Ever consider canning your tube? You know that square or rectangle magnet-like box that sits in the corner of your family room. The one that sucks you in and turns you into a couch potato zombie. Yes, that would be the one, with all its misleading shows and commercials, and there’s never a shortage of those annoying commercials.
I remember quite vividly the days of our family life with television. The morning routine of getting everyone up and ready for school, only to find that instead of brushing their teeth or making their bed, the kids are stuck like glue to the TV set begging for just a few more minutes of The Power Rangers or Ninja Turtles…Ugh.
Let’s not forget the after school shows. I would be so happy to see that yellow bus pull up in front of our house, the kids smiling faces, to hear about their day, only, wait a minute, where’d everybody go? They blew right past me and headed to something “more interesting”…Hello.
How about some good, fun family time together after dinner and before bed time; anyone up for a game of Parcheesi? Oh, I forgot. MTV’s on. So much for Parcheesi…Hmmm.
The time had come. Time to say farewell to that blasted brain cell destroyer. Could we survive? You bet. The transition was shocking to the kids at first, to say the least, but before long, we started to actually communicate with each other and it felt so good. Sure they missed their shows and sure they didn’t know all the latest catchy ads. But you know what? It didn’t hurt.
The morning routine now kind of goes something like this. Everyone up and ready for school. Few extra minutes, great, let’s get some homework accomplished or how about reading the newspaper…now there’s an idea.
Here comes that yellow bus. Hurray, they notice me! This is a good time for some outdoor activities and I’m even invited to play. They actually have time to tell me what went on in school today…even look forward to it, I think.
How about that close family time together after dinner and before bed. Step aside MTV, it’s time for a game of cards and sometimes even Parcheesi…imagine that.
On a more serious note, research shows that children age 2 to 17 watch an average of 3 to 4 hours of TV per day, or approximately 28 hours each week. By the time children complete elementary school, the average child will witness more than 100,000 acts of violence on TV, including 8,000 murders. These numbers double to 200,000 acts of violence and 16,000 murders by the time they graduate from high school. Children who watch a lot of TV have a greater risk of obesity, increased alcohol and drug use, and earlier involvement in sexual activity.
Overall, children who watch 3 to 4 hours of TV per day spend less time on school work, have poorer reading skills, play less well with friends, and have fewer hobbies. These statistics are quite shocking.
With the hustle and bustle of life these days, and we all know how that goes, the importance of family time tends to take a backseat, unfortunately. Quality time together is so important; you’ll find that if you stop and listen to one another, you just may learn something you didn’t know before, like your sons science project came in first place at school, or your daughter aced her last math test. You’ll also find that you have more time to accomplish things in life for yourself and for your family instead of caving in and becoming that couch potato zombie.
Whatever you choose, regarding your tube, even if it’s just for a weekend, or every now and then, simply unplug it. Take a break. You just may learn something new about your kids and who knows…you may even like it.
I gaze out the back kitchen window to see you sitting peacefully under a maple tree, while the leaves are gently floating to the ground. A robin has perched on a limb and captured your thoughts. I watch as you smile and reach towards the sky.
I peek out the back door and call to you. You turn to me and our eyes meet.
I notice your black, satiny hair, and how it glistens in the sun. Arms up and open, you glide as light as a feather into my welcoming arms.
I stand and turn to go into our home with you beside me. You hold out your tiny hand and I take it into mine. I remember the day when we first met, not that long ago. I had waited many months for that special day. To see your face, hear you laugh, and to hold you in my arms.
You will not remember your journey home as you were very young at the time. It was a very memorable day for me and will not be forgotten.
As we are walking together you look up and ask, “Mama, does that birdie have a mama?”
We stop and I kneel down next to you and answer, “Yes sweetheart. I’m
certain that birdie does have a mama and I would bet that its mama is very close by.”
“I hungry, mama. Do you think the birdie is hungry?” she asks, squinting in the afternoon sun.
“I am quite sure that the birdie’s mama will feed its baby birdie. Just the way I feed you when you are hungry. Now, how about some lunch for my hungry little girl.”
As we are eating our lunch I know that your inquisitive mind is at work when you ask, “Mama, why did you choose me to be your little girl?”
I am speechless at first. I rub my hand over your smooth hair and reply, “Angel, I prayed for you to find me and I asked God everyday to help you and here you are. Mama has been truly blessed.”
“Will the other kids find a mama soon?”
Her concern for the other children tells me just how compassionate my thoughtful little daughter is and I am a very proud mama at this moment.
“Sweetie, you are very kind to think about all the other children. I pray, in my heart, that they too, will find a mama and a loving home.”
I watch as she continues to take a bite of her sandwich as she swings her legs, rhythmically, back and forth under the table oblivious to my infatuation.
This child of mine so gentle and innocent. I only wish for good things in your life and that as you grow you may experience the beauty that surrounds you day by day.
Just like the robin perched in the maple tree.
What are the holidays like for a Mom of five? 🙂
“What Would The Holidays Be Without The Boys?”
© 2005 Paula J. Schmitt, All Rights Reserved.
