The other day, a friend told me that her toddler-inhabited house is a TV free zone. I listened to this news with admiration and fear.
Before I had children, I remember thinking in my oh so knowledgeable state, that no child of mine would watch TV. Ever. Oh, go on then, maybe the Snowman on Christmas day. Fast forward four years and ten months and I don’t know what we, (I) would do without it. It pacifies, calms amuses and distracts and is priceless when all other resources, especially me are sapped dry.
I am not condoning plonking the children in front of the TV and doing a runner, although there are days when this may be tempting, hopefully the consequences ever so slightly outweigh it.
Of a day, we probably do about 87 gazillion activities ranging from drawing a picture, until there are tears, because F`s glitter pen “accidentally” strayed onto O’s Star Wars masterpiece and who can write their name the best when weeing (yes, this takes a good 2 minutes). Occasionally, we dabble in the world of cardboard castles , until the sword wielding knight throws a screaming strop , because the plant watering pirate has flooded the fort and all that is left is a big soggy cardboard mess. That leaves approximately 8 hours, twenty six minutes and four seconds left of the day to get through, and that’s when we turn it on , calm down and forget all about feuds for at least a bit, until somebody gets clobbered with the remote or lo and behold, one of them sits too close to the other.
O’s teacher once told me that she was impressed that he knew about Photosynthesis; Big thanks to the Lorax and Cbeebies for teaching him that, I failed GCSE Biology and still get a bit muddled between organisms and orgasms.
A few weeks ago after swimming, there was a MONUMENTAL meltdown, the stuff that makes Supernanny rub her hands in glee, it was hideous. We got home frazzled from crying, reasoning and shouting. On came the Gruffalo, there was blissful silence, we all calmed down, until O declared that the mouse was really silly and somebody needed to tell him he is not scary at all, it’s because there is a great hulking monster behind him.
SIGNS OF TV INDUCED BEHAVIOUR
- On discovering our freezer had frozen over, O exclaims “Wow, Ice is my life now!” (Frozen)
- On completing any given task, both O & F would break out into “We did it , We did it, Lo hizimos….” a la DORA ( Why, oh Why does she only know how to SHOUT, somebody needs to tell her to pipe down.)
- A friend asked O where burglars go after they are caught. F shouts “prison!”, O shouts “The clink! They go to the clink!” (Bananaman, the best superhero that ever there was.)
- “Hang on a minute!” said v-e-r-y slowly in the manner of a frustrated park keeper (Mr Tumble)
- Burping! We had managed to last this long without them knowing about burping. Blinking Shrek! Apparently now it is hilarious to burp, the louder and the longer, the better.
- There was a phase where during lunchtime, O would peg it screaming “Somebody needs HELP!” (Sportacus , Lazytown) then come back proclaiming it was all sorted, wiping his brow.
- I think it’s brilliant that they have learnt some basic Makaton signs thanks to Mr Tumble, although there is a lot of improvisation. “You sign! Mummy’s wobbly boobs!” “You sign! Poo Bum!” “You sign! Ginormous willy!”
- Waking up to “Good Morning Swashbuckler! … I want to see you marching or you’ll have to pork peh pank!” (It took me a while, to realise that he was saying walk the plank).
In his poem Television, Roald Dahl basically tells us all off for letting our children watch TV as we are rotting their brains. My pre-parent self would have nodded vigorously and probably framed it, but my slightly disheveled parent-self thinks that it is in fact a thing of genius and nothing to feel guilty about. As long as it doesn’t replace you as the key carer and allows you all to breathe and a luxurious moment to take that slightly congealed cup of two day old coffee out of the microwave, then bring it on in all its goggling glory.