Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Babies, Boys and Boredom

I hate playing with my kids.

There, I said it.

Yes, I'm a horrible mother.

Possibly even a horrible human being.

But very few things make me want to stick a fork in my eye like playing with my kids.

I hate reading board books (really, they should just call them 'bored' books) and pointing out that that's a dog! There's a cat! There's a mouse! There's Elmo! *yawn*

I hate building block towers. And knocking them down again. And building it up again. And knocking them down again. And building it up again... *yawn*

I hate walking around a park slower than a snail in the direction one might take if one were extremely inebriated.

I hate chasing someone for 2 steps. And then having them chase me for 2 steps. And then chasing them again. And then having them chase me again. And chasing them again...

I hate repeating myself more than 4 times in answer to the same exact question. Constantly. All day long. Otherwise known as, toddler conversation.

All of this is what "playtime" is like with someone under age 3. And it's fine for 20 minutes. Maybe even an hour. But when it drags into the 3 hour range, each and every day, for YEARS, you start to want to cry. And I KNOW I'm not alone.

Checking out any kiddie park or museum, you'll see nannies, babysitters, and parents alike all on their smart phones, trying like heck not to die of boredom. No judgment from me. Or Louis CK. He has a hilarious sketch about being bored to death by playing with his kids, with the great punch line - Sorry, I'm bored more than I love you.

But just as kids start to become more interesting at age 3 and up, I'm discovering a new kind of boredom: Boy play.

Boy play typically involves everything that I (as a classic and lifelong girly-girl) have always avoided out of sheer disinterest.

Superheros and villains *yawn*, construction vehicles *yawn*, fighting and swordplay *ugh*, and, most recently for Judah - hotwheels.

Just a tiny fraction of Judah's beloved car collection.

It's all he wants to do now. Every time we go to Target he spends every single hard-earned dollar of his on hotwheel cars. He literally has over 50 that he hordes in his backpack and all he wants to do all day every day is "play cars."

I have no idea what I'm doing, but wheelies are always good, right?

See, that very concept is foreign to me. What does that even mean - play cars? Zoom them around? Roll them back and forth? Spin them on their backs? Pretend they are on good teams and bad teams and fight each other? I just really don't get it.

Greater love has no one than this: to lay down my desire to NOT be bored to tears.

I should know better because Judah begs me to "play cars" with him all day long and sometimes I even comply. But honestly, I just sit there with a blank look on my face and Judah eventually gets lost in a world of his own (or thankfully Noah needs a diaper change or something else "urgent" whisks me away, to my enormous relief).

But I do feel bad.

I feel bad that one of the things I dread the most is hearing Judah say - Mommy, can you play cars with me?

I dread it. I dread it with every fiber of my being. Because it presents the catch-22 choice between life-sucking boredom when I say yes or crushing mom-guilt when I say no.

Some days I'm bored more than I love him.
And some days I love him more than I'm bored.

But every day, I'm dying just a little bit either way.


Anonymous said...

Yes, yes, yes! I dread the question: Do you want to play with me? Because my response, internally, is "how?" Drive these cars around? Crash them? The same applies to trains.

Christine said...

I HAAAAAATE it, too. And just like you, I feel BAD about hating it. But I haaaaate it. It's so BORING. And ENERVATING. It EXHAUSTS me. Bleah.

Alice in Wonderland said...

OHMYGOSH thank you guys for sharing and making me feel like not so horrible a mom! I'm not alone, phew!

Jeg said...

I can't imagine anyone enjoying playing the boring, repetitive games. I usually tell my kids I'll play one of those boring activities for 15 minutes. Then I'm done. Helps alleviate guilt but preseves my sanity. There are a lot of great board books out there, and I enjoy reading those.