Let me tell you about a trip I take a few times a month. I head to the hospital for scans and tests on a route that takes me by a school. Often because of traffic and red lights, I have the chance to watch a cacophony of elementary students just being themselves in the schoolyard.

It is endlessly amusing, and it is also best to see it from outside the fence through a sound proofed car window. I can’t imagine how yard monitors keep their hearing intact.

Over the numerous times I have observed these kids, there are certain pattern that emerge. I have noticed what goes on, and I wonder if you (I am talking to the parents at this school who will never likely read this anyway) are aware of what your kids are doing.

Maybe you know which of these types they are – and maybe you don’t, but here is what I see:

Mob Boss – this kid holds court with a group of minions. Often they feed the Godfather of the school yard by handing over their best snacks to remain in favour with him. Grade 5 Mafia, it is real.

Daisy in the sunshine – this teacher’s dream is sitting under the monkey bars with her fellow book clubbers and talking animatedly about Harry Potter or the latest read. The club is all girls in about Grade six, and one little brother kindergarten boy with his head on Daisy Sunshine’s lap. These are also the kids who play hopscotch and elastics like some sort of retro champions.

Super Lightspeed Dude – this fun kook is usually up the fence or running around with a superman cape flying behind him. The other kids cheer him on as he climbs the lone tree in the schoolyard. Last week he had a cast on. I am thinking there is a correlation.

Bossy Boots – this well turned out girl is organizing everybody. The lunchtime activity of the day is her groove. She has a clipboard, a whistle and wears baby Doc Martens. Nobody messes with her when it is time to run a relay or throw a ball. This one is going places.

Jockenstein – this girl is blasting her way through a pick up game of soccer, leaving broken and gobsmacked kids in her wake. She is so far above the other grade 6 competitors, I suspect she is a cobbled together child of bionic parts. This kid lives for the game, wins the game, hell she owns the game.

Lord of the Flies – You know that kid from your own school experience, boy or girl, they are exactly the same. They decide who is in and who is shunned for cruel amusement purposes only. I watch this one operate from my perch outside the yard and can predict who they will be as adults. Either mean or repentant, but never mild.

The caricature that compels me the most is the one I watch for longer than any other every time I go by. He is the one I nicknamed Eyore. This sweet child sits alone. I watch him. He is by the fence flipping a coin or otherwise trying to look busy and not so sad. I never see him with friends, and my heart breaks for him. I wonder if his teacher sees him and attempts to help. I wonder if his Mother knows he spends his grade 4 days in complete solitude. I wonder what he is thinking as he sits and tries not to look eagerly at every child who seems to have somewhere else to be. As the bell rings, Eyore lumbers to his class. I watch him as he disappears through the doors and I ache for your child.

I don’t know any of these kids really, but the social anthropologist in me is fascinated by them. I was able to place my kids in these characters, and I hope for them that as they grow up they will evolve with many aspects to their personalities. Mostly though, I want them to be kind to all the other kids in the yard.



Our Editor-in-Chief Magnolia Ripkin is sort of like your mouthy Aunt who drinks too much and tells you how to run your life, except funny... well mostly funny... like a cold glass of water in the face. She writes a flagrantly offensive blog at Magnolia Ripkin Advice Blog answering pressing questions about business, personal development, parenting, heck even the bedroom isn't safe. She is the Editor in Chief at BluntMoms. Other places to find her: Huffington Post, The Mighty and Modern Loss. You can also check her out in two amazing compendiums of bloggers who are published in “I Just Want To Be Alone.” And most recently, Martinis and Motherhood, Tales of Wonder, Woe and WTF

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