Wednesday, December 23, 2009
I had recess duty today.
It was an unexpected assignment, on a freezing cold day. Luckily, I always have my ratty old "fire-drill coat" hanging from the back of my door because I hadn't worn a coat to school.
I know, I know, "what if you got into a wreck while driving!" As irresponsible as it is, I often don't wear my coat. It's a short dash from the parking lot to the doors of the school, it's warm inside, and a coat is bulky in the car, hot in the store.
I was wearing a sweater along with my extra fluffy, extra long scarf. I figured with the coat, scarf, casual-Friday jeans and a sweater, I could last my half-hour assignment on the snowy playground.`
As I stepped outside, a light snow raced along on a breeze. I was glad my scarf was long enough to tuck the fringed ends into my pockets to snuggle my hands.
I surveyed the play areas, frosted wood chips under the monkey bars, kids persisting in a Winter soccer game, girls whispering and giggling, leaning against the walls of the portable.
Two little guys, kindergartners, approach me.
"Will you put on my gloves?"
"Sure, hold up your hand. Push it in. No, hold out your thumb and spread out your fingers...like this. Push hard, there! Give me your other hand. What's your name?"
I get his gloves on and off they go but in a couple of minutes they're back.
"Will you put on my gloves again?"
"Okay, give me your hand..." The scene is repeated.
They come back! This time, he takes off his gloves in front of me, reaches up under his coat and hitches up his pants. I realize they are a size too big. He can't hitch up his hand-me-down pants without taking off his snowy gloves! When he's done, he turns to me holding out his gloves and I know what to do without being asked.
His little friend exclaims, "My hands are freezing!" He has them clenched up inside the sleeves of a light coat that is too big for him.
"His mom gave him girl mittens!"
The little boy nods in affirmation.
"How do you know they're girl mittens?" I ask.
"Well, boys can wear purple mittens. Let me see."
He pulls out lavender mittens, girl mittens. His little hands are frozen.
"You know what, it doesn't matter what color they are! They keep your hands nice and warm. If anyone says anything you just tell them you don't care what color they are, you want to be warm! Give me your hand, hold your fingers like this..." Soon the mittens are on.
"Here, let's zip up your coat."
"The zipper's broken."
I feel like crying when I advise him to hold the two sides closed by crossing his arms.
They go off to my side to play "pick up big chunks of snow and drop them on the ground". I hear them giggling and turn to see one holding a chunk of snow that looks, remarkably, like a breast prosthesis, up to the chest of the other.
"Chi chi" he says with a naughty giggle. The other looks down and snickers, "yea, chi chi."
"Boys, that's not nice" I say as I shake my head. They sheepishly giggle. The bell rings and they run to line up, only after Jesus has taken off his gloves to hold up his pants.