While driving home from our recent trip to Washington D.C. it occurred to me that while on vacation Bella and Mia had not watched any television (except for the movies we allowed them to watch in the car on the way, which god bless u car entertainment system). I also realized that they spent so much more time together. You know, good ol' face-to-face interaction-- not sitting side by side watching television like they did at home.
They were bonding in a different way.
A deeper, more meaningful bond.
So when we returned home, I decided that I was going to give it a week with no television. I gotta admit, it was hard at first. Taking away television really meant that I'd have to step up my game. It also meant more fighting. Which meant more refereeing on my part.
But, I knew it was possible.
A week passed and I actually liked not having the tv on. The ironic part? I became a better mom. My patience level grew. I wasn't as frustrated with them because now, we were doing everything together. Rather than putting them in front of the tv to distract them while I did what I needed to do and then proceed to get really annoyed when I couldn't complete anything because they'd eventually get up and tug on my shirt,
I learned to find other ways to entertain them.
Don't get me wrong, I find value in quality childrens programming. In fact, I give Sesame Street and Super Why credit for teaching Mia her letters. Seriously! One day, she just busted out some letters after pointing to some on a sign, and it occurred to me that I might wanna get on that. Yes--tv can teach kids a lot. But so can other things. And for me, it's the act of sitting and doing nothing that I have a problem with.
After two weeks had passed since the vacation, I sat the girls down and told them that we won't be watching tv anymore. And I explained why. With of course, the exception for random family movie nights where we'll all watch a movie together. Oh and of course the occasional You Tube clips of Meerkat Manor. Have you seen this stuff?
The girls GUFFAW when watching meerkats.
This new rule of ours meant that I needed to come up with some distractions like stat! Instead of letting them watch tv (while I blog), this is how we've spent the last month:
Playing a rousing game of "cocoon" in a fold-up laundry basket
Feeding our neighbor's horse, Honey
Painting, um blotches, that are clearly flowers when asked. Clearly.
Busting out (and busting up) old toys (sorry bout' your nose Pinocchio,
lie all you want,
ain't no one gonna know)
Getting wet in our white trash version of a bathing suit
And above all, bonding.
We'll see how permanent it becomes....don't get me wrong. The ban is for the girls only. Mama still needs her American Idol and Real Housewives, ya know, quality programming!