My children do not know how to play alone. That's not true--Addison is the youngest and she could play alone for hours. It's the other two. ANY TIME I send them anywhere away from me, they report back to me within five minutes.
"Mommy--there is nothing to do." "Brayden--Santa is still up in the air somewhere, and you are ALREADY over your new toys? Really? REALLY?!"
"No--but there isn't anything to DO."
SERIOUSLY? Dollar signs start flashing around my brain only to be replaced by the mom-rage and "Those ungrateful..." musings that visit me so frequently.
If you can't find something to do, I will FIND YOU something to do!" I know this is an old one. I know parents have said it for centuries, but I couldn't help myself. The problem is, that WORKED on us--we knew that our parents would give us something HORRIBLE to do, so we made ourselves scarce, if only for an hour. THIS is how I know my children are spoiled.
"Okay, mommy--what should we do?"
"Fine--first, you can bring these piles of laundry upstairs and put them in your drawers."
"But why do we have to do that?"
"Because FIRST of all, they are YOUR clothes and you should be putting them away anyway, but SECOND of all, you ASKED me to find you something to do--I didn't say you were going to like it!"
"FIIIIINE. We'll FIND something to do."
Here's where it gets tricky--on some days, I am so annoyed that they are so spoiled and mouthy that I continue the battle for the entire day--forcing them to clean up laundry, toys, dishes (which translated means that I clean up these things with them following me around and whining about having to do it), but on others I say, "Great. I do not want to see you for AT LEAST fifteen minutes unless someone is bleeding. And not the kind of blood that doesn't move on your skin--the kind of blood that's of the picked-scab variety. I'm talking about the kind of blood that makes you think we need an ER. THEN and ONLY THEN you may report to me."
Thirty-seconds later: "Mommy--Ryan won't let me use the pirate costume."
"I don't care."
"That's nice--you don't even CARE about us--you just want to work on your COMPUTER all the time!"
"Mommy...can we have..."
"NO. GO PLAY."
"...but we NEED..."
"All you need are the MILLIONS of toys you have in your PLAY ROOM. Do you know that A LOT of children do not HAVE play rooms? You have an entire LEVEL of a house devoted to YOU and your play things, yet you seem to "NEED" everything else. GO PLAY."
[Almost] Two minutes later (yes--I time it now):
"Mommy--we are going to put on ALL the costumes and then we are going to pretend--"
"Now you are telling me what you are GOING to do? Why don't you DO it and then tell me how much fun you had?!"
"But I'm just telling you that--"
"Don't tell me--ANYTHING. Just DO."
"I know, I just wanted you to know that--"
"[Exasperated sigh] FIIIINNNE!"
I hear them going back and forth down there. It has been about three minutes now--a record, yet the littlest one is squeaking about something that sounds like it could end in her showing her face up here. I was close--she hops up the stairs to not only show me her face--but to show me her ENTIRE NAKED BODY. No words...
"I just didn't feewel comfowrtabewell in my undewerpants, Momma. now I'm NUDIE--and I need cwothes!" she hops her naked butt up the stairs to her room, singing Christmas carols and (is that Britney?) as she hops. Hearing a (young) five-year-old sing Britney Spears as she naked(ly?) hops around the house is disturbing if not funny. it seems three minutes is their limit. Or maybe it's MINE.
Here come the other two--I'm waving the white flag. Right after I give the lecture about how many toys they have that they can't be bothered to play with and how they WILL NOT play with ANYTHING that requires an electrical outlet or a battery until they learn how to play with actual toys AND each other. I'm selling it all on ebay and buying a yacht. I'm going to call my yacht "Sans Children" and I am going to sail it out to the middle of the sea where inevitably my cell phone will ring (or the Coast Guard will find me) and I will inform my children (AND the Coast Guard) that I have NOTHING to do and NOTHING to play with and I LOVE it.
Interview With Jeff Kreisler of PeopleScience
2 months ago