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Sunday, May 8, 2011

Randomly Encountered Children

In all of the time that kids spend in classrooms, they generate a rather large number of quotes and entertaining stories.  But they don't turn off when they leave school for the day, and sadly a lot of their material is beyond my purview.  I do, however, sometimes get to listen in on the antics of some randomly encountered children outside of school hours when they happen to cross my path.  Or when they happen to kiss my elbow.

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Yesterday we were out jogging and ran by a two such children out walking with their families.  One of the perhaps six-year-old boys was dressed in a Superman shirt and had some kind of superhero device strapped to his wrist.

"Let's just fight!" he shouted out to his friend who was running ahead.  When the friend failed to stop running or to respond, he called after him.  "Dude!  Dude!"

The friend, who wore a rather regular shirt and was device-less, had his own plans.  "Let's just run!" he called back to his fighting-obsessed friend.

We jogged on and left the boys to continue the debate over fighting vs. running as the superior pastime.

A few weeks ago another kid popped into our weekend wielding chalk.  She sat on her stoop as we walked to the grocery store, surveying a heavily decorated sidewalk.  We stopped for a minute to admire the drawings.  "A lot of people have been signing their names" she said.  We took the hint and added our own names.  I felt the occasion called for my most fancy signature.  "I can't read cursive" the girl said as she looked over my shoulder, so I translated.  We went along our way, impressed by the girl's ability to employ neighborhood residents in the creation of a sprawling masterpiece.

I'm also sometimes entertained not only by the kids being kids, but by the parents managing those kids.  As I walked into the mall the other day, I hear a mom behind me setting the groundrules for her two sons as they approached the door.

"We're not playing 'Touch Your Brother and Make Him Cry,' we're not playing 'Run Around the Store.'  Keep your hands to yourself and don't bother anybody."

As a shopper on a mission that did not include tripping over or colliding with any children, and as an anybody not wanting to be bothered, I very much appreciated this mom's no-nonsense lecture.

On the weekends, I get a break from having to have to tell any kids to sit down, to finish their work, or to stop nibbling their classmates, but still get to be amused by them.

4 comments:

Nate said...

Great post! Will we get more of these "children in their natural environment" posts once it's summer?

Sarah Garb said...

Well. That's up to the children, isn't it? If the children we encounter over the summer are sufficiently funny, then up they go!

Sarah said...

I find it hard to bite my tongue! Like the other day when a kid was walking backwards in the grocery store.... took a lot of self controls to turn the teacher part of me off :)

Love the kiddo with the chalk!!

Veronica Chase said...

LOL I thought I was weird for being so easily amused by children. Observing and interacting with them is definitely a odd yet rewarding experience. Great post!