As parents, we strive for excellence. We want the best for our children and let’s face it, we want everyone to know that. While pregnant we research every morsel of information we can find on the effects of eating a tuna fish sandwich in the third trimester. We delve deep into the physiological ‘hit’s and misses’ of The Family Bed. We even secretly wonder if all of that Mozart we blared into our belly’s at 8 months gestation will have long lasting effects on our babes optimistic future.
At a simpler time, our minds were so open to the possibilities of ‘what if’ and ‘One day..’ We imagined every moment to be a cherished, premeditated ‘ducks in a row’ kind of instance.
These were the days, my friends…The days when dreams were made.
I don’t know when the curve ball came flying at my face and struck me with a big ol’ smack of reality…Could have been when Lars turned 6 months old and I realized that I missed sleeping for more than 3 hours at a time. Or maybe it was that time, he projectile shat all over my face. I distinctly remember that not being very pleasant.
Regardless, at some point there was a shift. A shift that in other words could be called parental laziness.
In some instances this shift was a good thing. It allowed me to calm down, cool off, chill out…Not to mention, more than likely avoided the inevitable aneurism I had coming to me out of high strung anal-retentive stress.
Yet at times, I wonder if this laxer way of parenting has let them down on a bigger level.
I wonder if they should eat a better diet. I wonder if I let them cry for too long. I wonder if kissing my sons ‘ouchies’ until he was 4, was a little too old. Or if letting Sophie run around with knotted hair because I don’t like to hear her cry when I brush it, will just cause more problems in future days.
But one thing I do not wonder, but know, is that I’ve indeed let them watch too much TV in these last few years.
I had been thinking about the issue a bit recently but had no idea how to broach the subject with the kids. You see, my children love the tube. And I don’t mean love, like ‘oh what a great thing that provides us with comfort and joy’ kind of love.
NO. They LOVE LOVE this contraption. I am sure that one time, I saw Sophie approach the object with an obsessive fixation and proceed to give the screen a benevolent kiss.
They will use it as their background noise when playing trains and ponies. I have even come to the point where I allow them to eat at a separate table in order to watch their beloved whilst eating. (okay okay, I realize how bad that one sounds! I have no argument…Bad Mama award, I’m coming for ya.)
So today I decided to put together an experiment of sorts…
“Oh no Lars, the TV is broken. “(It is really just unplugged)
“What?! What you say Mom?” I can hear the panic rising. I brace myself.
“I just called the TV repair man, and he will not be here until tomorrow. So no TV I guess today. But that’s okay you and Soph will just have to find something else to do.” I steady a stare at him. I will not waver. I will not give in!
“NOOOOOOOOOOOOO! THIS CAN’T BE HAPPENING!” The panic is gone, and only sever devastation remains. “NOT THE TV!”
“You will figure something out my man. Why don’t you go play in your room for a little bit. I don’t want to listen to you cry over something as silly as a broken TV, so get on with it and find something else to occupy yourself.”
I can’t help but give myself a sly smile, thinking that I am truly the most awesomely conniving Mother this world has ever known!
A Few hours, some cleaning, some crying and crafts later, I am finally alone in the kitchen preparing dinner. I hear Lars and Sophie.
They are playing a pretend ‘spy game’ and of course I am the evil doer they are gaining surveillance on…Obviously not in so many words.
So we continue on, they playing their spy game and I pretending not to notice.
At one point Sophie asks Lars something about SpongeBob and I am close to tears as I am sure this will bring on harboured memories of television. But now he responds to his sis with,
“Ya Soph, SpongeBob did do that. But we can make it ever more awesome by pretending it actually went like this…”
And they play on, without one more mention of the dreaded boob-tube.
I then all too soon decide that it is about time to find that delicate middle ground between food fights and fine dining, Mozart and My Little Pony, and the always thought of but seldom prepared; Family game night.
I realize that now is the time to get back to nitty-gritty of child rearing. Back to the things that really matter, the things that will carry them through the hardships of adolescents and the taxing times of teenage years, right through to adult life.
And with that happy medium sought for, I carry on washing up the dishes; while images of ‘one day’ swim longingly in my mind.