The heck with basketball, I am about to embark on a little March Madness of my own here. I am unplugging the TV for the next 31 days. Hold back your gasps people, it has got to be done.
The kids have become two little zoned-out zombies, planting themselves on the floor in front of the boob tube completely tuning out everything around them.
They don’t move. At all.
Nothing disturbs this. Even the sound of the dog scratching on the door, barking his head off to come in does not cause a stir. I’ll hear him from my vantage point upstairs, where I’ve retreated for a few minutes to take care of business. I’ll scream “LET THE DOG IN!” to no avail. The TV blares on, the dog stays outside and barks more and I have to finish up quick. “Did you not hear the dog?” I ask. No reply. Just the whine of Sponge Bob on the TV.
They are in the zone. I speak to them, but I am ignored. I stand between them and Disney XD. Try to get their attention over Nick Toons. They crane their heads to look around me. They’ve commandeered the dog’s bed. He looms over them glaring. They don’t move. He finds a new place to rest. They don’t care. TV has won. And, sadly, I have let it.
The winter was hard. There was so much snow. The kids got sick of it. There were only so many snow forts they could build. They were tired of digging luge runs just to be able to sled. They were tired of trudging through 3 feet of snow to recover their sled once it went down the luge run by itself. It was hard and tiring to attempt walking through it. So the TV went on and stayed on too long.
We did this little exercise last summer, when in the lazy hazy days of August, my kids decided that reruns of Avatar The Last Airbender were way more important than getting their daily dose of Vitamin D.
I would stand by the wooden playscape in the yard waiting for them to come out. I’d run inside and say “Let’s go! It’s beautiful outside! Who’s with me!” and I’d head back outside. They weren’t behind me. I felt like Bluto trying to rally his frat brothers out of Delta House only to realize that he was alone. I’d return inside to my kids, who were happily crazy-glued to the TV.
So we turned it off and an amazing thing happened. The kids played. They colored for hours. They wanted to go for bike rides and to the park and for long walks around town. They laughed, made up games and sometimes just vegged with a book.
Mind you, I had to spearhead a lot of these activities due to the fact that we live in rural suburbia and not in a subdivision, but it was okay. I am, after all, a stay at home mom and this is my job. Blogging aside. **That’s free unless y’all wanna pay me to read this nonsense. Didn’t think so. Alrightythen.
The TV-free August was met by a lot of cheers from people who said what great parents we were for doing this. Others said we were crazy and felt it would hurt less if we stuck bamboo under our fingernails. Believe me, I was nervous in the beginning. I thought what will we do? How will we survive? When on earth will I have a minute to myself? But it worked. And we survived. And TV became less of a right and more of a novelty.
For a while. Then back to the grind and the draw of TV.
So tomorrow should be the beginning of an interesting test of wills for of all of us. Not only will the TV be off, but due to the start of my son’s third grade mastery tests, homework will not be coming home either. (I don’t know what I am doing blogging here, I need to get my sh*t together for the next month!)
In all seriousness, I hope that we can reconnect as a family. It’s easy to let them watch TV while I try to get things done. It’s easy for them to not want to do anything else because their shows are on. It’s time to dust off our board games, go crazy with some crafting, put on our wellies and take to the melting snow for walks. It’s time to have some good old-fashioned family fun time with out TV as a distraction.
Talk to me in 31 days. I may feel differently than my current positive Pollyanna-ish outlook. I may have less hair, more wrinkles and a larger collection of empty wine bottles nearby. But for now, we are all systems go.
Buh Bye flat screen. The kids will certainly miss you. See you in a month. Or not.