Television Update

I’m sure you were all on the edge of your seats, waiting to see how Operation: No TV is working out for us. Honestly, I thought it would be a lot more difficult. I thought I would randomly freak out, NEEDING to know what was on TV. Needing to numb my mind, and distract myself from what I guess I thought of as my “boring” life. What really happened was I realized how much I’ve been missing when I have the TV running in the background all day long. Of course, like any mom, when my daughter is awake, my attention is really focused on her, but I didn’t realize that I was still missing a lot. Now that we don’t watch TV we read even more books. Now that we read more books I realize I’ve been missing out on her kissing the pictures in the book (and, yes, our books are now covered with drool). Now that we read more books, I realize that she’s been missing out on mimicking me reading to her. When she flips through a book, she babbles, and I like to think that she is pretending to read like mommy. Of course, there are the obvious things I’ve been missing, like the birds chirping, or the wind blowing (ahem, and the men blowing leaves… WHY???).

So, what have we been doing instead of watching TV? Well, the house is cleaner. I bring Rose around the house, and we clean. I fold laundry, and she laughingly undoes my folding. She watches from a distance as I vacuum, and has become increasingly worried about the contraption that picks up all those precious leaves that she likes to play with. She helps me cook. Well, she plays with the measuring cups, ladles, and knives (psych- are you actually reading?). The point is, that, now that we aren’t tied to the room with the screen, we are free to move about the house, which, I’m finding, helps curb the baby cranky hour that pops up every evening!

The best things, though, don’t involve housework, or cooking, or any obligations. We listen to music. Not that crappy children’s music, but real music. Grateful Dead. Bob Dylan. Tom Petty. The Beatles. And, some music my husband would refer to as crappy adult music, but which Rose and I love. Zac Brown Band. Brad Paisley. Brett Dennen. 90s Pop Station on Pandora. Adele. Fun. Mumford and Sons. We end the day with children’s music. We listen to Jewel (Childrens) Radio on Pandora, and it is the best. It is children’s music, lullaby types, that adult actually want to listen to, since it is mostly just calming music, not purely lullabies and rhyming songs. Along with all this music comes a whole ton of dancing. And throwing my daughter in the air. And getting thrown up on, if we dance right after she eats (lesson learned). All this dancing is clearly rubbing off on Rose; tonight, while I was making dinner, she was dancing in her high chair while eating an apple slice.

We have also been walking. Walking to the library. To the park. To Walmart (sigh). We walked around this evening, looking at Christmas decorations, and watching homes light up as people got home from work, and lit up their “Merry Christmas Y’all” Christmas lights (seriously, people, we are not in California anymore).

This is not to say that sometimes I am tempted to turn on the TV. My weakest moment is usually when we come home from a run, and I just want to stretch, watch TV, and have a baby climb over me. Instead, I turn on some music, stretch, sing, and watch my smiling baby girl. And that is a million times better than a re-run of the Kardashians that I’ve already seen thirteen times. And, like I promised, Rose is allowed to watch TV with her daddy. I’ve noticed, though, that he is more cautious about what they watch together. Instead of a recorded episode of Duck Dynasty, I’ve caught them watching We Bought a Zoo (actually, I am currently obsessed with this movie), and Megamind. Last night, when I kept her up a little late to have daddy cuddle time, I walked downstairs to see Rose curled up in her daddy’s arms, completely content watching The Walking Dead (ha, kidding again, they were watching Charlie Brown Christmas). So, although it is tempting to say “No tv. Not now, not ever,” when I look at Rose cuddled with her daddy on the couch, I know that it is their special time, which is way more important that some crazy idea that I might have. But, I have found, that no TV while Rose is awake is really helping me be more mindful of how we spend our days, and, in the end, mindfulness was really the point of cutting out TV in the first place.

Operation: No TV…?

