Monitoring the chaos


The sound is what you notice first, well that and the cold but we’ll come back to the cold. The sound, a cacophony of noise that ebbs and flows to seemingly random rhythm. There is a din of activity and yelling that is punctuated by high pitch screams and almost constant movement. I watched a couple of kindergartener re-enact the entire dance from the Gangnam Style video, and do a pretty great job too. Some of the hip thrusting was troubling but both boys had better dance moves than I ever managed. There was also a group of girls lineup in rows like a choir singing pop songs in harmony. They had printed out lyrics and while I recognized the songs I couldn’t tell if they had changes the words or not. They sounded lovely when I could make out the tune through the screams.

Kids pulsed through the space like one big living organism with comets shooting out of the central mass. I watched, taking my new job as recess monitor very seriously. For the next two weeks I will be on the playground monitoring the situation. Mediating conflict, keeping kids safe, giving the teachers a break. That’s my job, well that and bathroom, drinking fountain and coat monitor. That is actually the job I do, answer requests for one of the those three things on a constant basis. It’s like one of those SAT questions, or the count in the Black jack. I expect the principal to come up to me and ask how many kids are in the school at any given time and I will need to give him the count.

I enjoyed my first day but quickly realized that I need a few more layers of clothes to stand out in the cold. The kids are running around like crazy but I’m manning a specific zone most of the time and the gloves and hoodie were not sufficient to keep the cold at bay. Hours later as I type this my fingers are still cold. I will bundle up and get back out there in the chaos and beauty of grade school recess, but I need to check on that taser I was promised!

Bundled up for the ride to school

While we have missed the snow and ice storms of the East and Mid-West we have had a cooler snap here in Portland making our ride to school a bit chilly. Here the boys are bundled up with toques, coats, and a blanket inside a cozy bike trailer. Not a bad way to ride to school. I, on the other hand, have not seen my twig and berries for the last 4 hours. True Story.

Family Fun in Portland: Lan Su Chinese Gardens

Today through Sunday January 9th admission at the Lan Su Chinese Gardens in Old Town Portland is free. Normally $8.50 a person this is not a great kid friendly deal because the kids will rush you through and these gardens should really be savored. But when it’s free it is a great family activity and one we took advantage of this afternoon with The Charge and his parents. It was burn your ears cold out but the garden’s were lovely and the kids were given a scavenger hunt card where they needed to find the items pictured on the card. It made the walk exciting, even in the freezing but sunny walled garden. The pond was half frozen over and the fish seemed to be stuck int he frozen area. I tired to get Primo to slow down and contemplate the garden but he was busy rushing around trying to stay warm. If you are in Portland this week make some time to check out this downtown treasure.