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Break day boredom blues

January 5, 2009

by Jen Bakken

As you read this column, children in the Delano area will be returning to school, and may I say – thank goodness! we

My children have spent their winter vacation singing the break day boredom blues.

Initially, the kids couldn’t believe I had to work. “It’s winter vacation. There’s no school,” they said. “Why would you have to go to work?”

They couldn’t understand why parents don’t get break days, yet I’m actually glad I didn’t. Going to work gave me a much-needed “break” from the chaos at home.

You would think with all the new books, games and toys opened over Christmas that they would have plenty of things to do. You would think that at 11 years old and 8 years old, they could entertain themselves for long periods of time.

Yet, they still complained of having nothing to do. While I came up with endless suggestions, they continued to shoot them down with, “I don’t wanna do that.” Or, “I already did that.”

My 18-year-old has been home from college, and he surely hasn’t had any trouble finding something to do. His list of activities have included eating, hanging out with friends, sleeping in until noon, and more eating.

I must thank Bob and Marsha Silhacek of Delano for providing the perfect hangout for my son and many others during winter break. At least I’m not hearing the break day boredom blues from him, as well. Hopefully, he picks up after himself at their house better than he does at mine. (Yes, Bradey, that is a very clear hint.)

Along with the boredom came the arguing and bickering. It was as though fighting with each other was the only thing they could think of to do.

I’m convinced the only thing that kept them from actually injuring each other was eating every stitch of food they could get their little hands on and making messes everywhere.

One day, we were playing the board game Pictionary Jr., and I was the person designated to draw pictures for them to guess a word. They weren’t impressed with my artistic abilities and finally gave up.

“Oh geez, I can’t even tell what that is, mom – I give up, you win.” Then we moved to the game Sorry. Did you know this game could last an agonizing 56 minutes?

We played a stacking game in which you stack wooden blocks, then take turns removing them until the tower falls over. This was fun until about the 10th time the tower had to be rebuilt and we all called it quits.

My 11-year-old decided annoying mom was a much better game. Of course, to him, it was more fun because he was a winner every time.

He would follow me around, repeat himself over and over, and make sarcastic comments about everything. Finally I told him, “Knock it off. I am not amused!”

He asked me what that meant and I told him I didn’t think he was being funny.

“I’m not trying to be funny right now,” he quickly responded. “I really don’t know what you mean by you’re not amused.”

He was serious and I couldn’t help but laugh while trying to explain this. Once I had enough of hearing there was nothing to do, I began giving out chores. Boy, did I show them.

“Oh you need something to do?” I’d say. “OK, take the garbage out, put these dishes in the dishwasher, clean your room, and when you are done with that, come back and I will tell you what to do next.”

Needless to say, it was quite a while before I saw them again.

I will be better prepared when spring break rolls around. There will be schedules, lists, chores, and their days all planned out for them.

I will teach them that sometimes it’s nice to have nothing to do. Maybe they will even go to bed early out of sheer exhaustion. My plan is to leave them begging to sing the break day boredom blues!