Just 3 weeks into summer vacation and I can not count the number of times my girls have said this to me. Considering the fact that we have spent countless hours at the pool, participated in a science camp, dance camp, private dance lessons, theater camp, continued gymnastics and swim lessons (Summer’s not over yet, folks. There’s more to come!), when do they find the time to be bored? Well, you know that 30 minutes or so that one of them may have to wait for the other to get finished with a class? That’s when. “I’m soooooooooo B.O.R.E.D.!!!!!!”
When I was a kid, I learned the hard way never to say these words to my mother. I must have been about ten-years-old and trust me, I didn’t get to do a third of what my kids do over summer break but, telling her that I was bored was not a good move. The day that I said it she looked at me and said “Oh! You’re bored huh? Well, I got something for you.” And that right there, my friends, launched me into a summer of cleaning out the refrigerator, emptying and cleaning the kitchen cupboards (Y’all remember Scott’s Liquid Gold for wood? Baby, those cabinet doors were shining!), mopping the floors and ironing everyone’s clothes in the house right down to my father’s handkerchiefs. I used to wonder what kind of mother would sit and think up all of these horrible things to punish her kid with? Now, 36 years later, I can answer that question. That would be the kind of mother who pays for your fun, chauffeurs you around, wishes nothing but the best for you and really doesn’t want to hear you whine and complain. Ummm, that would now be me.
So, the other day, I took a page from my mother’s old school playbook. Thing 1 was in the throes of one of her best drama filled performances when she laid across my lap at gymnastics, while waiting for Thing 2 to finish, and said “Mooommmmmy! I’m booooorrrreeeeed!” Without missing a beat I said “Oh, you’re bored huh? Well, I got something for you.” I think she sensed that this could be trouble because she got really quiet. When we got home I sent them straight upstairs to clean their disaster of a playroom. Thing 2 was a little confused since she had nothing to do with it but, I figured that it was a good lesson to learn and the more the merrier. Can I tell you that level of histrionics generated from that particular action was like an Academy Award winning performance? My word! I fully expected them to break out in a rendition of “Swing Low Sweet Chariot.” Unbelievable. It got done, they dried their tears and we talked about responsibility. Specifically, that they are responsible to clean up their messes and I am not responsible for entertaining them. Have they said it again? They have started the sentence, but then stopped when they realized what was about to happen. My mother would be so proud of me! Remember this the next time one of your kids complains about being bored. They get something to do and you get free labor. I call that a win – win situation.