Monday, April 19, 2010


I forget every time how much better life is without TV.

We cycle from months (or even years) of very little TV (like a movie once a week) and then start a slow slide with one PBS show, and then two and then, like lately, we're down the waterfall of Elmo and Arthur and Caillou.

We have, once again, cleaned up our act. It's only been a couple days but already everyone's happier. Our mornings are less rushed because I'm not tearing the kids away from the screen to eat, to dress, to put on their shoes, to go out the door. We actually talk to each other. Instead of standing over them asking questions with increasing volume and irritation while they stare blank-eyed and deaf at the television, we are discussing their day as they eat their oatmeal.

I always think the TV makes things easier until we stop watching and I realize it's made things much harder. It is lovely to have them occupied for a gloriously silent half an hour but the price we pay when they disagree on a channel or, even worse, it's time to turn it off, doesn't, in the end, make it worth it. They are, after watching, spaced out, strung out, unhappy. Certainly not the ideal way to start a school day.

And the funny part is, they don't miss it. When I took away TV privileges so suddenly on Saturday, Lana, ever eager to land on a plan, quickly decided that not only should we stop watching for this week, we should make it a permanent change, with the exception of our established movie night on Fridays. Mae, when I asked her about it this morning, said that it was nicer without the TV. Shocking. But they're exactly right.

The one wild card, as always, is Mihiretu. TV has been the one way I can occupy him without actively playing with him or physically restraining him from his path of destruction. How I'm going to make dinner, I don't know.

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