring it up, I will shun you) But I am really confused by it. You’re 7. You wake up and someone makes you food, you fight with a sibling, a parent drives you to school, and then in the afternoon you rinse and repeat. You’re 7.  At some point after lunch you’re on the playground, and you decide that you are going to make invisible food  for another 7 year old who is your daughter and then she’s going to fight with her other friend/her pretend sister and then you’re going to walk  drive a pretend car around the swing set to drop them both off at school. So here’s my thing; is playing house extremely meta or is it just weird and creepy? *

Another observation I’ve had is that inevitably in every game of tag or hide-n-seek or king of the mountain, there is a loser. And when you’re on the playground, said ‘loser’ acts just as I suspect most creatures in the animal world act. In fact I’m pretty sure I’ve seen an animal planet special on like a diseased deer or something, and they wander away from their flock** and find a quiet place to die alone. The other day I witnessed a boy get tagged out, and instead of waiting to be tagged back in, he stooped over and wound his way through the playground equipment heading straight for the only patch of grass unpopulated by wild natives other children where I assume he intended to die a quiet death. Let me tell you guys something. I am not this way. I need you to know that if for some reason I am going down, I am going to do so in your midst–in the most central part of your midst no less–and I am going to give it all the Scarlett O’Hara returning to Tara/Dame Dench in Macbeth that lives deep within my soul. Be prepared for the dramatic performance of a lifetime because if you ain’t cryin’, I ain’t dyin’. Kids on the playground however, are not as creative as I.

They are funny though, and if I didn’t have the memory of a goldfish and wasn’t incapable of instantly blogging from the playground, you’d have a lot more proof.

*before you get all crazy on me, note that I have at several points in my past “cooked” mudpies for my baby sister and watched her eat them.

**yep, well aware it’s “herd” not “flock”. That word choice was to emphasize that I don’t even care about an animal.

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