Thursday, July 29, 2010

Lazy kids in summer

Okay. So we are officially in those "lazy, hazy days of summer." Heat, humidity and horrendously bored kids.

I should be cutting my two teens some slack and I have been. A bit. After all, Jack spent one month at Teton Valley Ranch Camp each day riding horses and/or hiking, plus an assortment of other activities; up early, out in the sun. No phone, no computer, no television, no video games and no music. Ditto Jess, who hiked and camped in the back country of the Tetons for 12 days straight (add "no showers" to her litany), and then spent three days hiking to and summiting the Grand Teton, and back down again. They both were deserving of some R&R.

So I have given them two weeks of said rest and relaxation. And now I want them to see more action!

Jess actually needs no encouragement to contact friends and meet up with them. But it's a record that skips (please tell me, dear reader, that you are old enough to understand this metaphor? Do you remember vinyl? And how a scratch on the record would make the needle skip over the same part again and again and...again?) Anyway, her days and nights follow a never-changing pattern. She is too bored to know how boring the pattern is: sleep until Noon - even though she asks me to wake her at 8:30 or 9 a.m. and then keeps requesting the wake-up call in hourly increments (yes, I know I shouldn't allow this; maybe I'm guilty of lazy-syndrome too!); then eat, shower, check her Facebook and Jonas Brothers updates, and ask me to drive her into town to meet X, Y and Z friends for dinner. Back home at curfew. This is followed by phone calls to seemingly the same people she was just with, all the while glued to the computer and the statuses. Sleep. But not until 2 or 3 a.m. Awaken. Repeat.

"Change it up!" I cry. "Have people over here! Go to a movie! Take the train into the city!"

She did have to take a quick summer school course - online, no less, in a very flexible move provided by New Canaan public school's summer enrichment program. But even doing this simple thing was procrastinated by laziness. Ah well.

My fairly newly-minted teen, Jack, has adopted the lazy attitude, too. Wake up, waffles, ESPN; the broken record. He's certainly not interested in doing an organized activity after his time at camp, but even the suggestion of calling a couple of friends is usually met with a grunt. Of course in his defense a lot of his pals are out of town. Still.

I recall those summer days of yore when boredom would occasionally force the kids into the spirit of entrepreneurship, and rickety stands to sell lemonade or water or Gatorade would appear at the end of the driveway.

Or there were moments when Jess and Jack were younger and I could entice them to spend a little time re-arranging their bedrooms or organize their drawers in preparation for the upcoming school year. Ha! Fat chance of that now.

"Clean your room young lady, or you are not going into town!"

"But it's suuuuuuummmmmmmer!"

The clothes get rearranged from the floor of the bedroom to the floor of the closet. Ditto with Jack.

They used to beg me to go to the town pool; we now have one of our own which - oddly - they rarely use.

They are now too old to think going to Lake Compounce with mom is a viable idea, and Lord knows the movies with mommy on a hot summer's day or night is a hideous prospect.

I suppose I should lighten up a bit. Like they both say, it is summer. Better to be lazy in August then lazy come September. And I should also enjoy the down time where I am not shuttling from one child's activity to the next, nor is laundry such a must, and food shopping and cooking are additionally overrated on a soggy, muggy day, air-conditioned store or car be damned; it's still too bloody warm.

Perhaps these lazy, hazy days are Mother Nature's way of helping us to slow it down, take it easy for a month or two. I should just let the kids be, and turn off the pre-programmed tape that insists that there be structure and accountability. Several weeks of whatever the spirit moves is allowable.

See? I even chose a fairly lazy topic for this column, too!

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