As I write this, our household is nearing the moment in which the kids head back to school and my house is finally empty and quiet again for the first time in months. So, here I am, trying to get everything I can done before this delta variant (or any other of the variants) shuts down our schools again and we’re right back to the place it feels like we’ve been for the past 18 months where my kids are constantly in my office trying to convince me they should get more video game time.
Look, I get it. If you have more video games, you’re in my office far less, but then I have to deal with the absolute monster you become after because you apparently can’t handle more than 30 minutes of screen time before you become a little ball of rage who wants to destroy everything.
Cue the old man noises…
When I was a kid, I was allowed pretty much unfettered access to the tv for shows, video games, and then a whole lot of extra time on the computer after. And I would use it. I would sit in front of those screens for hours, letting my brain rot into a little pile of mush. But when I got done, it was usually because I was bored, and I would go off and do something else.
When my kids get done, it’s like they’ve been awoken from the worst nap of all time and they just want to go back to sleep, but refuse to do any actual sleeping, and then they just absolutely have no idea of what to do when it’s not screen time except scream and punch each other.
And I don’t know what to do about that.
Even more crazy to me is that they appear to not know what to do with themselves when the screens aren’t on.
My kids have no idea how to amuse themselves if it doesn’t involve a brightly shining LCD screen and somehow that makes me feel like I’ve failed as a parent. It’s not like I got training on self-amusement when I was a kid. I didn’t even have nearly the pile of toys these kids have. I had a bucket of action figures that I would drag around behind me and take into my sisters’ room to try and convince them to let my guys battle their Barbies. I had a bike that I would take around the neighborhood, or just ride in circles in my driveway. My kids take a whole ton of effort just to convince them that the sun is good for them, unless it’s to go across the street to the pool.
And I think that’s the part that’s most confusing to me. These kids will hang out outside for hours if I’m with them. They will happily hike through the forests, they will go fishing (with minimal whining when we’re not catching anything), and when we go camping, they will chitter away happily while we sit in the woods and wait for the fire to get hot enough to cook dinner. We have taken to trying to visit all the national parks and they will explore every inch of those places they can until we run out of time, but when we’re at home, the outdoors are some sort of evil place that will infect them with its fresh air.
So, in summation, I’ve finally reached the point in my old age where I look at these dang kids and can’t help wondering what the heck is wrong with them.
While also wishing I had the free time they had so I could just sit outside in the sun and take a nap.