Lately we have developed a problem around here with the Captain, and it’s this: there’s nothing to do.
Oh I know, all kids have down times where they are bored with the same old toys, there’s bad weather outside, and all their friends are busy. But with the Captain, this is turning into a permanent state of being, and it’s driving us all crazy.
He used to be really into Lego, but now that we own every single set ever created, BY GOD, he’s kind of growing out of it. He still likes playing with the minifigs from the various sets, setting up dialogs between them, occasionally recreating scenes from TV shows or movies. But unless Gal Smiley is available to imagine along with him, he’s bored. He is no longer into building for building’s sake, or creating for creating’s sake.
He is not an artistic guy at all – he still stick-figures his drawings for school and art class is like torture for him. He doesn’t want to paint or colour or glue collages. He is not interested in science – whereas Gal Smiley can spend all day creating elaborate experiments, or building solar cars, or testing electrical circuits, he just doesn’t want to bother. He isn’t curious or into learning new things in his spare time.
We had hoped he would be a reader, and while he has taken baby steps these past months into reading on his own, it’s clear it will never consume him, the way it does other kids who always try to sneak a book onto their lap at the dinner table, or under the covers at night. If we tell him to go read, he’ll read on his own for a half hour or so, but that’s it. Efforts to engage him in board games or card games are refused, unless it’s Sorry, where he can use his minifigs as the players, and DEAR LORD, if I have to play one more game of Sorry I may do something drastic.
He’s not a sporty guy, and he hates the outdoors. He has no interest in going outside just for the sake of it. We force him to take swimming lessons, which he despises, and he’s happy with his once-weekly soccer lesson, which lets him see his buddies, and isn’t interested in working on his skills or taking it any further. All other sports have been roundly rejected.
Of course, he’d play video games all the live-long day if we would let him, but we try to limit his screen time, so he’s on a very fixed income when it comes to the Wii. We tried to get him interested in other computer-like stuff – simple programming languages, say, or making stop-motion movies using his minifigs, but all that stuff was too much like school and he refused.
So what does he do with his time? Mostly he skulks. He’s an expert skulker. We’ll find him sitting on his bed in his room, in the dark, just sitting there doing nothing. We’ll find him wandering endlessly up and down the hallway, up and down, up and down, nowhere to go, no plans, just being aimless. We’ll find him lying on the couch in the TV room, staring at the ceiling. Just staring, for like, hours at a time.
It’s kind of freaking us out. I don’t know if it’s his age (nearly 10), his personality (he is generally fearful and quiet and withdrawn), or his gender (we have the opposite problem with the girls, who are both so interested and into EVERYTHING that we are constantly trying to limit their activities).
The other day I sat him down for a Serious Talk about this. I told him I felt he needed some kind of hobby. I started suggesting stuff he might like, and he actually cried from the stress of having to choose something. So I backed off, and he went back to staring at the wall. GAH.
What do your boys like to do? What did you like to do when you were 10? I’m all out of ideas here.