Thursday, October 13, 2016

Zoe vs. Boredom: In Which a Child's Ennui Becomes Tedious

"Zoe, time to get dressed."
"Brush your teeth."
"So boring."
"And get your backpack."
*Falls on floor, apparently overcome by tedious commands.

A Child's Boredom
Lately everything is boring, according to Zoe. Breathing in and out to her is dull and unimaginative in its repetitiveness. And it doesn't seem to matter how busy we are; she'll always find the boring.
One recent weekend, we had soccer on Saturday morning, a late night out at a dinner dance, and then on Sunday we took her to a Renaissance Faire. When we got home she played a few games on the iPad, watched one show on TV, and then, when we said her screen time was over and it was time for Mommy and Daddy to watch the news, she said, "But that's so boring." And, cherry on top, she then said: "I never get to do anything!" 
"Are you out of your mind?" I said, hoping I could interest her in reality.
Then I had to be very boring and list for her all she'd done that weekend, because apparently remembering the previous twenty-four hours is boring, as is appreciating one's old and silly parents. She is six and a study in ennui. 
But is she really bored or is her vocabulary just limited? Or maybe she's a pioneer and is just expanding the definition. Let's review some meanings of boredom. Excited yet?
Boredom meaning #1: A state of disinterest in one's surroundings in which there is nothing one wants to interact with. 
Our apartment is littered with toys that are apparently so boring and played out she will not let me throw any of them away. (Meta-boring!)
Boredom meaning #2: General restlessness, especially that which can overcome the privileged. 
See again all those toys she can't be bothered with. Maybe she has too many things. (Blasphemy!) Maybe she needs occasional dalliances with deprivation or, at least, a mental challenge. I suggested reading or doing math. 
"Ugh! Boring!" 
Little do you know the boredom ahead of you, I told her. 
Then I introduced her to the phrase "PowerPoint presentation." I mentioned speeches at professional conferences, waiting in line at the post office, and (with particular emphasis) having to watch a small child struggle to put on pajamas that are inside out. 
Throughout her lassitude remained intact.
Boredom meaning #3: Slightly irritating, adorably inept, or just plain silly, i.e., providing little or no challenge. 
Yesterday evening Zoe was playing a game on the Nick Jr. website which featured the dogs of Paw Patrol in a soccer match against Mayor Humdinger's villainous cats, aka the Catastrophe Crew. As Marshall the fire dog scored against the kitten who was the goalie, Zoe turned to me and said, "That cat couldn't stop the ball. So boring!" 
Indeed. And just moments later it was time for her tiresome mother to serve her a boring dinner featuring wearisome broccoli, after which she'd have to suffer through the boredom of bath time and the dreariness of being tucked into bed, where she'd fall asleep after much boring resistance and have monotonous dreams she'd be too apathetic to relate the next day.
Boredom meaning #4: Things one's mother makes one do.

Zoe: 149; Universe: 0

If you enjoyed this post, you may like this one 
in which Zoe confronts the meaning of life.

For more of Zoe's hijinks, follow me on Facebook and on Twitter at @zoevsuniverse
I need a win here, people. 

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