Written By: Kathy Glow @ Kissing the Frog
Thank goodness the triple-digit heat is finally over here in Nebraska (and here’s hoping it doesn’t return for a long while). There were many days the last couple weeks that my boys just didn’t feel like doing anything.
Except sit and watch t.v. And fight. And play video games. And fight. And build Legos. And fight.
You get the picture.
I guess I thought when I had kids, life would be one endless board game/craft session/holiday project/organized backyard game/happy Fisher Price commercial.
All my years of being a teacher and subscribing to parenting magazines left me with the idea that the kids and I would never be bored. We have a house full of toys, shelves full of books and puzzles, and two carts filled to the brim with crayons, markers, paint, paper, and craft supplies.
But it seems as though every time I think of a project for the boys and I to complete, I’m met with groans of, “I don’t wanna do that!” or “That sounds boring!”
And I’m left to wonder: Is it because they’re boys?
I used to love playing school when I was little. I would sit at the school desk in our basement for hours writing on the chalk board, coloring, and “teaching” anyone I could, be it my brother and sister, neighbors, or – in a pinch – my Barbie dolls and stuffed animals.
When the boys were little, they all took art class at Gymboree, and every chance I got, I would pull out crayons and paper for them to scribble on.
Now it’s a chore just to get them to sign someone’s birthday card.
I know that boys are more physical than cerebral. I know they need opportunities to run and jump and climb and wrestle, and believe me, we do plenty of that! But I wonder why it is so difficult to get them to sit and do a simple craft.
Perhaps I’m trying to force them to like something they just don’t. Or, a more likely scenario is that maybe my patience for four little boys doing crafts is not as strong as it should be.
Last week, after umpteen days of extreme heat, I was grasping desperately at straws. I decided it would be fun to play outside in the sprinkler and make ice cream in a bag!
I’ve read about this project many times. Super easy, and all it takes is ice, rock salt, vanilla, sugar, half and half and whole milk or cream. The boys could jump and shake and wiggle with the bags, and would be granted immediate gratification by eating the ice cream right away.
I thought it was perfect!
The ingredients were carefully dumped and the bags were tightly sealed.
The shaking and wiggling and giggling began.
The potholders were needed because it was so cold!!
At first it was really fun. And then it became just a mess. And then a couple of the boys got bored and upset that their ice cream didn’t turn out as good as someone else’s. Finally, the project was abandoned, boys went willy-nilly all over the yard and house, and I was left to clean up the mess.
As I put all the ingredients away, I thought of an anniversary card I had received from my friend. Her daughter had drawn the picture and took time to cut and paste cute images for a generic card that her mom could use to send her friends.
I’ll bet that one afternoon, they sat and made a stack of cards together. How nice, I thought, but that would never happen here.
I imagine houses full of girls to be quiet, neatly organized and clean, crafts and artwork adorning the shelves and walls.
It’s not for lack of trying at my house; although, it may be for lack of patience – both the boys’ and mine.
Do you do crafts and projects at your house? Do you find boys or girls like them better? Or does it just have to do with a parent’s patience?