Not Bored Anymore

Well, it feels like it’s been several weeks since I last sat down to write, though in truth, it’s only been four days. I feel like I’ve crammed in enough activity in the past week and a half to fill at least one month. If someone were to ask how I was doing, the answer would be Tired. 

 

But it’s a good tired. It’s the tired at the end of a really good workout. The tired after completing some humongous task. It’s the feeling of knowing that you have worked really hard and now you deserve some rest. 

 

Introducing new kids into the family is very similar to having a newborn baby, minus the nursing problems. Our schedules have been tilted, everyone is in a transition mode. There’s excitement, and irritation, and 24hr-a-day parenting. 

 

The first day we got our new kids, that night, my husband hugged me tight, grinned at me, and said, “You know you’re crazy right?” I thought about that for a whole day then confronted him the next night, “If I’m crazy, what does that make you?” He said, “Oh, I’m crazy too.” Apparently we are well-matched. 

 

So, I know this is going to sound weird, but adding these kids to our family has added a lot to my life. I have to admit, I was getting a little bored. Our family was on cruise-control and while parenting is always challenging, there was nothing new or unexpected. I felt very much like I was treading water, trying to figure out how to challenge myself. Maybe I could figure out how to take on more piano students? 

 

Well, I do not feel bored any more. 

 

It makes me think about how God knows best. It seems that he has created us to enjoy change. We have the four seasons, or in other parts of the world, rainy seasons, dry seasons, stormy seasons. We mark time by how the weather changes. We have various holidays and festivities marked out to happen throughout the year, and we are constantly looking forward to these changes. I can’t wait for spring to come! Valentine’s Day is coming up soon! I can’t wait for next fall! 

 

It’s kind of strange that we live in a state of constant change, but we also crave the familiar, the comfortable, our safety zones. The two don’t seem to go together. 

 

I know that when we start getting close to Thanksgiving and Christmas and New Years, there is a feeling of excitement and anticipation. I feel more alive and energetic, just awaiting all the festivities. I also know that when my comfort zone gets shaken up I feel more alive and purposeful. There is more zing in my step. 

 

I wrote in another blog, quite a while ago, about The Prayer of Jabez. How it was all about asking God to increase our boundaries, increase our area of influence. And I never liked that prayer. I never had any desire to make my boundaries any bigger than they are right now…thank you very much. So, recently my boundaries have suddenly increased. And I find myself happy about it. Feeling alive and useful. And thankful. Thankful that God knows a lot better than me what I can and can’t do. Thankful that he was willing to shake me out of my comfort zone. 

 

So, yes, I am tired. But I’m also not bored.

 

Boredom is a Wonderful Thing

I read somewhere that boredom is essential to fostering children’s imaginations. It’s only when they are bored that they are then forced to come up with their own entertainment. They are forced to start using their imaginations. This past Friday I turned off the wifi at our house. I had several reasons, but one of them was to help my children foster their imagination. No more instant entertainment from a screen. Use your imagination.

So, obviously, I have set myself up for some trouble. Have you ever had a houseful of children all using their imaginations? It’s a dangerous thing. Using your imagination means taking your helium balloon (leftover from the graduation party) and letting it loose into the ceiling fan. (I just wanted to see what would happen!). It means taking a crayon and writing out a Yes/No quiz on the wall by the toilet. (I suppose so that people who are using the bathroom will have something to do?) Today one child took a bunch of our socks and gloves and made sock animals for all his siblings. (Who needs socks, after all, it’s summer.) It also means taking the hose and spraying it all over a pile of dirt so you can have a good mud hole to play in.  And while we’re at it, lets take these old bricks and stack them on the porch in a rectangle-box shape, and then try and fill it up with water, our very own swimming pool!

Of course, my kids have been doing these things all along, with or without wifi, it just seems that they now have even more time to devote their energies to these great ideas, instead of it being a once-in-a-while activity. And it makes me happy. Yeah, we’re going through a bit of an adjustment phase while we work out a new schedule. There’s been some whining because we’re not turning on some shows…but, I’m already seeing good fruit. Like the whole herd of children all running outside in the evening to catch fireflies. My teens gathering around a laptop to watch an old dvd together. (Still a screen, but at least they are doing it in community!) Little children are coming up to me with books they want me to read them. My older kids are delving into new book series. Boredom is a wonderful thing.

I myself have been experiencing boredom a bit more. It’s led me to start reading my Bible in the morning again, play the piano more, start thinking about some cleaning projects I need to tackle, pray more, listen to my kids a bit better. Boredom seems to have a roundabout way of making life feel sharper, more in focus. And yes, we do have plenty of fun things planned for this summer, there’s just going to also be lots of downtime.

So, my summer blessing…May we plenty of time to be bored and may that boredom lead us to great feats of creativity!

 

Boredom With a Bit of Yoga Thrown In

“Here’s what I’ve learned about raising boys… if you keep ’em busy, they’re fine. You let ’em get bored, they’ll dismantle your house board by board.”

