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Saturday, January 7, 2012

The Lesser of the Two Evils

Yesterday was a "Choose the Lesser of the Two Evils" day, playground-wise.  Despite having three Little People out sick, our class was still bursting with energy, and when I received the news that the playground was really muddy, it was a true quandary for me.   On one hand, we could have skipped the playground altogether and gone inside and had extra center time or perhaps even watch a video.  However, my experience with this is that it never turns out as good as you might hope it would.  First of all, even on the coldest, rainiest days the kids rarely ever snuggle up and sit quietly to watch even the most entertaining movie.  They talk.  And move around.  And comment about every scene.  And argue.  ("I'm Buzz Lightyear!"  "No, I'm Buzz Lightyear!")  And on and on.  And if you go straight to extra center time, it's always way too long, and all that unspent energy manifests itself in a veritable plethora of frightening and hard-to-handle ways.

So, you could see why I was against that option.  However, the second option was to sanction some of the playground as "okay" playing space, and sanction some of it as not. (I'm not sure that's the correct use of the word "sanction", but you get the idea.)  Of course, that idea was a little shaky to being with,  because if there are two things that just don't mix, it's four-year olds and invisible boundaries.

Of course, anyone that knows me know that I chose the "Limited Playground" option.  I just couldn't stand the thought of all that wildness inside, so we went for option #2.  Much to the dismay of my coworkers, I'm afraid.  They in general seem to be colder than I am most of the time and seem to romanticize appreciate the "watch a movie" scenario much more than I do.

So, as a result,  we played outside.  I did try to create some visual boundaries by lining the grass area with cones, as well as by stringing some crepe paper banners around the forbidden area.  Some of the Little People did quite well with these boundaries.  Some were completely oblivious and wandered out into the mud - multiple times.  Wood Chip thrower drove his bike into the mud at least twice, and then wondered aloud in an amazed fashion as I pushed him back to the concrete, "I got all muddy!"  And some of the others just embraced the possibilities of it all, running and breaking through the crepe paper as if they were the winner of the Little People Mud Marathon.

But we got through it.  And we had a rather peaceful rest of the day.    Which was worth a little playground chaos in my book, hands down.

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