This is an account of something that happened to me almost two years ago when trying to organize our first spring break camp and I was still doing the flyers.
You know when your mind is racing with a million and one things to do and its cold outside plus you were just outside. Your 2 year old just went down for a nap, you think to yourself: “this is awesome I might actually be able to do some work”. After all, I have started a non- profit and there is so much to be done prior to our next event. My husband sits on the couch and inevitably after two minutes is snoring, with his hat covering his eyes. His coat is still draped over the chair and there is so much to be done in the house, but the baby is finally sleeping, and I could work.
I’d expect my five-year-old to be able to play on his own for 20 minutes while I finish this one invite to our Spring Break Camp. I expect it maybe more than others since I believe whole heartedly that my son has had endless opportunities for self- directed play, knows where all the loose parts are and can easily create whatever he likes with the endless materials that I keep on hand. However, instead I got the drone voice. You all know it! it sounds something like a frog eating a lawn mower, and it goes in repeat: “I’m bored, I want someone to play with me.”
As I am against using TV or other screens as a babysitter (unless sick) I say: I need you to play alone for a little while and then I will come and join you”. That didn’t work and the endless frog eating mower continued. Besides, being bored is good for kids. As I do not want to give precedence to this kind of "behavior" I decide to try to ignore it as I continue to work out the correct size on the damn invite to fit into a certain spot on our website, so the words won’t be cut off. Besides the fact that the invite looks like a child of 10 could have done it, I begin to feel incompetent and extremely annoyed. I assume the frog eating mower didn’t help: “I’m bored... ehh ehhh ehhh ehhh…”. I stop and try to offer some ideas about what he can do but he is relentless: “I want you or someone (meaning dad) to play with me.” Of course now there is the understanding that one, I will not finish getting my invite on my website right now and two, the perseverance of a bored five year old might win. So I stop and I say:” Ok we will play for 20 minutes (amateur mistake- never add a time because they will negotiate) and then you will continue on your own.” The answer: “NO! 30 minutes”. I was about to continue the hostile negotiations when I was saved by the bell. My phone rang offering my son a play date at the climbing wall. My husband wakes up and they leave within 20 minutes. I go back to the computer to finish the invite when I hear: “Mama, mama, dad, dad”. My work was again on hold only to be finished later that evening when I managed the sizing within minutes.