Article first published as Mom, I’m Bored on Technorati.
My older kids know better than to say those three words to me. What followed when they did in the past was hours of separating and going through the hundreds of markers in the art box while testing each one for quality, random yard work and dresser/closet organizing, to name a few.
My little guy has yet to learn to know better in this situation and on this particular morning, after saying only good morning, he turned to me and said “Mom, I’m bored, what could I do?” Keep in mind that the kid had not fully opened his eyes and was walking while stretching when this was uttered. I suggested that he have some breakfast and then help me water the houseplants. “No, thanks.” he said at the end of a massive yawn. “That’s boring.”
How about coloring? Why not make mommy a new picture for the fridge? “That’s what I did yesterday, boooooring.”
A friend suggested I run to a local craft store and buy some projects to keep him busy. Half an hour later we were back at home with three different over-priced project kits of his and his equally bored sister’s choosing.
I ushered them down to the basement and set up shop at the bar as to save my kitchen from impending craft shrapnel. The two crafty kids breezed through the kits and were back upstairs before an hour had passed asking what else I had to entertain them with.
Correct me if I am wrong, but I do not recall my own mother driving me to craft shops to buy things to entertain me. I remember making music with blades of grass and raisin boxes. I recall summers spent jumping rope, playing running bases and hopscotch ALL DAY LONG only breaking for meals and Popsicle. No one handed me pouches of 100% juice when I got thirsty, there was a hose in the yard.
I didn’t ask my mom to entertain me, I used my imagination. My sister and I played “ice cream truck” with our upturned big wheels for hours. We played games like “make me laugh” which was basically a staring contest while making funny faces. First one to laugh loses. We spent days on end building forts in the backyard out of whatever we could find.
I tell them about these activities of my childhood, hoping to inspire some creativity and hand them two boxes of raisins and send them on their way. If it weren’t 100 degrees in the shade outside, I would have shoved them out the door as well.
Judging by the look on their faces, you would think I handed them ark building directions in Chinese.
I wonder, have we spoiled our children with so much coordinated distraction and tv/video games that they are no longer capable of imaginative play on their own?
Just then I walk down the hall and listen at my daughter’s bedroom door. It is quiet, much too quiet. I open the door and peer inside just in time to see my little guy crack up at the sight of his cross-eyed tongue-out silly faced sister.
Fine choice, I think, maybe there is hope after all.