Friday, November 25, 2005

"I'm Bored!"

Holiday weekend. My kid announces he's bored.

I'm not bored, I'm tired from doing Thanksgiving, washing a pile of dishes, not to mention all the shopping and cooking that preceeded it. I'm just plain tired. I want to be the one who curls up on the couch to sip tea and read the paper. I am NOT bored.

I honestly don't remember saying "I'm bored" too much as a kid. It was forbidden in a way. I was one of five kids and the notion that either of my parents were in any way required to entertain me ... well, DREAM ON!

But my kid is an only child and I suppose they get used to a parent being the only other person rattling around in the house, the only other person they can address when announcing, "I'm Bored!"

I have no sympathy for it -- the dreaded boredom claim. That and the equally annoying whine known as "I'm hungry" between meals -- especially meals where my kid was lackluster in eating what was set in front on him at the previous chow-down occasion. If he didn't eat his lunch, I don't want to hear about it. He can wait until dinner.

My mom used to have an acid test of the "I'm Hungry" claim. She knew it usually meant we were hungry for something like candy or junk. My mom would always say, "Have an apple." and we found this totally uninteresting. We would whine, "I don't want an apple." And she would reply, "Maybe you're not all that hungry."

We just didn't say "I'm Bored!" to her. It would be met with deaf ears or worse, a sense that you were pretty lame and pathetic not knowing how to entertain yourself. My mom was an avid reader and if you didn't have a book you were in the middle of, you seemed to be positively defective as a human being in my house, from the age of ... well, about the moment you learned to read.

Also it was understood that being bored was only the problem of the person who was bored and if they were dumb enough to mention it, there were some serious cures for boredom at my mom's hands -- vacuuming, cleaning toilets, taking out garbage, cleaning closets -- with five kids she had an endless list of boredom cures. So we never said, "I'M BORED!" or we knew we'd be drafted for work patrol and may not escape for hours on end.