Saturday, December 17, 2005

I Think I Can

I would like to point out that despite the well wishes sent to me by many a friend yesterday wishing me a good last day of school before the holidays, that I am not actually out of school until next Thursday. That's right. Next Thursday, which I will be spending 18 hours of in a packed out car of gifts, dog, car top carrier, and loads of Christmas cheer. Did I mention that it's 18 hours? I digress.
This extended school year is starting to take quite a toll on the kids. After three straight days of testing, they're a little, um....insane, I believe would be the word. Manic. Somewhat disturbed. Recess yesterday illustrated this point beautifully. [Note: This is the most atypical group of 4th graders that I have ever worked with. They act like they are in middle school already and it's only December. If you are the parent of a fourth grader, do not be alarmed.]
This is a tale filled with bad language, violence, and hormone-laden emotions. If you are offended by any of the above mentioned descriptors, read no further.
My teammate and I were monitoring recess as usual, keeping an eye on the kids, but chatting together. Since we have already banned football, tackle games, and general frivolity, this job is usually quite relaxing. On this day, we were bombarded with angsty student after angsty student with something to share.

Me: So, I think we'll probably just finish wrapping gifts and start-
Mr. Owens: You're retarded!!
Sidekick: YOU'RE RETARDEDER!!! [shove]
Me: [sigh, walk] Guys, play nice or don't play.
Mr. Owens: But he-
Sidekick: He said!
Me: Okay, don't play. [shrugged]

The boys continued the debate over which of them was what degree of retarded. I briefly considered explaining that retardeder was not really a word, and suggesting that they check their handy thesaurus for a stronger word choice when-

Weenie Boy: Mrs! She punched me in the nose! [grasping nose desperately]
Me: Why? [inspecting uninjured nose]
Weenie Boy: She said that she got to be the vampire slayer, not me and then she punched me!
Me: So I guess she is the vampire slayer then, huh?
Weenie Boy: Yeah. [sniff] I guess.
Me: I wouldn't play with girls who hit me. Go play somewhere else. You're okay.

I again attempted to resume my adult conversation.

Me: So anyway, we have to get completely packed and cleaned up this weekend, -

My eye caught an F-bomb dropping in the making. The tetherball swung dangerously out of reach and Punk reached for it desperately, an F-bomb forming on his lips when he caught my eye.

Punk: Ffffffffffffff-uh-ART! Fart! [glanced nervously at me] Fart. [shoved hands in pockets and trudged off court.]

I stifled a giggle. My teammate was already turned around the other way, trying to hide her laughter. Shooting him my most stern "That better have been what you were going to say" Look, I continued my watchful sentry. I noticed Mr. Owens and Sidekick having a heated discussion. There were flailing arms and tears. "Let's go watch," I said to my teammate. We walked closer.

Sidekick: Well, you didn't have to SAY it!
Mr. Owens: All I said was that you needed a face mask. You said you were cold. [furtive glance at his new audience] I was just trying to help.
Sidekick: You said the face mask was to cover my ugly FACE!
Mr. Owens: Well, But you DID say you were cold.
Sidekick: [dramatically, not unlike a girl] We used to be best friends and now it's come to THIS!
Teammate: [nudges me] Is he a girl?
Me: Kinda. Keep watching.
Sidekick threw himself to the ground in hormonal agony and commenced sobbing. Mr. Owens shrugged his shoulders and walked away.
Teammate: I think he just got dumped.

We giggled quietly, gave Sidekick a little pep talk and resumed our stroll. As we neared the tetherball poles again, a massive burly figure charged toward me, panting and fuming. It was clear something had angered the Beast. I tuned in.

Beast: Mrs! John just said "shut the hell up!" He said hell! He said hell!
Me: Whoa! You just said it three times! Does that make it better?
Beast: I was just telling you that HE said "shut the hell up!"
Me: That's four.
Beast: Mrs! But! He said...he! Argh! [threw self on ground in angry heap and punched grass]
Me: Beast, I appreciate you doing the right thing and reporting bad language, but do you really think I wanted to hear you say it too?
Beast: It's nooooooooooot faaaaaaaiiiiiirrrrrr! It's always my fault! [sob] I can't - hic - do anything ri-igh-igh-ght! [wailing and tears are to be inferred henceforth]
Me: [stare]
Beast: [hiccup, wipe face, stand back up to full 5'7 height] Are you gonna kick John out for saying hell?

Seriously, do they never learn? If my boys are this hormonal and emotional in December, what are they going to be like in April? It was like a freak show out there! I've got to maintain my sense of humor, or I will go down with them. I cannot succumb to this insanity. Three more days. I think I can, I think I can....

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