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.