It’s the first day of TV Turnoff Week at our elementary school, an annual event to encourage students and their families to unplug and get moving, thinking, and doing stuff that doesn’t involve sitting like a zombie in front of electronic media.
I love my electronic media — sorry, I do. But I agreed to the week, forcing a couple of uninterested parties in the house to join in. Because yes, it’s all a big time-suck, the TV, the internet, the Wii, the DS, all of it. The funny thing is that while we do use the TV every day, all the other things are limited or outright banned during the school week anyway, so turning off the TV didn’t seem like a big deal. Well, for the kids, that is, who may watch a few minutes before breakfast, after they stumble downstairs still glazed with sleep. That’s the extent of their TV watching most days. Let it be gone.
My TV watching is more important. Like my children, I stumble downstairs still glazed with sleep, though I do my stumbling in the pre-dawn hours. I turn on the coffee and then the TV, every day hoping to actually catch the hard news in the first fifteen minutes of that half-hour’s broadcast before commencing with my day. I usually don’t, though, because I just can’t ever seem to get up when I should. So I sit, coffee in hand, like a zombie, watching the second half of the news, which is mostly commercial for car dealerships or furniture stores, the news sprinkled in between, including the (snore) sports. The day’s weather forecast is my cue to get up and get moving.
So, yeah, it hardly seems like a challenge to give that up for a week, right? Wrong. I need those 15 minutes of peace and solitude, because once my children are awake, bedlam begins. Bickering, poking each other, spurts of energy that involve footballs and couch jumping, all before 7 a.m. Those first 15 minutes of my day give me enough serenity to deal with the next hour or so of chaos before the bus comes. And while I talked the talk, I sure as anything was not going to give it up for TV Turnoff Week. So there.
(Ray, by the way, thinks my morning routine is silly, preferring to use his snooze button a few times before heading off to the bathroom to shave and shower. I remind him that me with a razor before a cup of coffee is just asking for a trip to the ER. Knowing well my lack of dexterity with sharp objects, he has no choice but to agree with the wisdom of my “caffeination before interaction” approach to the day.)
As it happened, though, this morning I did not watch anything. Something is wrong with our DirectTV connection on the downstairs TV. No news for me today. I had to go through the awful rigamarole of starting my computer! Getting on the internet! Reading the news and weather on line! Imagine the horror!
The kids did only slightly better. Ellie and Mitzi opted to sleep late for a few minutes. Cooper was distraught because he never gets to be in charge of the remote (he’s usually the last to get up) and he was missing his big chance. Oh, the humanity. The fact we were all still suffering that lost hour of sleep didn’t help our moods – nor did the fact that because of that lost hour we were waking up in the dark again. Hardly energy boosting, daylight savings.
Of course we all survived, grumbling aside. But it’s only day one, and not even noon. How committed will we be? And by we, I mean, me. I’m wondering what will happen after lunch, when I usually let the little girls watch a show for “quiet time,” that blessed period which used to be for napping when the kids were younger. Ahh, glorious quiet time. Will I be strong in my resolve? Will I cave and let them turn on Crashbox so I can close my eyes for a few minutes to combat my Monday exhaustion? (I mean, it’s only fair, since Joanna, being in preschool, never signed up for this event….see, already I’m wobbly.)
Oh, I’m quite sure my children can survive a week without television. But, can I?