The magic of boredom

One morning, I heard Nica playing in the next room. From what I could gather, she was conducting a lively dialogue between two travelers. I figured she was playing with her dolls. But when I peeked around, this is what I saw:

My reaction whenever I stumble upon this sort of scene is multistage: First, I giggle or laugh; then I pause and think, Damn, bored with your toys much?; and then I marvel at the 4-year-old mind and the fact that a child can get away with behavior that from an adult would be considered symptomatic of schizophrenia.

Nica is at that age when every object in the world is alive and full of possibility for fun and drama. All an object—whether it be a napkin, toothbrush, leaf, or foot—requires to spring to life is Nica’s attention; then just add boredom. Just a sprinkle will do, and ta-dah! The objects near her become animated.

To some parents, and some kids too, boredom is a horrid monster to be avoided at all costs.

But if it weren’t for boredom, kids would never have bothered to invent awesome imaginary friends and foes, or build forts out of sofa cushions, or put on puppet shows for their stuffed animals using socks and brown paper lunch bags. I know someday Nica will be one of the many kids who walk around aimlessly moaning “Mom, I’m so bored.” And I’ll probably end up joining the legions of mothers who have said “If you’re so bored, why don’t you go do your homework! Or go out and rake some leaves! You got nothing to do? I’ll give you something!” And she’ll roll her eyes and mumble “Never mind” and go to her room and text her beer-swillin’ friends. -sigh-

So, while I can, I am enjoying Nica at this wonderful age, when her imagination is really all she needs to have fun.

If only we adults could be like that too.

Without coming off as lunatics, I mean.

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