Pushed past the point of boredom

Sam the reluctant passenger, May 2007
Can't you just feel the errand joy?

Both of my daughters have music lessons on Thursdays. Sam, lucky lotto winner of the birth order, has been dragged to his sisters' lessons since he was a newborn. You would think that he would have adapted to this reality, would have grown up assuming that being lugged to listen to lessons was just par for the weekly course, especially since now he has lessons of his own (on Wednesdays, however). But no. Really. NO.

Something in his y chromosome (I theorize) rears its head and roars anytime we introduce the idea of going. I've tried lots of measures (read: bribery) to make it palatable: go for a snack during the lesson, to the library, to the bookstore, let him play with my cellphone games, my computer, encouraged coloring and writing and drawing. But, because it is framed by the fact that someone is MAKING HIM DO IT, even these activities are greeted with tepid reception at best.

Last week I was too exhausted to go and find something to do for the 30 minute lesson (plus I needed to multitask and get some of my mandatory books read). I simply parked the car, opened a book, and sat reading. There are stages of grief, stages of child development, stages of labor, sleep, cancer, pregnancy. For Sam, there are definite, clear stages of boredom. See if these sound familiar to you:

  • Growl/moaning: Boy-whining, I think you could call this. He starts doing a closed-mouth, gutteral moan that says "This isn't what I want to do right now." Also heard when I ask him to pick up his room. Or go back and scrub behind his ears this time. 5 minutes.
  • Fidgetiness: Crawling up to the front seat, and back. Opening and closing the glove compartment, flipping through books and slamming them. The boy is making attempts at finding something to do but they are half hearted. 5 minutes.
  • Flailing: Flopping around in an exaggerated way, sighing. This stage is intended to get parent to come to his aid or at least pay attention. 2 minutes, because he is asked to stop.
  • Complaining: Notice the delay of actual words until the 4th stage. This is because he is a boy. For girls (at least in our family), this stage comes first and is more prolonged. 5+ minutes.
  • Breakthrough!: Having pushed through the pain, boy suddenly decides to find something to do. Clearly the parent is not going to help. He gets out of the car, goes over to the grass, and spends the rest of the time looking at the clouds, humming, making up stories, picking the grass and studying it. It did my heart good to look over and see him, elbows out, hands behind his head, stretched out on the grass. Wish I had my camera with me...my own little boy blue.
However, it'd be nice if next time he takes a shorter route to the sunny side of boredom...