We don’t really watch tv. Why not? Well for me personally:
I was involved with a dude who had this enormous Manstrocity Entertainment Center. It took up our entire living room wall. It was filled with movies, and in the middle sat a gigantic screen. That screen was on for the duration of our relationship (which sucked anyways but that’s another story). He coerced me into getting a DVR, which I promptly became addicted to. I recorded shows I otherwise never would’ve watched. Every spare moment I had ended up being time I plopped in front of the television and spaced out. This was all way pre-baby, pre-Gabe, a lifetime ago it seems.
When that relationship finally ended, the Manstrocity left and I got rid of the DVR. Without cable, and only the internet to entertain me, I became an internet junkie. Six pack of Stella, cigarettes and my laptop, I would be content for DAYS (of course I had work in between) but this was back before Facebook, only Myspace and illegal downloading of music (who me?) kept me enthused. Ahhh it was good times.
Fast forward to meeting Gabe, and our party days. We spent hours listening to music in front of my computer, talking and throwing back beers. He felt the same way I did about tv, only his vices were The Simpsons and Family Guy. He liked those shows. I still watched Lost and some episodes of random things online when I found myself bored with the internet.
So when we moved in together, with my big box television set, we purchased some rabbit ears in order to get College Football games during the fall. It’s either that, or Jeopardy that entertains us now, but even so- we rarely turn on the boob tube. And people think we’re crazy. What do we do instead? I still spend time on the internet. I also spend a lot of face time with my kid. I really don’t like the idea of him watching television at all- but I”m not a nazi about it, and I have put in a Baby Einstein video once or twice– though those videos make me feel like I should’ve eaten mushrooms or something. Weird stuff! And for the most part I noticed that the DVDs I own (got as a gift from people who don’t know us well) just show toys…playing with themselves. I’m not sure I’d be entertained by this as a kid/baby. I am pretty sure I’d rather play with the toys myself if I were a kid…?
Anyways, I’m not a crazy person. I know he watches tv at the sitters and is mesmerized by it. He’s only 6 months old, so he hasn’t started asking for the things he sees on commercials, or (thank god) started quoting Dora or anything. And I’m not so opposed to television that I think kids don’t learn SOMEthing from it. I don’t know, it just seems unnecessary.
So I’ve read all sorts of things about how bad it is. I’ve read conflicting evidence about television and obesity, ADHD, all sorts of awful things. Just like MOST stories/articles, etc on that stuff I believe there are a lot of variables that go into making a kid nuts, fat and hyperactive. Maybe tv is one of them, maybe not. I just know that tv made me fat and boring. It made me way too interested in other people’s lives instead of my own. So we don’t watch it. Yes we get bored. Yes we supplement with episodes of things online and yes I watch Lost when I get the chance. But tv isn’t ever going to be a fixture in our lives. That’s the goal anyways.
So I started reading this book, “Into the Minds of Babes” thinking that I’d get some good support for my No TV theory…but so far it’s not telling me a whole lot that I didn’t already assume. What DOES kind of bug me is the whole marketing-to-kids by businesses…which I’ve read more about in “Buy Buy Baby” and it just disgusts me.
So I don’t know- I’m not a crazy person, I know he’ll watch tv and we’ll probably have DVDs we eventually rely on so I can get in the shower or make dinner without having to entertain the kid. But for now we still have it off most of the time, and it’s not FOR him, it’s just our choice. Whenever we do turn it on, we’re often amazed by the idiots on there anyways. We encounter enough idiots in real life that we choose not to watch them on tv. We’re not hippies, we’re not even partially crunchy granola types. We just don’t pay for cable, nothing that interesting is on, so we don’t watch. And people (even family members) think we’re crazy because of it.
So meh, whatever. Tv, SchmeeVee.
*EDIT* I should also mention that I don’t really judge people who watch television, nor do I think that people who have kids and watch tv neglect their children by getting less face time. It’s just a personal preference of ours’, that’s all.
