Friday, October 05, 2007

Hello, my name is Cheryl

And I'm married to a TV addict. My husband always has it on, even when he's working. He Tivos Magnum PI, which is lucky for him, since he bitterly informed me the other day that it's been replaced in the broadcast lineup by Nash Bridges - a show I had never even heard about until I met him.

When I first started doing my long runs on Saturdays, I would arrive home to find my two still pajama-clad children planted in front of the TV, with David clicking away on the computer. Then after a small "conversation" on perhaps using that time to interact with the progeny, they are now always dressed and playing when I return.

This is not to say that when I am in charge, which is most of the time, that the kids don't watch TV. They do. Especially in the morning. Sage usually requests Curious George, and through the magic of Tivo, she can watch it at any hour.

Sometimes the TV is on for a solid two hours, while the kids eat breakfast and I catch up on emails or visit my favorite websites. And then, when they get up from their naps, it's back on again. Especially if I'm trying to get dinner ready.

In my own defense - should I feel defensive? - these kids spend plenty of time playing outside and doing activities away from the TV. But I had this nagging feeling that the TV was becoming a little too convenient.

David went away on business this week. Thursday was the kind of hectic morning I thought wouldn't happen til my kids were at least in elementary school. I needed quiet. We were out the door at 7:45 for speech therapy, then after a brief return home, we got Sawyer in his bathing suit and it was off to swimming lessons. After that, we went to the park for two hours.

By the time we got home, it was lunch, and then naps. They both took good ones - almost three hours - and when they got up, they played together outside. I made an easy dinner and for the hour or so left until bedtime, we read books and then they took a long bath.

No TV. All day. Now, normally, when people say they don't watch TV, or don't have a TV in their house, it is accompanied by a touch of smugness as the TV-less ones waits for the inevitable "How do you DO that?!?" and "I could NEVER do that!" which of course reassures said abstainer they are one level above us on the Mommy Chart (if we believe them, that is). I'm not saying EVERYONE has that 'tude, but enough do.

I think TV can be useful, not only in engaging my child for a bit, but in helping me keep my sanity when I need a short break from them. I just think we watch too much at my house. And, of course, the minute they were in bed, there I was, turning on the TV. Hey, Survivor was on!

I continued the no tv mandate the next day. Sawyer spent the morning at preschool and Sage and I went to music class and on errands. But I have to say, after naps, it got a little hairy.

Sawyer has this engaging habit of telling Sage "NO!" while pointing in her face. Being my daughter, she smacks him. And he, of course, smacks her back. This goes on until I step in. And then they're back at it five minutes later.

I almost found myself shrieking "DON'T MAKE ME TURN ON THAT TV!!"

David returned from his trip, and the television has been back on. But I find that I am now much more proactive about limiting it. I actually enjoyed quietly reading books with the kids (even as I battled my raging sinus infection). I loved how Sawyer engaged Sage in playing outside. It forced all of us to spend more together time. And I think the kids really benefited.

It was a lesson well learned. Now if I can just wean myself off the internet..


OCHalf07 said...

Hi, I'm your pal T-rock and I'm an internet addict. I could totally do without TV (who needs one -- did you know that you can actually WATCH TV ON YOUR COMPUTER?!! or even just, READ hilarious summaries of all your favorite shows on Television Without Pity?!) but take me away from the web and I'd shrivel up and waste away. I mean, not getting my daily dose of your blog is bad enough... :)

Melissa said...

I am so proud of you. We, too, are addicted to the tv in our house. (Especially DH) I find I'm incredibly proud of myself at the end of the day if we were tv free. Which just shows you how often that doesn't happen! :)

Cheryl said...

Hey T! David and I are so lame: our new DVR kept erasing stuff, so we watched the season premier of Numbers on his laptop!

Melissa - Maybe we should do a research paper on the contribution of Tivo to the fall of the Western Society.. LOL

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