It's not even 9 A.M. yet and my kids have already watched HOURS of TV today. Now, please understand, this is not a normal occurrence. We're usually pretty skimpy with screen time around here. But when the going gets tough... the tough turn on the tube.
I don't like TV for kids or most of what's on for adults these days, either. I think the majority of it is inane and brain rotting. Even the educational shows drive me nuts after five or six repetitions. The background noise of constant TV chatter distracts us all and makes it harder to concentrate on anything else going on, like flexing of imaginations. I love those new commercials with Alec Baldwin where he says he's an alien implementing a subversive campaign to turn our brains to tasty mush for a snack. If it's true, Alec, come on over. My kids brains are particularly tender just now. What a treat!
You see, despite my distaste, I also cannot deny the usefulness of the television when it comes to kids. Need half an hour to finish the dishes? Bam! Thank you, WordWorld. Everyone screaming and hitting each other? Voila! Instant sibling rivalry diffusion via the Disney Channel. It's easy and it's free, what more could you ask?
Quite a lot, of course. I think kids should play, make up stories, hide their toys, read books and argue over who gets to be the best princess. When possible, I want them to run- through the house, up and down the stairs, around the cul-de-sac dragging a kite that's only hope of flying involves magic fairy dust. My girls do all these things and, in my opinion, do them quite well.
So why are they vegetating to "Lady and the Tramp" right now? Because I am sick. Silvia is sick. Anna, wanting to be included, is pretending to be sick. I was up all night with a screaming toddler, spent the early morning hours folded up on the couch pouring cold Pedialyte down her throat and checking to see if her 103 degree fever had broken. We've spent the past three days, not to put too fine a point on it, changing ferocious diapers every 20 minutes or so.
I am tired and my bones ache and I have a fever, too. I want to go to bed. But there are two little girls sitting in my living room, one of whom regularly bursts into feverish tears. It's just not going to happen. I'd take them out for a change of scene, but probably no one would appreciate our company just now. Enter the Disney universe and the magic of PBS, stage left. Silvia may be sick, but she's now distracted. Anna is so tuned in, she's barely aware on my existence which, to my selfish delight, keeps her demands to a minimum. Me? I'm sitting. I'm sipping ginger tea to settle my stomach, counting down the hours to my next dose of Advil and debating calling the pediatrician.
(Which is a whole different story, by the way. If I call, they'll always say to bring her in right away. I'll arrive ever hopeful and 90% of the time, the doctor will tell me to let her rest and give her fluids, which I'm already doing. Thank you for taking my money, sir. But, there's the off chance that she's got an ear infection which will only get worse over time, so... no wonder my head hurts.)
TV is the devil, but today is just a little bit of hell. It goes with the scenery.