"...Because I Was BORED."

About a year ago, I bought my oldest son a new pair of winter boots. They were expensive but, since he walks nearly a mile each way between school and home, I figured he needed the good ones. A week after I got these boots, he came home from school and I noticed that the water-proof rubber in the toes of the boots had disappeared, leaving only cloth. I asked my son what had happened, anger boiling up inside me at the company for making crappy boots and charging me an arm and a leg for them. My dear, sweet boy looked up at me with his big hazel eyes and said, "I peeled it off in Algebra class today." Yeah, my next question was inevitable: "WHY?!" With the same adorable face, he tells me, "Because I was bored." And that was just the tip of the iceberg. "Because I was bored" was only just beginning. It's in full swing now.

New "Teen Attitude" face. (Isn't it cute?!)

"Why did I just see you throw your empty yogurt container on the ground, a mere 10 feet away from the trash can?"

"Because I was bored."

"Why did you, a 13 year-old, take a toddler's Matchbox car away from him and cause this tantrum of epic proportions when there are 100 more of the damned cars laying right there?!" (Yelling at the top of my lungs over a 2 year old's scrams and howls.)

"Because I was bored."

"I saw you walking home from school today. You were walking down the middle of the street. It's a busy street! Why didn't you use the sidewalk?"

"Because I was..."

Well, you get the idea. This is the new answer to everything. I don't remember using a phrase like that to get to my parents' last nerve. I remember "Talk to the hand, " and "Whatever..." (I think that one's still around, though fading fast.) I was so glad that I didn't have a teenager around back then! Now that I think about it, though, I'm wondering if I wouldn't rather hear one of those.

I've been trying to get that phrase out of my son's vocabulary, at least while he's around me, to no avail. Every time I hear "because I was bored," I find something new and non-boring for him to do. Things like cleaning every scrap of trash from our yard and the park, too. And playing with his little brother for two hours while I clean the kitchen and make dinner. After the walking in the street incident, either I or my husband walked him to and from school for two weeks. We made sure to wear the most embarrassing outfits, too! And finally, he wore those boots until he grew out of them. The kid is STILL telling me he did it because he was bored!

This kid doesn't get a chance to be bored around me anymore. I've found chores for him to do when he's acting bored (you know, the huge sigh and staring at the wall when you walk past their room?) He's slowly finding things to do - he'd rather read than shovel snow! But he's still coming back at me with that answer whenever he gets caught doing something that he knows he's not allowed or supposed to be doing. Is this a new thing in our community, or are other parents experiencing this, too? If you are going through it, what are you doing about it?

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