So I’m at work 20 minutes early. Simon was fading fast at home and rather than have him fall asleep, then wake him up to put him in his carseat all cranky, I got him to the sitter a little early so she could have him sleep there. Once I dropped him off I realized that I too could use a nap. Driving to work I reminded myself the same thing I’ve been reminding myself for a few weeks now: you need to write a blog about being a working mom. There are so many things I have to say about it. Much more than I have time to mention here. HOWEVER– in broad strokes:
Being a working mom is hard. I don’t doubt for a MOMENT that being a stay at home mom isn’t as hard in different ways. But being a working mom makes the time that I spend with Simon…special. I want to play with him as often as I can. Sure, it infringes upon my own “free time” but I will spend an hour on the floor watching him roll from side to side because I know he’s got to go to bed soon…and then I’m off to work only 20 minutes later…ugh. My mom didn’t work. I often wonder how she didn’t lose her mind. FOUR kids. FOUR. And she was trying to keep the house clean (for the record I gave up on having a clean house on August 7th 2009).
Technically I only spend 37 hours a week at work (or that’s what I get paid for). Add another hour per day for lunch…and then the hour getting there and back (half hour each way) that’s 47 hours. Then a half hour of talk time and getting ready/dropping off at the sitter time…it all adds up to be quite a bit of time surrounding work.work.work. I’m lucky that I don’t THINK too much about work (in a negative way) outside of work. So I can easily focus on my family…but still. It’s a lot of time.
All of that being said, I went to school to have the job that I do, and I love it. It’s the most fulfilling work I’ve ever done, and I truly feel lucky every day for having the job that I do. Days go fast, I learn something new every day. The basis of my job is to provide EQUAL service to everyone, which forces me to be open, reminds me to be non judgmental (doesn’t always work) but I am constantly amazed by the mini-ah-ha moments I have each and every day. I love it.
At the same time, being in the library also exposes me to the moms that don’t work. I’m sure some of them didn’t make this choice, it’s what they have to do. It doesn’t stop me from sometimes wishing I had that option. Maybe not full time at home mom, but part time at home mom, that would be nice. I see the toddlers running around and their obviously exhausted mothers running after them. I know they have to be tired and part of them has to wish they had more time with adults. Still though, the grass is always greener on the other side.
I’m lucky to have some mornings a week with Simon, and I’m lucky that he doesn’t have to be in day care or with a sitter as much as a lot of other kids/babies do. I still get jealous of the sitters, jealous of the at home moms, and then am appreciative of the time I have at work doing GOOD work. It’s just so back and forth.
We’re not destitute. Many people live on one of our salaries. I have student loans to pay back, so it’s not an option if we wanted one of us to stay home..but even if that were the case, I know some people do it because they believe it’s the best thing for their kid…for one parent to be home. Maybe it is, I don’t know.
But I do think that I’m a better mom because I have my work-life. It’s finding the right balance and striking that chord that makes everything work out ok so far. I hope we’re doing the right thing…but for now I think we are.
Simon’s favorite things (of late):
- Flipping over to his belly whenever we lay him down…including when we’re trying to change him.
- Looking at books.
- Scooting around on his belly backwards.
- Laying his face into the carpet/bed and yelling into it.
- Chewing on everything in sight.
- Hearing us say Ma ma ma ma, Da da da da da, or his very favorite Ba ba ba ba ba..he loves any B sounds. (Boo, baby, bottle, book)
- Grabbing at our noses. (This is why I have a scab on mine…he needs his nails cut.)
- Pointing with his pointer finger at things, including his nose/mouth.
- Looking in the mirror and yelling or smiling.
- Kicking as fast and hard as he can, especially on hard surfaces when he’s laying down, so it makes a stomping sound and sounds like it hurts his heels.
- Zerbert kisses on the insides of his thighs and in his neck rolls.
- Being naked.
- Putting his bare feet together sole to sole like he’s meditating.
