Posts Tagged ‘ bored ’

That Glazed-Over Stare Means You’re Learning

Tuesday, June 18th, 2013

2 years, 7 months.

Dear Jack,

Here’s a picture of you at the Nashville Zoo last Friday night during an animal show where you saw and learned about the Clouded Leopard.

You were lucky- Mommy and I let you stay up an hour past your bed time that night!

It was quite the spectacle for a 2 and a half year-old boy to witness, though that might not have been obvious to anyone sitting near us.

Seriously, check out the look on your face.

To me, you appear in this photo to be extremely bored or at least slightly sedated, as you munch on your goldfish crackers.

However, this is simply how you look when you are learning.

You have taught me that when you have that glazed-over look on your face and remain silent, you couldn’t be any more in tune with what’s going on. That’s simply you taking it all in.

About six months ago, I took you by the reptile aquarium/pet store near our house. You were expressionless the whole time.

Yet even now, when we drive by that place, you ask to go back to see the lizards and snakes.

Though you never look excited when I let you watch your favorite shows on Netflix, like All About Monster Trucks with Hard Hat Harry, you never smile… just that glazed-over stare.

Then, an hour later, you’ll be playing on the floor, imitating the monster truck mayhem you absorbed earlier.

So I’m no longer fooled into thinking you’re not learning or at least being entertained. I know you’re totally paying attention and anything I do or say during that time may and will be used against me.

Sure, you’ll smile and laugh while you play; when you’re the one creating. But you respect the process of being presented with education (and entertainment) so much, you take it extremely seriously.

Some might even say too seriously.

I just say you’re intense.




Add a Comment

May You Live In Interesting Times

Tuesday, February 19th, 2013

2 years, 3 months.

Dear Jack,

My biggest fear in life is not of public speaking or of heights; it’s that I’ll have to be bored for more than 30 minutes. Yes, that’s a giveaway sign that I’m part of Generation Y.

However, as long as I have you around, I don’t think that being bored will be a problem.

The clock does not generally seem to slow down when I am with you. You keep life interesting in your silly, weird, and challenging ways.

This morning I spent ten minutes wrestling you as you resisted me getting you dressed. I was actually sweating a little bit by the time we finally headed out the door. Seriously, you put up quite a fight.

While I generally don’t look forward to having to pin you down to get you dressed, it’s little things like that that keep life interesting.

I mean, the normal way to leave for work in the morning wouldn’t include such a physical and psychological challenge. But with you, it just might.

On the lighter side, your ideas of fun and passing time are much more different than mine.

For example, every night after your bath, you like to run into your closet and find a new treasure to carry to bed. Last night, it was a cow print cloth diaper.

This is especially funny to me because you never really wore your cloth diapers in the first place. But because you find entertainment in discovering random items stored in your closet, you selected the cow print cloth diaper.

I could tell you were slightly disappointed that your choice wasn’t as exciting as the one from the night before, which was one of your baby monitor speakers.

Even still, you committed to it. You did your best to convince yourself that you actually wanted to sleep with a cow print cloth diaper.

My life is not boring, thanks to you. Needless to say, I live in interesting times.





Add a Comment

Kids Have Wonderful Imaginations… Because They Have To!

Sunday, October 21st, 2012

23 months.

If I was ever convicted of a heinous crime, I would rather be executed than to have to live out the rest of my life in prison.

Because I don’t deal with boredom well at all… unless I have an outlet.

Granted, I’m pretty confident I won’t suddenly decide to become a serial killer any time soon, so I really don’t have anything to worry about.

Hi. I’m Nick Shell and this is my positive and upbeat blog about fatherhood.

For a minute there you may have felt like you were on the wrong channel or at least that I’ve been watching too much CSI or Shawshank Redemption.

Actually, that was my way of indirectly helping to remind us all for a minute what it was like to be bored as a kid.

To think of how my 23 month-old son has to remain strapped into a car seat for an hour each day…

How is he not bored out of his mind? I give him toys and books to occupy him, but those only help for so long.

