The Week of Boredom

Maybe you saw this coming. In any case, it is probably long overdue.

I said this yesterday on Facebook:

“So. This morning’s walk to freedom was inspired by “boredom”. Apparently HER CHOICE of lying around, eating snacks, playing on the TRX cables is “not fun” to which I responded through clenched teeth “You have no idea how BORED I can make you.” Enter “It Is Boring And You Hate It, So We’re Doing It Now!” Week. First up, a trip to Home Depot in which you walk around after me for an hour while I look at tile, pick up paint chips and put together potted annuals in my head, then don’t buy anything. No Sulking Allowed. Next, a loooong drive home with (gasp) no snack, deliberately passing the bus stop and walking back to it from the house to pick up big brother and No, I’m Not Carrying You. Later, I think a nice Gross Salmon with Grosser Fennel Salad for dinner will round out the day nicely.”

I am so angry about her comment about being bored.  My right hand has been on fire the last day, so apparently demyelination is sensitive to fear and rage, too.  She has no idea how much I do, correction have done, so that she would NOT be bored.  The errands I squeeze in to the few hours I have when she’s at school.  The calendar filled with fun, little, enriching classes, the videos she gets to watch while I make dinner.  Well.  Not any longer.  All of that is over.  I’m nothing if not a reactive parent.

The next time she gets to sit down in my gym with snacks, books, unicorns and blankets, she’ll recognize it as a gift.  Instead of running to Target for two things and to Whole Foods for another this morning while she was at school, I went for tea and had a text conversation with a good friend about waxing versus laser.  (Spur of the moment.  I’m not used to this yet—next time we’ll try to actually have tea together I hope while we talk about Big Things .)

Instead of prepping the garden beds so she and I could plant peas this afternoon, I ate frozen cookie dough and read some Flavia de Luce.  Instead of picking up her room so I could put her laundry away, I sat and wrote this.

This afternoon, she can put her own laundry away after she cleans her own room.  She can help me turn over the garden beds.  She can go to Target and Whole Foods with me, and no, we’re not getting treats or whatever crap thing she sees in the checkout.  If I do it, she does it.  She thinks that forty minutes of sitting around while I workout is interminable.  You’re looking at whole hours, days of it even, now kiddo.

I’ve coddled her, I know. Because I can and I wanted to, and that got punched right out of me yesterday morning.  This morning, like every morning she dragged her feet and said “I don’t want to go to ‘chool.”  And this morning, unlike every morning before it, I said “Too bad.”  When she putters around and has selective hearing about the things I tell her, she doesn’t get the jolly song and dance, she gets one-word commands, mostly “NOW.”  I haven’t forgiven her yet for scaring me and I know, though she doesn’t yet, that our relationship has changed.

I feel for friends of mine who have children who abscond, sad that these parents have to have multiple strategies for keeping their kids safe.  I don’t think that panic goes away, and every time a child is missing it is terrible.  The thing the blew me away with my daughter is that I know she is completely sure of herself, but I always assumed her timidity and need for proximity to me would just last.  Forever.  Or at least until the first day of school when she would happily part from me and hop onto the bus.

I thing I’m getting it, this new part of the parenting thing.  One boring day at a time.

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