Everyone knows that parenting is hard. It's practically a cliché to say so, but it's true, so people say it anyway. There are the difficulties I anticipated, like sleep deprivation and temper tantrums and the long road to potty training. There are the difficulties I didn't anticipate, like having kids who never really took naps ever (at least, not reliably for more than a week at a time) and extreme pickiness with food. But as far as kids go, I have to say I've gotten pretty lucky.
Lately, we've hit a new stumbling block: summer boredom. School is out for the summer, which means preschool is done, too. (Anya, by the way, loved every minute of preschool; I had nothing to worry about!) Daniel is done with preschool for good now, and until he starts kindergarten this fall, we have our last free, innocent summer ahead of us. I was looking forward to it. I like summers that are relatively unscheduled. I like swimming and gardening and going to state parks and watching the hot air balloon launch at the park and picking berries and finding fun new ways to explode water balloons and visits from grandparents, and we're planning on all of that stuff this year.
The problem is that Daniel is bored already. I think a couple of different factors are at work here. First of all, he's really ready for kindergarten. He turned 5 this winter, and if it weren't for the extra cost, I would have sent him to preschool every day this semester instead of just part of the week. Second, I think he is essentially an extrovert (if a cautious one) and benefits from having lots of social stimulation. This means that when he is with me all day long we run into trouble. Playing with toys, playing with Anya, playing with me only hold his interest for so long before he starts moping and whining about having nothing to do. Then he begs to watch TV and when I say no, finds ways to annoy me. He turns the radio on and off, he sets the timer on the microwave, he'll choose random CDs and start playing them, skipping through all the tracks after a few seconds (this drives me nuts).
This, by the way, happens whether we're home all day or spent the whole morning somewhere fun, like preschool, say, or the children's museum or the zoo or the pool (it's been a hot week; we've been at the pool plenty). It's not like I never take them anywhere fun.
Anya does not have this problem. She is really quite good at keeping herself entertained and is not socially needy at all. Whether this is a personality trait or simply because she is younger, I don't know.
It's not as though we never have playtime with friends, but I guess we need more of it. It might be time to look into some type of organized/team sport for Daniel, too (other than swimming lessons, I mean). I have never looked forward to that phase of parenthood where my main job is schlepping kids around to playdates and sports practice, but that might be what he needs.