I was sitting in my “hoffice” (home office)—a.k.a. my dining room table with a laptop—when I glanced over at my 14-month-old daydreaming in the living room amongst a sea of resting toys.
He was playing with the moving shapes of his shadow in the morning light, studying the flicker of movement bouncing left to right, up and down. The toys sat still. Just a little body moving. Content.
For awhile, I had been the kind of first-time-mom that often wondered what types of toys my child needed for his developmental leaps each month. Was he playing with the “right” toys? Did he need more toys? Different toys? What toys were my friends giving their kids? Did I need one of those toy box subscriptions?
But the more I watched my son and the more I quieted my thoughts to really tuned into him, the more I could see what he needed.
He needed to be bored.
With his imagination, he actually never was bored. Not even for a second.
His independent playtime offered him endless opportunities to explore, learn, develop, and problem solve. His boredom traced him over to the kitchen where he found his absolute favorite “toys”—measuring cups, spoons, magnets, pots, cabinets, and drawers. His boredom showed him what being truly present felt like. A gift so little of us know little about.
When he’d crawl over grass and moss, he would touch it so tenderly with endless curiosity.
When the wind blew the drapes, he would study it and draw his nose up in the direction of the air.
Somehow these moments of boredom were teaching him. Maybe more than any toy or I could.
Boredom encourages playfulness and teaches independence. It helps us open up to our old worldview.
Haven’t you ever noticed that the quiet minutes in your life sometimes offer “ah hah” epiphanic moments? Some things just become more crystal clear when our minds are less busy and we have time to simply “be.”
I truly feel the same goes for babies and kids.
Quiet boring moments don’t mean we are being lazy caretakers with the wrong toys… they are chances for our little shadows to discover, be young, be individual, and get curious.
Rain isn’t just rain. It’s music that can bring you joy and put you to sleep.
Grass isn’t just grass. It’s life you can breathe in and a cushion you can lay on.
Wind isn’t just wind. It’s a movement you want to catch and refreshing on a warm day.