Tonawanda News — They’re bored.
Or, not bored. BOOORED, all caps, with a few extra Os thrown in for good measure. There’s nothing to doooo. They don’t want to read. They don’t want to go for another walk. They don’t want to play with the same old toys. And heaven forbid they should help with chores.
They’re BOOOOORED, I tell you.
School has been done for three weeks for my younger son and not quite two for my elder, and already they’ve managed to drive their father and me absolutely bonkers.
We’ve been blessed with children who, so far, really love school (or preschool, as the case may be). The only problem with that, of course, is when class is done for the summer. It only took a day or two for each of them to demand a return to the familiar routine and the presence of beloved teachers and friends.
It comes in stages, for us at least.
Just like the weekend. It’s cool to be home, hanging with Daddy, playing with toys, eating snacks, watching some “Star Wars.” Dudes together. Unless Mommy’s home from work. Then Mommy can be an honorary dude.
Disbelief. OK, that’s enough vacation. I want to go back to school now. Wait … what do you mean, there’s no school? I need to see (insert teacher or friend’s name here). There might be spaghetti for lunch. Hasn’t it been long enough? When is September, anyway? It’s HOW far away?!
Moping. This is where a major case of the whinies starts … and the aforementioned “B word” comes in. (And the elongated vowels.) There’s nothing to dooooo. Why can’t we do anything fuuuuun? I don’t care that we went to the zoo yesterday and a carnival with Grandpa and Grandma a few days before that, or that we have a house full of toys and art supplies. There’s nothing to doooo noooooooow …
Annoyance and irritation … for both sides. This is the stage most likely to result in small children sent to their rooms, resulting in slammed doors, resulting in pinched fingers, resulting in howls of dramatically overrepresented pain … resulting in Mommy and Daddy wondering if there’s any rum left in the cupboard.
A combination of the former three, with a hefty dose of button-pushing thrown in. This is where my 7-year-old starts playing his music really loud (getting a head start on his teens, I guess) and baiting his brother. This is when the 4-year-old starts overreacting to the baiting with howls of rage … and retribution.
We’re already at stage five. That should tell you a bit about how this summer is going.
Fortunately, there’s hope. The younger kid has started a local athletic program that at least gets him out (and wears him out) interacting with other children and gives him something to look forward to each day. The older one will start his summer program soon. I can say from experience that the structure and the activity will help everyone’s mood immensely.
We just need to survive another week.
I’ve attempted the tried-and-true method I seem to recall my parents breaking out … the reaction to “I’m bored” with “Here, this chore needs to be done!” It was guaranteed to make my brother and I suddenly remember a pressing engagement to read a book or, better yet, go in search of friends, getting outside of the chore zone immediately.
Actually, the boys rather like doing some chores, and react to suggestions of laundry and filling the dishwasher with enthusiasm. Problem is, they are still pretty little and such things need supervision … and then the competition aspect comes into play … and next thing you know, we’re right back at stage four. (With the bonus element of having all players drenched, in some cases.)
I’m glad to have children who love school so much. I’m glad we have things for them to do to keep them active and sharp during the summer. But I’m going to be even gladder when September rolls around again.
Good luck to my fellow parents out there.
Pass the rum.
Jill Keppeler is a writer for the Tonawanda News. She can be reached at email@example.com.Jill Keppeler is a writer for the Tonawanda News. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.