Yesterday was a beautiful day, and I knew that if I asked VH to pick romping around in the park over his videogame, he would choose the computer. He was also in desperate need of a hair cut, which he had violently protested last week. So I resorted to an old family secret--blatant deception.
JR had told me he would be finished with handball around 4:30, I turned to VH, at 3, and told him we had to leave to get JR, it's a ten minute drive. I drove to the haircutter first, and told VH we were meeting JR inside. VH isn't stupid, but I have realized half the battle with him is getting him out the door. Once inside we scheduled an appointment for 4:30.
VH said to me, "Now we have to go home, and then just come right back!"
I replied, "No, we're going to the park by your school."
VH-"If I had known I would have brought a ball!"
Me-"Look in the trunk."
VH went complacently towards the park, and played football happily for quite a while before getting tired and wanting to leave. I think he liked that I tricked him, or rather I think he saw it as a game. He knew what was going on, but he played along for fun. I felt accomplished, and I was pleased to see him laughing and playing outside, and not glued to his Ipad or the TV.
The thing that you learn about au pairing, is that playing is way more fun than sitting around and doing nothing. My new kids are older, and are allowed to play with technology, which is kind of boring. I try and force them outside now that the weather's nice, and its half for them, half to make them interact with me. Yesterday, after VH found a little friend to play foot with, and because I'm pathetic at soccer, I wandered over to JR playing basketball and asked him to pass me the ball.
It was fun. I hadn't played basketball in probably a decade, and I was surprised how much I enjoyed it. We just passed and shot the ball, and did a little dribbling, so it was nothing serious, but it was a nice way to pass some time with JR. He's fourteen, so it's a little difficult to break into his psyche. He's not in to talking so much as cutting me down and making snarky comments.
We headed back a few hours later (after cutting VH's hair) and the two boys disappeared to various corners of the house, with laptops in hand.
At least they got a few hours outside.