I just love the holidays. There is something magical about this time when you have little boys. I don’t know what it is. Could it be the pitter patter of my angel’s footsteps (more like the sound of a buffalo stampede, but ok)? Could it be the way my boys’ eyes twinkle and their loving smiles (this usually only occurs when they want something, but no biggie)? Or could it be the way they say, “I Love You, Mommy” that just sets my heart a flutter?
I couldn’t imagine the holidays without my boys. Take for example the month of February when, ahhhh, love is in the air. The Valentine cards we fill out for friends at school – Mooommmmmmyyy, do I haaaaaaave to do this again this year? The sweet chocolates, my personal favorite -oh, you say you are missing some pieces from your Whitman’s sampler? Well, uh, I have no idea which one of your brothers would have taken them.
Come March we wear our green for St. Patty’s Day. This is requisite as the boys are part Irish from their daddy’s side of the family. While green is not my best color, I love to become Irish myself on this day as I magically turn into the Julia Childs of my own kitchen. The children follow their noses to the delicious aroma and rush to see what Mommy is preparing for their supper. My youngest takes one look at the half cooked corn beef brisket and announces, “I’m going to McDonald’s for dinner tonight. I hear they have green Chicken Nuggets.” That’s when my middle son begins checking out the cabbage and poking it with a fork, “I’m going with you.”
Then spring is in the air and Easter arrives. Such a lovely season! It’s time for that big, old, floppy bunny to come fill our baskets with goodies and my house with that damned plastic grass that still shows up in October. I remember when my oldest son began to ask questions about the big, old floppy bunny. “Mommy, how does the Easter bunny know which candy I like?” Ahem. “Well, it’s like this my darling. The Easter bunny is a very smart bunny … he thinks just like your Mommy.” Enough said.
In the summertime, we all look forward to the very colorful (and very loud) 4th of July celebration. This is a fabulous time of year to be outside with the family as long as you don’t mind the bugs and intense sweating that attracts them. We love to be patriotic, play with sparklers and have a barbecue, although I usually spend most of my time hoping the boys don’t burn themselves and that my husband doesn’t burn the chicken – both Independence Day traditions in our home.
Summer passes in a haze of sweat and mosquito bites and soon we are all looking forward to the creepy holiday. Halloweeeeennn. My guys love being scary (what’s new?). We’ve had everything from Aladdin to the Grim Reaper. Typical with boys and men, even pumpkin carving turns into a sporting event. Whose jack o’lantern is the most ghoulish? Who can scoop the guts out and break last year’s speed record? Who can spit a pumpkin seed the farthest? Personally, my favorite part of this holiday is the trick or treating. Not so much the hours of door to door begging, but the part when the night’s over and we are back in our safe and cozy home. “OK everyone; let’s see what goodies you scored this year!” It’s not philanthropy that motivates my actions. It’s a ###### junkie mentality – I’m addicted to sugar and there is only one fix I’m interested in, a pile of miniature candy bars. Unfortunately, my boys are all addicts too and we immediately turn into a pile of grasping, desperate, slobbering junkies as we mud wrestle for the last Tootsie Roll.
Late in the fall we celebrate Turkey Day (Gobble Gobble). I spend my entire day wearing an apron, slaving away in the kitchen, only to have my boy’s nit pick their way through the meal. “What’s the green stuff, Moooommmmy? You know I don’t like green.” (Your face will soon be turning green after I get my hands around your neck!)
Then there is the wonderful aroma around the dinner table. No, not Mr. Turkey and not even the squishy squash. I’m talking smells from the male gender as they all begin to “express” their enjoyment of the meal. Oh, now that one was silent but deadly, PLEASE! Pppppfffffffttttttt. Do we REALLY need to do that right now, it’s Thanksgiving?!? (I tell you, it’s more than just looks in how they take after their farther – er, I mean father.) Don’t even look under the table. After the meal, there is more food on the floor than there was on the plates. Well, except for the pies. (Hey, save some for me).
Jingle bells, jingle bells … ahhh, the Christmas spirit. I think this is my boys’ favorite holiday of the year. I know it’s mine. Everyone is so peaceful (and broke). All the lights and decorations are just glistening (as will be my eyes at the electric bill). The snow is so white and beautiful (flu season, back to the doctor, AGAIN!).
The joy of giving has got to be the best feeling at this time of year and I try to instill this in my boys. “Oh, honey, you SHOULDN’T have!” (Really, you shouldn’t have. Didn’t I get one of these spatula sets last Christmas?) The wrapping paper EVERYWHERE. (I was up till midnight wrapping all these gifts! @##@%$&%%#@). Baking and icing the cookies. “Mommy, try not to burn the bottom of all the cookies again this year, OOOOOKKKKKK?” Smile. Just keep smiling.
The last special holiday we celebrate as a family is New Year’s Eve. The snacks, the noise, the New Year’s toast, the noise, being together to bring in the New Year, the noise, noise, noise. My guys are a natural at ringing in the New Year. (And afterwards, my ears are ringing for days).
OK, OK. What I really want to say here is this: “Thank you God for blessing me, over the holidays and every day, with my healthy, active, loving and adorable BOYS.”
“You are holding a special place in heaven for me, right?”
“Sideline Survival Strategies from an MVP (Mom with Vast Patience)”
By Paula Schmitt, The All Sports Mom
Author of Living In A Locker Room: A Mom’s Tale Of Survival In A Houseful Of Boys (2005)