We’ll be getting ready to go on vacation soon and thank the stars! I have two of the most bored kids ever living in my house. This week away promises a reprieve to the day after day of being able to do almost anything they want (the horror). It is almost the end of July and we have not yet been to the coast, it’s true. I have been somewhat envious of the status updates being posted to my Facebook of friends on their day trips to the beach, with or without kiddos. That being said, I am only somewhat envious because I do not love New England beaches. Yes, they are pretty in pictures with their lighthouses and seagrass, but they feel horrible in the actual water. The Atlantic Ocean is the coldest, murkiest ocean imaginable. If you can get in up to your bellybutton before dying of hypothermia, consider yourself lucky. It is not refreshing, it’s tortuous (to me).
When I entered the Pacific Ocean waters of Oahu, Hawaii, I was instantly spoiled. This is what ocean water should feel like, I thought to myself–I knew something good existed. All those sea turtles and dolphins and whales couldn’t be wrong, right? Then I felt the beautiful gulf coast water, and I knew heaven exists and that God is good. I cannot explain how much I am looking forward to visiting that coast again soon.
But back to the kids. We are kind of protective of our boys. We live close to a big park, but we also live very close to one of the most dangerous cities in the Unites States, and this park borders that city. There are shootings every night, and I wish I was over-exaggerating, but sadly I am not. We have lived in this house for less than a year now, and I guess we didn’t take into consideration that we weren’t going to allow them to visit this park unsupervised when we purchased a home with a pretty small backyard.
If I get asked “So what can I do?” one more time this summer, we’re going to have problems. My child specifically, whenever a hand-held screen is removed from his possession, is likely to ask this question within the next 60 seconds. He also will probably tell you how bored he is now. No, son. It takes a lot more than 60 seconds to get bored. You are not allowed to be bored until you after you have spent hours playing with everything you own at least once.
I lived on a short street growing up. I remember riding my bicycle up and down that short street. I remember digging for worms. What for? No clue. I don’t know what I was planning on doing with the worms, but they didn’t stay put under the turned-over pail I kept them in on the grass, anyway. I laid in the grass and watched clouds go by. I played “Cars” where I would sit on the front stoop and try to guess the color of the next car that would pass by. I would get a point every time I was right. I also used up reams up paper on drawings. I liked to draw and color and this would amuse me for hours. I am young enough to have had a game system growing up (Nintendo), but it wouldn’t consume me. Yes, my sister and I would go through spurts of time when that was all we wanted to do. But it wouldn’t last forever and we would be back outside, either in the snow or the sun, stretching our legs and throwing softballs at each other.
My son has the same outside available to him, but he doesn’t want to do anything except play video games with the occasional break to get in our swimming pool, if it is nice out. We have our own freaking swimming pool, you guys. He does love swimming, I will give him that. But he loves his games more. He might love his games more than me, and this kid loves his mother, let me tell you. And since I have a 6 week old baby who keeps me busy feeding her around the clock, I am useless to help them. The only reason I am typing this right now is because her father took her out of the house for a couple of hours. I am watching the clock just to make sure I leave myself enough time to take a shower and get dressed before the baby comes back and needs my nipples again.
It just seems stupid that we have to fly 8 states away in order for the kids to have something to do. We have to take them to an ice rink. Let them have a friend over or go over a friend’s house. We have spoiled freaking kids. We did what we said we would never do. They don’t have simple lives. I wonder all the time if my son is going to be able to look back on his childhood as a simple time, and be able to tell his kids the free ways he had fun growing up. I don’t think so. I think he is going to remember having to be driven out of our neighborhood to a park or playground or a lake in order to have any simple fun. And we do that–but this summer has been hard with a new baby who requires oxygen support.
So we’ll see how vacation goes. We are planning on taking the hand-helds away once we de-plane so we can just enjoy each other. Should I take a tally of how many “what can I do’s?” when we get in the car without electronics?