>Anthropol….oh gee!


Recently, I had the task privilege of chaperoning a school field trip for my Little Man. 
Happpily for us all, a little mini-anthropological study evolved out of that sunny day at the zoo. 
Who knew?  They call anthropological studies “fieldwork,” this is “fieldtrip work.” Read on…

It was a kindergarten class field trip, and in a fit of guilty zeal I signed up as a parent chaperone.  Now, I know better.  I do. I’m an old hand at the mom world. But I was struck with guilt as I have been swamped with special needs issues and such all year, so I signed up and watched the calendar with dread anticipation. 

Upon arrival at the school for the trip, after tanking up with gas for my car and a redeye (Espresso, c’mon people!) for me, we were handed car seats and names of our charges. Anthony’s teacher, “the saint” (otherwise known as Ms. Thompson), assigned me “the good ones,” by which I mean, my Anthony and two of his buddies who are nice little boys.  Lucky me!  So with a renewed bounce in my step, I strapped them all into the my big ol’ car and followed the chaperone caravan to the zoo. 

And so it began.
The day’s renewed primer on six year old boys. 
It’s easy to brush off the behavior of one energetic, ok, kinda wild, six year old boy as just a high spirited lad. When you have three of them in your car, giddy with the anticipation of lions, tigers, and bears (oh my!), then you realize, they are something of a species in and of themselves. 

I had forgotten just how fixated six year old boys are on “pee” and “poop” and how just the very words can make a boy fall right out of his seat guffawing, belt and all.  Or how it’s fun to experiment with how many variants you can find for bodily functions.  Or how those bodily functions can be turned into countless jokes, simply by appending them to passing sights.  “Look, the clouds are peeing!”  Insert maniacal laughter here.  Six  year old boys don’t need music, or polite chat, they only need a forum for relentless scatological jokes. A moving car with a captive parent and a participatory audience is ideal.   Best to make a note of that, moms.  Happily, however, the variety and creativity with which they apply this focus speaks well for their imagination and breadth of alert cognitive engagement.  Right?  Right.

On a cautionary note, I will point out that any field trip mom’s worst nightmare is when one of the assigned children (who you do not know well, or at all) clutches his pants about halfway through a 45 minute freeway only drive to the destination, and says, loudly, with some urgency, “Gee I wish I wasn’t having diarrhea.”  Not what a driving mom wants to hear.  Happily, with some encouragement, the boy made it to the park, successfully, and was able to make use of their facilities….often.  But that is why they have them and thus we field trip moms are happy those facilities are in place.  {Note to Nashville Zoo: more facilities in the upper and lower sections of the park would be most helpful rather than the center main facilities.  Your main patrons are children.  These are little kids we are talking about, their bladders are the size of peanuts.}  

 But I digress.  Taking a small group of boys to the zoo is an opportunity to watch a drag race, up close and personal, but instead of flashy loud cars you have flashy loud boys.  And oh, these six year old boys are fast!  As soon as we lined up to enter the zoo, they were revving their engines, through the turnstile and they were off! 
Zoom, “We wanna see the alligators!” “Ooh, look, cool look at their mouth!
Zoom! “We wanna see the monkeys!” “I see them up there, what’s  next?!
Zoom! “Let’s go find the tigers!!” “WOW, look at him, what’s next!?”  and so on. 
By the time the chaperone, myself, caught up with the boys (And really, I have a very fast walking pace, so this was impressive) they were burning rubber of their tennies, racing to the next animal.  I think I had time to say a whole sentence one time, “Oh, wow, look at that tiger, how beautiful!” before I was coughing on the clouds of dust kicked up by their run.  Thus, we saw the entire zoo in a zippy loud 45 minutes, thus allowing for ample time on the amazing playground and many trips to the restrooms.  We even got to see parts all over again, for good measure, after lunch and before our second trip to hang at the playground. 

This rapid mode of sightseeing at the zoo may be frowned upon by some.  However, it has a certain charm of efficiency and leaves no room for boredom, thus matching the attention spans of most six year old boys.  It can be summed up by the term: expedient.  Six year old boys are nothing if not expedient.  Watching meerkats for more than 30 seconds is not expedient.  Waiting for lorikeets to drink out of your cup of liquid gold, also known as sugar syrup, is not expedient.  They snooze, they loose, those birds must find another source…. perhaps the middle school girls who just received three sugar syrup cups shoved into her hands as the boys exit, off to race to the next thing. 

Finally, it can be surmised from observation that a six year old boy is most content, or rather, utterly overjoyed to spend the bulk of his time at the zoo playing on the large playground.  Running, racing, jumping, climbing, laughing, shouting, hooting, growling and roaring in the playground is the fullest expression of the nature of a six year old boy.  

One  might even decide that the giant zoo playground is the well crafted exhibit and ideal habitat for the underrated species more commonly known as “six year old boy.”

2 thoughts on “>Anthropol….oh gee!

  1. >Hilarious! Very familiar with the 6 year old "species"! The fascination with bodily functions cracks me up! It seems that our boys are most entertained with those ideas at the dinner table!! We will look back on all this someday w/ such fond thoughts 🙂


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