I Think I Bore My Kid. . .And is That OK?

The past two weeks Mac has taken a bunch of major steps on the road to toddler-hood.  He’s sitting up all by himself.  He’s really into play time.  He’s nearly ready to crawl.  He feeds himself much more competently.  He feeds the dog much more competently.  Mass quantities of slimy avocado last evening at dinner. . .which was beyond disgusting I might add.

The disturbing thing about all this “progress” is I wonder if I’m boring the hell out of him.  He doesn’t have a ton of toys – which I still think is fine.  He happily plays with whatever is in front of him nasty sneakers, onion skin, and a used sock most recently.  He loves reading and I do everything I can to encourage that while simultaneously discouraging his apparent love of eating paper.  We have been spending a lot of time outdoors walking around checking things out since the weather has been wonderful. . .

But am I doing the right stuff?  Is he getting an appropriate amount of stimulation to ensure his continued development?  Swear I’m not just asking this because I caught him eating a piece of dog kibble off the floor this morning while I was unloading the dish washer.  In his defense, the dog food does resemble Cheerios.  

I’m curious how much play and activity is too much and what’s too little?  Not just for a 9 month old. . .even for a 9-year-old?  I think children should have quiet time.  But I also remember saying “I’m bored” about 800 times a day when I was a kid.  Granted, probably 60% of the time what I should have been saying was “I’m too lazy to think up something to do that doesn’t involve getting sent to my damned room for time out.”

I don’t think my parents were overly concerned about this sort of thing.  My Mother did very cool things like teach us how to use acrylic paint and watercolors, and sew doll clothes and took us swimming all the time.  Yet, riding a tricycle and beating one another with sticks for 5 hours was still an acceptable play date.

I get the sense there’s a tremendous amount of pressure on parents these days to provide structure and learning and crazy assed play dates where toddlers are served sandwiches styled to look like some kinda’ gawdamned palm tree or something.  Don’t even get me started on the preschool admissions process in our area.  Preschool!!  

Do we really need to be gluing pom poms and popsicle sticks to the kitchen counter every waking minute?  Is it acceptable to just sit by the water and watch the ducks without the pressure of mastering the pincher grip or multiplication?

How do I make sure my child finds balance without being bored as hell?  How do you especially with summer coming?

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9 thoughts on “I Think I Bore My Kid. . .And is That OK?

  1. Oh, I know exactly what you are talking about.
    I agree that children need quiet time. That’s especially true for our little girl, who at some point does get overwhelmed by too much action and toys. I also want her to learn to entertain herself and use her own imagination.
    At the same time, I sometimes feel that she is bored. But I don’t think “projects” and structured play are the answer. I read books to/with her and I play with her and then let her go on by herself.
    I also think walks in the park are a great way for little ones to learn and get some quiet time.
    But I agree that it is hard to find the right balance. I guess, we can only do our best and see what works.

    • Exactly! I Mac to learn how to amuse himself and have quiet time to use his imagination. It’s probably going to be a continual battle the older he gets and the more things vie for his attention: electronics, friends, sports, clubs, etc. Of course, by that time, maybe he will have stopped sampling pet food. Ha!

  2. You are doing fabulous! Why over think things? We’ve been playing, eating and bathing dirt for years and we’re still alive 🙂

    PS -You are such a ridiculously talented writer!

    • God made dirt so dirt can’t hurt right?! Thank you for the kind words regarding my writing. You never know how something will speak to someone. This was a quick post to write but appears to be more interesting to folks than some posts I’ve spent much more time carefully drafting and like better personally.

  3. Oh, you’re doing it right! Babies are fascinated by the most ordinary, everyday things. Why would we mess with that?? I wrote a post (http://wp.me/p2bjD8-60) about how I don’t really want my daughter playing with all these crazy new toys they make with lights and sounds and movement: it’s too much! If she’s content to sit and look at a can in my cupboard, why would I try to entertain her. I just figure, to them, everything is new and exciting. I’m going with it for now!

    Evanthia of merelymothers

    • Evanthia, WHEW! Mac has pretty simple toys too. I also didn’t really understand the need for mounds of plastic for such a little fellow. I’m sure we will be over-run with Legos before I know it though! I thought the merelymothers post with the top free apps for parents earlier this week was fantastic. I’d like to give you guys a shout out in a future post. Just have to get my thoughts in order.

  4. I remember when my son was little(er) I used to stress out that I wasn’t focusing on him enough – I wasn’t reading to him enough, we weren’t painting often enough, I wasn’t kicking the ball with him enough. The thought of missing out on some sort of mysterious window worried me silly. I thought, my God, this kid is going to end up in Special-Ed (not that there’s anything wrong with needing a little extra help but…) all because I didn’t work with him enough. Now that he’s three and a typical little dude, I can see that he’s going to draw what he needs out of everything – it’s not just coming from me. What a relief! And this knowledge couldn’t have come at a better time – I hardly spend any time with my almost nine month old and she’s developing fine as well. She’s practically raising herself. I’m kidding, of course. The point is that I just don’t sweat it this go around. And you shouldn’t either (regardless of what the books and magazines tell you).

    • 4 eyedblonde – You crack me up! Thanks for letting me know it will be ok. 🙂 I now feel confident Mac will learn something valuable from eating clumps of dog hair off the floor. Ha!

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