The other day started out like any other. I woke up to the sound of my daughter cooing “dadadadada” over the baby monitor. I went into her room, where she was cruising along the sides of her crib. I picked her up, changed her diaper, nursed her, and we made our way downstairs, careful not to wake my husband or dog. I started the coffee, made my oatmeal, and put my daughter in her high chair with some cheerios, so I could eat my breakfast without having to worry about spilling hot coffee on my baby. Then, I turned on the TV. Normally, I turn on the Today Show in the morning, but this particular day, the TV was tuned to A&E, and a particularly riveting episode of Dog the Bounty Hunter was on. I didn’t change the channel. I sat and watched, half awake, waiting for the caffeine to take affect. Obviously, Rose was watching too, because one moment Dog the Bounty Hunter’s wife was pounding on a cement wall, taunting the suspect in a mocking tone; “I’m not on your property. I’m not on your property,” over and over and over. And then, the same scene played itself out in my living room. My eight-month old daughter began banging on her high chair, and in a high-pitched, mocking tone, making the same racket as the big-breasted, blonde woman on TV. I laughed, and told my husband. I even posted it on Facebook, adding that perhaps I should consider turning the television off when Rose was awake. But, I didn’t really mean it. And then, I did. Mean it, that is.

I grew up without TV. Oh, you too? No, seriously, I really grew up without TV. Maybe you weren’t aloud to watch TV during the week, or only for an hour a day, or some other rule imposed by your very media conscious parents. But, that is child’s play compared to what my siblings and I had. The only TV in our house when I was growing up was an old television, always a different set it seemed, and always a relic of a time long passed. And, we were not allowed to watch that old television. Oh, no. And, even if we wanted to, it was put in the coldest room in our house in the cold and snowy mountain town we grew up in; a room we lovingly and fittingly dubbed the “Cold Room.” Nobody would want to watch anything in that freezing room, where the heat was rarely turned on, and which regularly was below freezing (I’m just guessing, I really have no clue). One of our family friends frequently stayed in that icy tundra. He slept fully clothed, in a down sleeping bag, the only part of his body that showed through was his nose; just enough to allow him to breathe in that icy air. But, I digress. The point is, if we had been allowed to watch TV, we would have been banished to the Cold Room, where, as we were watching TV, we would have been taunted by the wall of books. In that cold room, my parents covered a wall entirely with a built-in bookshelf. So, as children, often, our only ventures into the cold room were to race across the room to grab a book or two off the shelves. I often (in my head) referred to it as the library, and told myself that one day I would have my own library in a room that was warm enough to sit and read among my books. To me, my own library seemed like the epitome of luxury. I suppose some children dream of a home theater  I dreamt of my own cozy library, walls lined with books, and a fire always burning in the fireplace. My point is, I grew up without television, and as a result, I adore reading. I get lost in books the way I see so many get lost in movies and TV shows. Today, I love me some TV. Love it. Honestly though? I get bored with it. I always end up on the computer, or distracted by housework, or yakking away to (and, I’m sure driving crazy) the person I’m watching TV with. And, often, I find myself thinking that really, reading a book would be much better.

In case you were doubting how serious my parents were about their television ban, this is a bumper sticker they had our white VW van. They were not kidding.

After our Dog the Bounty Hunter episode, I realized that I want a child who will spend her life with her nose stuck in a book. I want children that act out parts of stories, not the cartoons or insanely mind-numbing Disney shows that kids adore so. I want my daughter to look up to children in books. I want her to idolize Anne of Green Gables or Laura Ingalls Wilder (don’t you? I sure do), but not some eight-year old dressed like a trampy teenager on some Nickelodeon show. I want her to look forward to weekly library trips, or storytime at the bookstore. I want her to love the outdoors. Or, at least, if she’s anything like me, be happy to get inside, so she can play with dolls, build forts, read, and play pretend. It’s not hard for me to see how to accomplish this. When she’s awake, the TV is off. There is, however, one exception, everyday, and that is, that it will be on in the morning. It just seems to work best for the whole family. I can get my “news” from the Today Show. My husband can get his news from ESPN. But, we’re going to be mindful. Mindful of what we watch, and what it says to our daughter. Mindful of the fact that, even at eight months old, my little daughter’s mind is insanely impressionable. So far, it’s worked well. And, as much as I might like to do away with the morning TV, and maybe someday we might, I do love watching my husband cuddle with my daughter, while they watch ESPN or CBS cartoons before he leaves for work. Oh, and by the way, we’re still aloud to watch TV at night, just like my parents were ‘aloud’ to once us kids were tucked into bed at night (although, we do so in a perfectly warm and cozy room).