                                                                                                 Kenny Rogers

I saw this quote the other day. It was timely for the kind of day I was having. Now that all my kids are back in school, I am home alone with my 2 little boys, almost 4 yrs old, and 21 months old. I’m still trying to get us into a good routine, but usually I at least try to keep things moving. We all work together and get chores done in the morning. (Ok, I move around doing chores and they follow me, staying in a 2 foot radius at all times). We go outside and play in the yard. A couple times a week I try to load them up in a stroller and we go for a long walk. We have a couple activities we attend once a week where they get to be in a nursery/preschool setting. It’s not a super-busy schedule but it’s busy enough.

This week I have had a horrible cough/cold. The kind that keeps you up all night coughing and completely drains all your energy. It’s also been raining this week. I cancelled all our activities that we usually attend (not going to share this cold with anyone). It is raining so we can’t go out in the yard, and I do not have the energy to take any long walks. Cue boredom.  I have 2 little boys running around the house, trying to amuse themselves. I sit in a chair with a pile of tissues and try to play referee. We start off in my bedroom:

NO, don’t play on my dresser, put down the jewelry box and climb back down off of there!

No, don’t take all my shoes out of the closet.

DO NOT HIT your brother with the toy phone!

Stop trying to play with my computer!

Why did you just pull all the blankets off my bed?

 

I get desperate and I find their 2 big rubber balls: Here! Play with these….

 

No, stop throwing the ball in your brother’s face.

No, DO NOT throw the ball in my face. You will never see the ball again if you throw it in my face!

Stop throwing the balls at the windows, you’re going to break something.

LOOK what you just Did! No more balls.

 

I decided to relocate. Let’s go play in the living room…

 

No, we’re not going to put on a tv show, we already watched one.

No, don’t take all the books off the bookshelf, I just organized that bookshelf! All the little kids books are on the bookshelf upstairs, go upstairs and get your books! Do you want me to read you a book?? No? Ok..

Get off the fishtank. We don’t climb on the fishtank…ever..I think I have already told you this..

Here, here’s some matchbox cars! Play with your matchbox cars!

No, wait, we don’t throw matchbox cars. We only throw balls! (my voice fades out as I remember that I just took away the balls).

Look, just roll the cars across the floor..yeah, like that! No, wait, don’t roll the car on me. I’m not a road.. Roll it on the floor!

No wait, the red car is for you, the blue car is for him…. Do not take his car from him!

Do you want to trade cars? No? Well, you can’t have both cars, you have to share…

 

Ok, time to relocate.

Upstairs to the boy’s bedroom. Full of toys, childproof, there’s a comfy chair up there I can sit in. We get settled in upstairs, boys are enthusiastically playing with their toys and I have this great idea. I’ve been reading this book that teaches a simple yoga-type workout. I want to do these workouts in the morning, but I need to do a practice run so I can figure out what I’m doing first. Why not practice here in the boy’s room while they are happily playing??

Ok. So, I have the book on my kindle app on my phone so I’m holding my phone, squinting at the screen. Breathing. It’s all about breathing. Breathe in through your nose, fill up your tummy with air, breathe out through your nose, push your stomach back to your spine..Got it. (Did I mention I have a bad cold?) Ok. I’m definitely going to need some tissue before I attempt this.. Squint at the screen.. It says to do some practice breathes. I do some practice breathes. They are rather noisy. The little boys look up and stare at me trying to figure out why I’m suddenly pretending to be an elephant. The almost 4 yr old asks uncertainly, “What are you doing?” Just exercising. Leave me alone. Keep playing.

Squint at screen again. Ok. I’m supposed to raise my arms up in the air while I breathe in and then lower them while I breathe out. Got it. (Sounds easy right? Apparently coordination is not my strong point and it takes several attempts before I get it right.) The little boys have stopped playing and have now moved closer to me, staring at me with concern. Squint at screen again. Ok, I’m supposed to bend all the way over and touch the floor and stay in that position while I do 5 breathes. Got it. I bend over. This is definitely not as easy at it looks. I am focusing really hard on trying to get my breathes rights…I feel little hands grab hold of my feet. All the blood has rushed to my head. I turn a little bit and find myself face to face with the 21 month old who now looks like he’s about to cry. Mama?

It’s ok sweetie. I’m just doing yoga. Exercise. Mommy is fine.. Oh wait, I’m breathing, not supposed to be talking. I’m still bent in half but I can’t remember what comes next. Straighten up very slowly, grab phone, squint at phone for next direction. Oh. Ok. Apparently I’m supposed to do some breathing while I straighten up and then go into this new position where my knees are bent in a squat and I’m reaching forward… Right… Ok…(Did I mention my current athletic abilities are at level 0?)  Modify. They said to modify.. Ummm.

Now the 21 month old has wrapped himself around my legs and begun a mantra of mama, mama, mama, mama, mama, mama…you get the point.. Wait sweetie, I’ve got to bend down again and try this again. Squint at phone one more time, set phone down and bend in half again. Oh shoot. I forgot to breathe. Stand back up, breath in (through the nose! I think I need another tissue..) and bend over. I’m now face to face with the baby again. He takes the opportunity to grab hold of my head. I forget to breathe out (stomach pulled into the backbone!) while I yell at the baby to let go of my hair. The 4 yr old decides to join the circus and comes and stands next to me, bends over as well so that we all have our heads at the same level. He looks concerned.  Ok. Forget it. I’m not going to exercise.

I disentangle myself and go sit down in the chair again. Look out the window. It’s still raining. I’m still coughing. Not sure if the house or my sanity will be intact by the end of the day.