- Eating any kind of food. Really, anything so far. He’s tried peas, carrots, sweet potatoes, green beans, cereal (rice and whole grain) bananas. He likes them all. And I’ve MADE them all (except the cereal).
Dear sweet baby son of mine:
Today was my day off, as I worked both Saturday and Sunday. You spent both of those days being absolutely easy, sweet and precious playing with your dad. Napped your normal 3 naps, laughed and played, and were just all around fun to be around (from what I was told).
Today however, you were not having any of it. You teetered back and forth between being slap-happy and giddy…to absolutely pissed. You only napped for ONE hour total (if that) which just exacerbated your mood when you were awake. No position was satisfactory for long. You whined. You arched your back. You just started doing this whiny lay-your-head-back-and-go-limp thing that I don’t quite understand. You drooled, you chewed, you ate, you puked, you pooped…all of the things you do on a normal day, only today it was worse for some reason- and you would NOT nap.
I laid you in our bed (as we do) with pillows all around you, socks on hands. I laid with you for a while (as I do) and you kicked. You kicked and flailed about. I left the room thinking that perhaps my presence was distracting you (sometimes it does). So you just yelled in the bed until I gave up and came to get you. Then I rocked you in your room, while you squirmed and wanted nothing of it. I placed you in your bed, where you flailed about like a crazy person, doing the running man and waving your arms up and down. I was exhausted just watching you. Again I left the room. Socks on your hands, sleep sheep on, blanket over your head….to no avail. You just didn’t want to nap.
So we tried your swing. I stripped you down. This just made you more excitable. You would not, could not settle down. I caved and fed you more. I caved and gave you Tylenol. I changed you. You still, STILL would not nap.
So I gave up. And we did the best to appease you during your waking hours, feeding you STILL MORE and I cooked a nice dinner. I finally put you in your high chair as we sat down to eat and your dad said, “You’re going to feed him again?” and I said, “He’s sitting there while we eat dinner.” And yes, we fed you some more.
After dinner I took you straight upstairs for bathtime. Though because you had become possessed by some sort of squirmy demon today, I knew a bath would be tricky, I decided to take one with you, so I could hold onto you more easily (yea, like a wet fish). This was absolute bliss for you, for 10 minutes, until you because furious because I would not let you go, and swim by yourself in the 6 inches of water. I would not let you swim towards the faucet so you could touch the rusty knobs. This was torture, and immediately we were both wet and naked on the bathroom floor, and I hurriedly put on a robe and tried to get you to calm down.
In your room I put on our Bedtime with the Beatles CD and let you lay naked on the floor, unwrapping yourself from your towel, attempting to crawl towards the space heater (Safety first!). I warmed up the lotion and tried to slowly massage your chubby little butt into submission and sweetly tell you that it was almost time for bed…shhhhh shhhhh shhhh….
And then we got out the bottle. I can’t believe you were still hungry, but you killed the whole thing. I rocked you and sang, and you eventually gave in, limp in my arms after a long hard day of me trying to get you there…you finally.fell.asleep.
And I just rocked. And rocked. And stared at you thinking of how beautiful you are to me, and how no matter how frustrated I am with you, I will always return to being blindly in love with you. Everything about you…your face, your personality, your strong will, all of it…it’s just much easier to appreciate when you’re sleeping in my arms, that’s all.
So thank you son, for eventually falling asleep. I imagine that in the next week or so a white sparkly tooth will pop up as a telltale explanation of your fussiness and being out-of-sorts. Or, this day was just my preparation for upcoming toddler days and teenager days. It’s ok. Eventually, you will have to fall asleep. And that’s when I win, boy. I. Win.
Unless you inherit Uncle Brett’s insomnia (in addition to all of his other physical traits you seem to have acquired)…in which case I will be taking short weekend trips to visit friends and family and leaving you with dad for those fussy days.
I love you sweetie. Thanks for my Valentine’s Day card and chocolates. You knew exactly what I wanted.