My boys, with the exception of Gino, have been off school since last Friday because teachers are on strike. Class suspension, regardless of the reason, is always good news to elementary and high school students, but bad news for parents. For me, this means more food consumed at home throughout the day, more mess accumulated, and more unexpended energy that will greet me at the end of a long day, especially in this kind of weather.
Yesterday, I found pillows all over the living room when I arrived from work. This is not unusual. My sons literally throw our throw pillows, and not just throw but kick them as well, by Markus's own admission. While I was resting on the couch, he animatedly showed me how he kicked a pillow over the couch, towards the bookshelf (“It didn’t hit anything Mom.”), back to the couch, jumping twice over the backrest... I had a hard time following his blow by blow account.
If the throw pillows aren’t enough, they take down their bedroom pillows and hit one another with those.
“Guys, the thing you see on TV where they have pillow fights and feathers flying all over the place, we DON’T do that!” I emphasized. Not that we have that kind of expensive pillows but I don’t want to buy more pillows, period.
Gino doesn’t have school on Tuesdays. Last Tuesday, he cleaned his room, miracle of miracles! As I walked in the door after work, he greeted me, “Mom, this is the cleanest I’ve seen my room.” I checked and true enough, his room was very neat indeed. A few days ago, you could hardly see the floor, and I’m not exaggerating.
Mickey spends a lot of time fixing our computer and working on a website. He can sit in front of the computer for long periods but he goes out with friends, too. He’s happy with the teachers' strike.
Gabriel and Markus mostly stay at home and play on the computer or with the Gameboy or with each other. I give them chores to do during the day and check on them from work. But the strike is stretching on and they are getting bored.
Last night, while I was preparing dinner, Markus came down and complained.
“Mom, I’m bored,” he said. “There’s nothing to do.”
“What do you think will make you not bored?” I asked.
“I don’t know,” he whined.
“Well, think. What do you want to do? What will make you NOT bored?” I repeated. I was pushing him to think.
“Why can’t you?” he threw the question back to me.
“It’s not my body,” I said. “What do you want to do?” I suspected he already had something in mind.
“Something that has nothing to do with cleaning,” Markus declared before I could give him a chore.
Shortly, he went back upstairs and Gabriel came down. It turned out Markus had been impatiently waiting for his turn on the computer, and the waiting bored him.
I realized I have nothing prepared for the boys to do should the teachers’ job action go on indefinitely other than those that have something to do with cleaning --washing the dishes, doing the laundry, cleaning the table, fixing the bed...
I am open to suggestions.