Her name is Poppy.
She’s an adorable girl with blonde braids woven tightly on either side of her head that hang down to her shoulders. Her bright blue eyes look at you with such intensity that you can’t wait to see hear what she's thinking. (Maybe.)
And she has yet to disappoint.
We had prepped the first graders about the playground equipment, and most were familiar with the drill. They were to only go DOWN the slide, and not the other way. They shouldn’t be playing where they can’t see the teachers, they have to be kind and polite, they must watch where they’re going and they should not walk in front of the swings while others are swinging.
It’s a long metal zip line attached to a complicated set of climbing equipment that I can’t even BEGIN to describe. (Hence the photo.) They are NOT go on the zip line unless they can reach it themselves – and they are not allowed to push each other on said zip line.
I watched my class on Friday as a number of children tried and tried and tried to hop onto the zip line. They were crowded around it, and even the tallest of the boys were THIS close to latching on as they jump to reach it. But to no avail.
Poppy watched from a distance.
And I watched Poppy.
She watched the boys intensely with her arms folded. They group finally tired and ran happily to another area of the playground. She turned her head and looked at me with a smile. (If I had been closer, I would have sworn she raised her eyebrows.)
She ran to the far side of the climbing apparatus and started her ascent. She climbed up one side of the triangular climber, and then down the other. She made the transition onto something that resembles monkey bars, across the thin blue bar and onto the larger green one to the purple one and THEN made her way to the end of the zip line. With her feet still swinging to and fro, her hands worked their way onto the larger pipe that housed the zip line, and they made their way slowly across the “line” until she reached the area where the handle had landed. She looked at me briefly, and transferred her hands down onto the handle. She smiled as she turned to me.
I watched in sheer amazement as she swung her body (as if she hadn’t just traversed the ANDES MOUNTAINS in FIVE MINUTES) and zipped like a thief in the night across the zip line. THE WHOLE WAY ACROSS.
She came to a stop, jumped off and looked at me with a sheepish grin.
I pointed to her, LAUGHED OUT LOUD, and gave her an ovation worthy of an Olympic Athlete.
As she ran to join her friend I smiled. This is gonna be some kind of year, I thought. Some kind of kick @$$ year, indeed.