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Yes, I admit it…I use TV as a babysitter. Sean used to love Teletubbies and Erin couldn’t get enough of The Big Comfy Couch. Now Elliott is learning to watch Blue’s Clues and Special Agent OSO. I actually lose all my kids (including the 9 and 11 year old) when Yo Gabba Gabba comes on. I’m convinced that some of these children’s shows are invented in bars after one too many shots.
“Okay, I’m seeing a pink blob wearing a flower on it’s head. And something that looks like a Twinkie with arms, legs and stripes.”
“Sounds like an interesting story line.”
“No, it’s not a story line, I see them over there sitting in the corner! Can’t you see them?”
The Wiggles were definitely a bet made in a bar. But they made pirates and octopuses popular again and made everyday “talk like a pirate day.”
I wish I could be the kind of parent that didn’t let her children watch TV, but then again, I wish I could be the kind of parent who didn’t watch TV herself. I’ve always admired individuals who managed to eschew the brain sucking box. “Oh, I don’t own a television, I sit and read Shakespeare every evening. Next I’m going to read Dante’s Inferno in it’s original Italian.”
You know, the Sci-fi channels done some great remakes of Dante’s work and any soap opera is totally stealing from the works of Shakespeare. Only this time the female actors really are female.
I try to go with the “all things in moderation” philosophy. Some screen time is fine–even necessary. I wouldn’t ever get a shower or be able to serve a hot meal that didn’t come from a microwave if it weren’t for the TV.
We recently put a family room/kitchen addition onto our very small 1400 sf house. Above the fireplace now sits a HUGE flat screen TV. Okay, it probably isn’t as huge as I think it is, but we did have some serious discussions about it. I feel as though there are size constraints that tell people whether you do anything other than watch TV. If it’s too big–you are a family of couch potatoes; too small and you are divorced. It took several revision of our layout before I discovered that our 700 sf addition was primarily to hold a TV and sound system in the best acoustical and visual position (no, the TV cannot be in the corner apparently). We also had to hire an engineer to recheck our roof load so that we could move a load bearing beam up 6″. Apparently it was ruining the line of sight for the TV in the kitchen. Marriage is all about compromise–and not interrupting unless it’s a commercial.
The BEST thing that was invented for the TV was our DVR. With the ability to pause live TV, I have become powerful in my house once again. There is no more, “wait until the commercial” or “wait until the show is over.” I can alter my children’s behavior with the push of the pause button. I also try to limit their shows to ones they’ve recorded. That gives us the freedom to fast-forward through commercials (sorry McDonalds, Barbie, and Transformers) which has caused a huge drop off in the “gimmies.”
So while the TV won’t be turned off anytime in the near future in our house, it is limited to an hour at night and NEVER in the mornings. No one (other than mommy and daddy) will ever have a TV in his/her room–that’s where they can sit and read Shakespeare.