Tuesday, February 3, 2009

A Solution to Boredom

Are you bored? Life gotten a little dull lately? Too much same ol' same ol'? Tired of picking up a shoe and finding absolutely nothing hidden inside?
May I suggest, a TODDLER. Take MY toddler, for example (take him... please!). He is possibly the best solution to ennui ever conceived (wait - that pun was unintended, I SWEAR). Every so often, you have one of those days where you just have to throw up your hands and say, "Well hey, I'm NOT BORED!"
There was a day last September when Kittyboy was dead set on dismantling the house for fun. I was trying to set up my laptop to play music for him, when he started shaking his cup upside down (it takes work to spill thickened liquid, but that's only a challenge, not a deterrent!). I set down the laptop, took the cup, put it in the fridge, and when I came back, something had been opened on the laptop, I didn't know what, and gibberish had been typed in it. While I was trying to figure out what the heck he'd done and whether he'd done any damage, he went over to the table, grabbed my FULL mug of coffee I hadn't even gotten to yet (but it had cooled a great deal) and poured it all over himself. And the cream-colored carpet. I ran over shrieking "No, no, no!" and started blotting it up, because we already have so many stains, and heard the pantry door in the kitchen open, and the distinctive sound of cheerios being dumped. Ran to the kitchen. Complete, barely started, 14 ounce box of Cheerios, upside down on the kitchen floor. He was skating in them. Did you know you can ice skate on cheerios on linoleum? You can! I sat on the couch laughing (better than crying!), grabbed the phone, and was telling my mom, "HE'S YOURS. COME GET HIM!" when he discovered another fun Cheerio game. He grabbed two big fistfuls, ran to the far doorway, and flung them down the hall. What a lovely rattly noise! We had to do that again! And again! He had so much fun. It was like his bean-rice box, only on the floor! He put the cheerios in mixing bowls, plastic lids, whatever he could reach, poured them out again, poured them into other containers, it was so funny. I decided to just sacrifice the cereal, let him play, and vacuum later. Come to find, a Tristar vaccuum CAN pick up an entire box of cheerios before you need to empty the bag.
Better to laugh than cry. And hey, I was NOT bored.
So, Monday was another "gee, at least I'm not bored" day.
First, I decided to let Kittyboy "help" with our worm bin. I have probably a hundred or so red wigglers (all named Fred) in a bin in the kitchen who consume our compostable waste during the winter, and their home desperately needed to be cleaned out. (info on vermicomposting here) So anyhow, I had my shredded newspaper, bowl of water for dampening the paper, and the cat litter bucket into which the worms were being moved. I didn't want him touching the waste I was removing, or the worms, lest he consider them spaghetti, but I figured he could put paper in water without causing too much of a mess. That was fun! That was lots of fun! Until he wanted to pour the contents of his bowl into the worms' new bin. NO! So I showed him how to squeeze out the paper and put THAT in instead. Then that was so much fun, he had to take it back out to splash it around in the water again. Every so often I had to check the water for a hapless Fred or two who were thrashing about, crying, "Noooooooo! We can't swiiiiiiim! Or breeeeaaathe! We have no giiiiiiillllls!" By the time I gave up and just dumped what was left in the old container into the new one, my floor had been thoroughly puddled by muddy water and newsprint.
So then later we gave sitting on his potty chair a try. I'm been trying to put him on it and then run water while he plays with a toy in a container of warm water. The toy I picked up was one of those fish you squeeze to fill with water and then squirt, but he hadn't figured that part of it out yet. No success with going, but he wanted to keep playing with his fishie in the water. Okay, it was keeping him quiet and occupied (you'd be amazed what you'll permit if it keeps the two-year-old quiet and occupied) I told him to keep it in the container (famous last words). He was sitting on the floor in the family room pushing the fish around in the water, then he picked it up and squeezed it. What an exciting moment of serendipity when it shot water across the room! Wow! That was COOL! And as I laughed hysterically, he put the fish right back in the water, pushed on its tummy, said, "BUH BUH!" (bubbles), and took it out and squirted again! Wow! Again and again! Bubbles! And it squirts water! How cool! And just when I had gained enough composure to say, "Let's go play in the bathroom now," he squeezed it facing the wrong direction and shot water square in his face. So much for composure - and my ability to breathe - as he sat there surprised and blinking with water dripping from his eyelashes. Then he had to do THAT again and again. I moved him into the kitchen, with its non-carpeted floor, just in time for him to decide to examine the bottom of the container - and express toddlery surprise when turning the container upside down dumped all the water out! Wow! Who knew THAT would happen? Obviously not him! He looked in the container (you never know, maybe some had stayed in), he looked at the floor, and he looked at his fish. He put the fish back in the container, rattled it around in there, and still no water. At this point I was once more incapacitated with giggles, as he tried to play with his fish in the puddle on the floor, and tried to put the water back in the container (both attempts unsuccessful). So he brought me both fish and container, showed me it was empty, put the fish in, rattled it around (Look Mommy, my fishie has no water!) and put them in my lap. I remained, as I was, a giggling lump on the floor. So he repeated the process. Container, empty. Put fishie in - no water. Fishie needs water. Mommy, here is my container, get my fishie water! "Mm! Mm!" signing please. I told him, "No, I think we're done with water for today," and he took the container and fish back and walked off. I got up, went to the family room, he wasn't there. He was in the bathroom - remedying the water situation. Think, where can a toddler find water all on his own, at his height, readily available? As I shrieked "NONONONONO!" at a pitch normally reserved for dog whistles, he turned around from the toilet and brought me the container with water and fishie. "Buh buh!" He had taken initiative and solved his problem, and was quite proud of himself for having done so.
My life is many things. "Boring" is not one of them.


sharqi said...

That is so funny. Yes, never a dull moment. Water always held K's complete attention from toddlerhood on. Before we were trying to conserve water, we used to let her run the sink for hours, just to get a break from all that non-boredom. Water was coooooool.


Vered - MomGrind said...

Haha my kids are older - 7 and 9 - boredom is back. :)

Caeseria said...

Boredom now and then would be nice! Those lovely moments when he actually goes off to play in HIS ROOM - before you realize that he's moved a chair so that he can reach the top of the dresser and empty the scented baby oil. His room still smells somewhat like a brothel if the door's been closed for a while.