2011-08-13 / Editorials & Letters

Lighten up: It’s almost time to send them back to school

By Dawn Weber

Ah, summertime. When a kid can be a kid. And bathing?

Is just a concept.

Me: “Son. When was the last time you took a bath?”

Son: *Crickets*

Me: “SON! WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU BATHED?”

Son (lifting head from Nintendo DS): “Well, I went swimming Tuesday.”

Me: “It’s Friday. And I’m not asking about swimming. I’m talking SOAP. I’m talking SHAMPOO. I’m talking WASHCLOTH in your SWIMSUIT AREAS.”

Son: *Crickets*

Me: “ GET IN THE TUB NOWWWW!!!!”

Son: *Stripping streak*

This is not totally his fault. He and his sister have been very busy, you see.

It begins each morning, after 11 hours of sleep. They log onto the computer for their daily dose of online shopping: Toys Backwards R Us, Amazon, Foot Locker online, Game Stop online... Decisions are made. Items are listed. Virtual shopping carts are filled.

And every evening, after my ten-hour workday and two-hour commute, the 19-page lists and shopping carts - printed with Epson ink costing $67 per milliliter - are shoved in my hand before I can put my purse away. Then I know what I can buy for them that particular day. Isn’t that thoughtful? And all accomplished with such diligence, such attention to detail!

You know, I’m really glad they’re taking the initiative here and working on solutions. Because they have a dreadful, serious problem.

They’re bored.

The poor darlings! I feel awful for them. 159 video games on three different systems. A puppy. A trampoline. Two computers. A four-wheeler. Three mp3 players. 213 dvds. Five bikes.

An in-ground damn swimming pool.

Tragic, no? You can see here why the little lambs find their world so very dull.

Yes, it’s truly a difficult life they lead. Every summer day is a struggle.

I can tell, because obviously some kind of terrible tussle takes place at our house before I get home at night. Popcorn bags scattered, candy wrappers dangling from the dog’s mouth, cereal milk souring on the kitchen table, eleventy billion flippin’ drinking cups on every flippin’ surface...

My brave children. Must get so tired of fighting off the thirsty, popcorn-scarfing marauders invading our house that they can’t clean up the resulting mess. So exhausted indeed that they cannot STAND to go outside.

No - the unbearable heat has turned out to be too much for my fragile flowers, who will surely wilt in the sun.

Teen Daughter: *Complain* *Grumble* *Whine*

Me: “Go outside and play!”

Teen Daughter: “But Mom - it’s too haau-uutt outsiiiidddeduh!”

Me: “Then go swimming!”

Teen Daughter: “But I just washed my hair-er!”

Me: “GO OUTSIDE! NOOOWWW!”

Teen Daughter: *Complains, *grumbles*, *whines* out door.

*Returns 9 minutes later.*

Teen Daughter: “But Mom - it’s too hauu-utt out there-uh!”

Kill me now.

You know whose fault this is (besides mine)? Air Conditioning.

Believe it. Back in the Groovy Day? When I was a kid in the summer? You wouldn’t find me in any stuffy, dang, 80-degree house. No sir. You could find my little arse one place only.

Out-dang-side.

I biked! I (nerd alert) roller discoed! I skateboarded! I played catch and kickball with Marshall the Neighbor Boy.

I did not know this word you call ‘Bored.’ And I did not return to the house until the streetlights came on.

Because my mother locked me out all day. Then retired to the only air-conditioned room in the house: her bedroom. And that was that.

But that’s O.K. It was the 70s, man. Everybody locked out! Everybody roller discoed! Everybody dehydrated, er, sweaty!

Air Conditioning? Nintendo DS? Water? Basic shelter? Ha ha-flippin’-HA!

You kids these days. I laugh at your cool air, your video games, your health and safety practices.

Bunch of amateurs.

Dawn Weber is a national award winning columnist, and a Brownsville wife and working mother of a teen and pre-teen. She blogs at http://www.lightenupweber. blogspot.com

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