 

Annoying Things People Do On Facebook

Lately, this blog has been lacking in, well, posts. Which, I know, kinda takes away the point of having a blog. As always, life has gotten in the way of writing, and that’s okay. I certainly have a lot I can write about. I have a lot I WANT to write about. What I want to write about takes more courage than I think I have at the moment, and I think I will leave it for another day. Today, I want to go back to a subject I kind of addressed in this post (actually, now that I’ve written it, it isn’t really related… oh, well). Except, instead of Pinterest, today I am annoyed with Facebook. Keep in mind, I adore Pinterest, and although apparently all the cool kids have moved onto Twitter, I still spend a good amount of my life wasting time on Facebook. Perhaps it is because of how much time I spend on Facebook that I have come to become insanely annoyed with certain people. So, although I know that this will irritate some of you, I also know we can all relate. And, even though these are things that drive me totally freaking bonkers, I have to say, I am guilty of nearly all of them, in some form or another. Here is a list of things that people do on Facebook that drive me CRAZY:

– The daily status updates in November that people post about how ‘thankful’ there are for things in their lives. “I am so thankful that I have a warm place to live.” or “I am so thankful for my husband. He is the most amazing man in the world.” Barf. Seriously. The first one? It just makes everyone feel kinda bad that they aren’t thankful, and, what if someone doesn’t have a warm place to live? Ouch. Way to brag about your way awesome life. You know, with your warm house and amazing husband.

-Related to number two above: why do people have to post about their spouses all the time? Why do they have to say what an amazing person they married TEN TIMES A DAY?? Obviously you think your spouse is amazing; isn’t that why you married him or her? And, seriously, do you really find your spouse that amazing ALL THE TIME? That sounds EXHAUSTING. Seriously, I want to strangle my (amazing) husband about twelve times a day. Perhaps these posts are to remind themselves NOT to commit domestic violence on the person they love. Yeah, that must be it. And, if not, can you PLEASE stop posting about your amazing spouse and relationship? It makes me feel like a bad person.

-The posts that claim that people are having “the worst day of their life.” Really? You have a ten page paper for the grad school that your parents are paying for, you got a flat tire and AAA took twenty minutes to get there, and then (the real doozie) Grey’s Anatomy was a RERUN????? Poor baby. Maybe it is because I literally had the worst day of my life a few weeks ago, but suddenly, I am just so sick of these complainers… And, yes, I realize I am basically sitting here, being a complainer. Deal with it.

-And, the absolute WORST: when people play out their entire relationships in their Facebook status updates. It is especially bad when you are Facebook friends with both parts of the couple. Here’s what happens: they start out like in #2: they love their significant other so sososossosossoso much. OMG. Disgusting. Barf. Then, apparently, they get to the part where they kind of want to strangle them, and the posts about how much they love each other aren’t doing the trick anymore. So… they get in an argument in real life, and then, somehow, they have the energy to play the whole thing out on Facebook. I imagine these folks argue with their phones in their hand; “You are so stupid. Don’t ever, ever talk to her again. I know you like her, okay? So, just stop.” Then, before the other can come back, she holds up her finger, and types; Beethoven is such an asshole. Hello?? Hasn’t anyone heard of NOT talking to their ex-girlfriend’s mother???  Then, the fight continues, with poor Beethoven trying to defend himself, both in person; “Babe, whatever, its not a big deal, please chill out.” And, in Facebook; GRRRR. Women. All I wanted was some chili. Ex gfs mom made me some.  Can I help it if she has nice legs? Then, of course, the best part are the comments; Oh, giiiiirl, I feel ya- put that man in his place. He has no idea how good he gots it. And, his friends: duuude. She was a MILF. I’d eat her chili any day. Tell that biotch to back it up. This argument is, of course, fictional (I hope), and it goes back and forth until all parties are so tired of the whole thing that they get off Facebook, go eat some chili, sleep, and then wake up, and the cycle starts again; I am sooooooo lucky. Beethoveen is the best man in the whole worldddddddddd. He went and got me breakfast (a loaf of bread and peanut  butter- YUM!!!!!) I just love him so much, and I am so THANKFUL that I married this amazingggggg man!!!

Alright, I’ve got to stop there. Rose is waking up from her nap, and I’ve probably annoyed each and every one of you. SWEET. Rest assured that there are many, many, many more things that annoy me about people on Facebook. These are just the things that have annoyed me in the last thirty-four minutes.