In general, as a kid, you are dragged around by your parents, having to go wherever they take you, as you hope there will be something at least halfway interesting once you get there.

Our brains process loneliness as pain, as I learned from a National Geographic documentary on solitary confinement.

Often, loneliness and boredom go hand in hand.

So my theory is that children have to have good imaginations in order to survive childhood. It’s part of the process of growing stronger.

Tis the season for plentiful amounts of made-in-China Halloween toys.

Notice the Jack-o-lantern necklace Jack is wearing in the picture above.

He ran around the house this morning pretending it was shooting lasers, calling the sci-fi pumpkin weapon his “Orange Jake Ball.”

Evidently he forgot the word for pumpkin, but remembered that yesterday he painted pumpkins with his new friend Jake.

That’s a boy’s imagination alright.

And then there’s the rubber eyeball…

I made the mistake of letting him carry it upstairs with him during bath time. Needless to say, prying it out of his hand for bedtime was not an easy task:

“My eyeball!…”.

Jack was so excited this morning when we not only let him have some “fluffy” but also let him have his eyeball as part of the scenery.

This afternoon we walked to the community Fall Festival. Along the way, Jack found an Osage-Orange, also known as a hedge-apple.

Basically, it’s a strange brain-looking fruit that is inedible but is used in making insecticides.

Fortunately, Jack’s “yellow ball” along with his eyeball helped the two of us have a more legitimate presence in a social gathering where a good number of the people there were in Halloween costumes.

With his 2nd birthday coming up in a few weeks, I know he will be receiving some really cool Thomas & Friends die cast metal toys, because that’s what we’re getting for him.

But it’s good to know that even without real toys, Jack would manage just fine with a rubber eye ball, a pumpkin necklace, and a prehistoric fruit that looks like a brain.

Yes, kids have wonderful imaginations… because they have to!

That’s how they deal with living in a big, scary, unknown world.

Actually, that should give us adults every reason to keep our childlike imaginations.

I say that because I know, at least for me, the world I live in isn’t small, safe, or fully understandable.


Add a Comment

The Importance Of Being Bored, As A Parent

Wednesday, March 7th, 2012

15 months.

For my son, boredom is basically non-existent. He can find entertainment out of poking me in the eye. But for a parent, boredom is a rare, higher state of being; in other words, it’s basically nirvana.

Even when he is asleep, the dishes are done, lunches are packed, and emails are checked, there’s still some kind of necessary “wind-down” time that has to take place which probably involves half-way watching American Idol, while being pretty confident that Jessica Sanchez has already won it anyway.

Then I realize, “Hey, I could be sleeping right now.”

Sleep is the go-to activity when there is ever actually extra time left in the day. But in rare instances, it can even be possible as a parent to enter the much elusive state of boredom.

Last week, I had to go somewhere after dinner for about an hour; during the time of night my wife and I generally watch an episode or two of Lost together on Netflix streaming. When I walked in, I saw my wife on the couch, playing on Facebook.

With a curious smile on her face, she said, “While you were gone, I got bored.”

That was a big deal. I can’t remember the last time she said that to me. Was it before our son was born? Before she was even pregnant? I don’t know, but it’s been long enough for it to be a foreign concept.

Boredom doesn’t really happen in our house. But I really wouldn’t mind it happening more often.

It makes me think of the concept of disposable income. You have more of it before you have kids. But then it shrinks to the point that if you any cash somehow floating up from the budget, it’s hard to spend it on something other than paying off other bills or adding it into savings.

Similarly, the state of boredom rarely gets to be consumed as is. Instead, it often translates as “I really should be doing something productive with this window of free time.”

I almost laugh at the concept of having of me having hobby, unless it’s something I do during my lunch break at work. Because hobbies require free time; time during which I would otherwise be bored.

So today, I wish the blessing of boredom upon all parents who read this.

Unless this article itself made you bored. In that case, I revoke my blessing.

Add a Comment