Warning: You are entering a moderation-free zone. Cultish rocks ahead.
Jim and I took our giant flat screen TV off the wall, wrapped it in blankets and put it in the garage in a small space between the freezer and a tall tool rack. I'm not sure how long it's going to hang out in its new real estate, but after a week of struggling to keep it off, and then a regression back to insanity, we put it out there out of pure frustration.
This is how my morning usually goes. Jamie and William are up before any rooster would even dream of deciding it's daylight. I turn on something like Little Einsteins in a half dead zombie walk and then go back to bed. By the time I get up during the normal human zone of 6:00-6:30, the TV has already staked out its claim on my day. And wrenching it back is like wrestling a dragon. People like to think dragons don't exist anymore, but they do. Mine go by names of "Netflix" and "Ipads" and "Minecraft".
The problem with dragons is that they're not traditionally easy to kill right? If it was a simple matter of hacking up your TV in the front driveway with a machete like some sort of post-modern Braveheart then we'd all do it in a heartbeat. Self-righteous parenting books, articles (and adults over the age of 50) make it sound so simple: Just limit your kid's screen time to NONE if you're a good parent, and 30 minutes a day if you're the weaker brethren. Fine. Wonderful. But modern monasticism isn't a tenable strategy. Maybe the next Steve Jobs will have been raised on an organic goat farm with nothing but dragonflies and dandelions to keep them entertained, but this household makes up the peasant folk for sure.
And so we're left battling the dragons in the pig pen because moderation is a thing worth fighting for (even if it means you constantly have to repair the fences in the North field too). Although with the TV dragon currently vanquished to the garage with a blanket over its head, and the rest of the little dragons hidden away in an underwear drawer, I must say it's been kind of nice. Here are three "stop and smell the daisies" type of things I noticed today.
The Whining Went Away
Sure, the kids built a parkour course in the living room, I had to bathe the two youngest ones twice, and at one point in time, my living room was covered in cardboard and Elmer's glue. But no one told me they were bored, or tired, or cold, or hot or any of the other thousand little things that I thought were real things but now I'm wondering if they weren't just hind-brain justifications for wanting to watch TV.
They Enjoyed School
This one surprised me. Instead of falling apart at the drop of a hat when they didn't understand something, or moaning at the sheer magnitude of work their terrible mean mother makes them do, they actually did double the school today with nary a fuss. I think it was because there was no reason to get through it fast and when you're homeschooled, learning is easily mistaken for just hanging out and having fun with mom. Kids aren't born hating chemistry or stories.
They Talked More
Maybe for some people, this would be a hard negative but in this Scandinavian-esque male household, I'm always thrilled when people decide to use real words instead of grunt or punch. There are those studies that show the more extroverted and talkative the mother is, the earlier her kids will learn to talk. This study clearly did not take into account my husband's strong stoic genes which apparently canceled out all of my talkative ones since I can rack up word counts with the best of them. Today though, I not only heard a lot of sapient conversation going on, but the smallest one was talking too! Winning!
I don't expect it to work so well tomorrow, but I enjoyed today anyway. I think part of the reason there was such a stark difference was because the TV was physically gone. It's hard to bargain for something that's tangibly missing. It helps I'm not strong or big enough to get it in from the garage if I wanted. Sometimes I get so stuck in the abstract world, that I forget something simple like not just saying we're going to watch less TV, but actually moving the solid object so you match the corporeal with the abstract.
You know, slay the real dragon... but not with a real sword.