Column: Annual summer rite of wearing down parents begins

Published 12:00 am Monday, June 6, 2005

Welcome to the end of the school year and the start of what I like to call the &uot;Mom-Can-I-athon,&uot; and the &uot;Dad-I’m-Bored-athon.&uot; Both of these fine events take place every summer in most homes in America.

What is a &uot;Mom-Can-I-athon,&uot; or a &uot;Dad-I’m-Bored-athon&uot; you ask? Well, it starts about three minutes after school lets out for the summer and stops about three minutes before you drop off your child back at school in the fall.

&uot;Mom-Can-I-athon&uot; involves the child saying the word mom and can I so many times during the course of the day that it forces this normally calm lady to want to drive very fast in any direction away from that sound.

Email newsletter signup

Some children will do it so much that in the fall, again the normally patient lady will sign up for PTA under an assumed name. Children have a sixth sense when it comes to their moms, almost like ESP. For example, if the child is in another room or in the yard, they somehow sense the exact moment mom will actually sit down and feel comfortable, because within three seconds the cry comes out &045; &uot;Mom&uot; followed by either &uot;Can I?&uot; or the ever popular &uot;I need,&uot; will be spitting out of the child’s lips.

The &uot;Dad-I’m-Bored-athon&uot; is different from the &uot;Mom-Can-I-athon&uot; in that it only seems to happen from morning until bedtime, whereas the other happens even if they are in bed; sometime even during the night.

Now you can also try to fight &uot;Dad-I’m-Bored-athon&uot; by signing the child up at the YMCA, or through your local parks and recreation department, but if they do not have a program that keeps them busy every minute of daylight from June through August, you will have to suffer through this problem.

The &uot;Dad-I’m-Bored-athon&uot; again involves the child, this time saying the word &uot;Dad&uot; followed closely by &uot;I’m bored.&uot; This saying is used at a rate that will push the normally serene father to want to spend many more hours at work or find a golf league every night of the week.

Sometimes it is hard for a father to look at the children as an addition to the family, rather than a deduction at tax time.

To get a break from these two conditions this summer, you can:

– Get a babysitter. The first step to doing this is to find the correct babysitter. I think babysitting must be an art, because watching TV, talking on the cell phone and eating a family out of house and home, all while the children are crying, must take some skill.

Remember you want to take your time in choosing the correct babysitter, but if these two inflictions get so out of hand that it forces you to choose somebody between Darth Vader and the Nanny, may the force be with you.

– Ask your children not to do say those insane words &045; sorry, I was just kidding, like that would ever work.

Join Parents Anonymous. PA is a great group with a three-step plan to dealing with kids in the summer:

Get the kids to sleep.

Go outside

Run, Run, Mom and Dad, Run.

But, if you are a normal softy like my wife and I, there is only one way to deal with &uot;Mom-Can-I-athon&uot; and

&uot;Dad-I’m-Bored-athon&uot; &045; start counting the days until the first day of school, while you are grinding your teeth into a fine dust. To get you started, there are 89 days left.

(Publisher Scott Schmeltzer’s column appears each Monday.)