Monday, September 15, 2014

Parenthood: Week 68 - Boredom

Parenting can be really boring.

Yes, there are many dramatic moments in parenting. The crisis of a blown out diaper on the road with only a limited amount of baby wipes handy and the endless nights when sleep is allusive for everyone in the house. There are also moments of indescribable joy like when your baby brings over her favorite book to you to read and giggles at the funny voices you make as you read aloud.

There are the annoying times when he throws the food that you put a lot of effort into cooking for him onto the floor. Then there are the aggravating moments when your patience is running out and your toddler just won’t stop crying.

Along with all of this, there are moments in parenting that can be really boring.

When Ollie was a newborn he didn’t laugh at any of my jokes, react to the books I read to him or smiled. There wasn’t a lot of different ways that he could show me that he understood me but he was so cute and anyways he slept most of the time. Because of this the awkward moments when we were just bored staring at each other were at a minimum.

As Ollie developed his first year, he would smile at my silly voices, begin playing with toys and move around the room. This has developed into the toddler Ollie is now. He has opinions of what he wants to play with. When he wants to read a book he will put a book in my hand and he will try to interact with me by grabbing at my leg or crawling all over me.

Yes, Ollie is adorable but sometimes things can get boring when I play with him. He’s not a great conversationalist and his books, while they continue to fascinate him lack the emotional depth and character development for repeated readings.

It’s sometimes really difficult to not get bored as he attempts to put the triangle shape through the square whole of his shape sorter for the fifth time in a row.

There’s the adage that you get what you put into a situation. That’s most definitely the case with playing with toddlers. You are the one who needs to bring energy and creativity during your playtime to the table. The toddler sometimes demands your attention, but often Ollie doesn’t. The problem here is that in these moments Ollie will often get into something he shouldn’t if I don’t actively help him become engaged in something he should be playing with.

It’s okay to be bored with your kid sometimes. It happens to everyone. Our kids our cute, constantly changing and endlessly fascinating but like other people in our lives, they can be boring sometimes.

My recommendation: Pace out your time with your kid. Go out and do stuff. I’m not talking about crazy outings to museums. The bookstore, library or grocery store are great places to go with your kid. Even though you’ve read that book over and over, add some voices, it’ll be less boring for you that way if you just put in a little bit more energy.  Stay engaged.  Times always moves faster if you are actively engaged in an activity.  It takes extra effort, but it's worth it.

Lastly, you don’t always have to be doing things with your kid. It’s ok to just sit there checking your Facebook feed while your kids is sitting playing with some blocks. If checking your phone helps your get through your boredom as your toddler independently plays, it’s all good. Do what you have to do. Just make sure that when your child wants to reengage with you, the phone disappears.  Sometimes these moments when you are more passive with your child gives you the energy to jump back in with more enthusiasm.

One day Ollie will engage in thoughtful conversations with me, until then I'll continue to reread his favorite books and help him with his shape sorter.  Because here's the thing, as boring as these this things can be for me, when I look into Ollie's eyes and see his fascination and excitement in the mundane, it doesn't seem so boring anymore.

1 comment:

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