It’s July 16th.
On July 1, I lost it and banned the kids from television.
On July 2, I was worried that I’d completely lost my mind. I knew I had made the right call, but I was plenty nervous about holding my ground. I called my parents to tell them of the ban, as they were on their way here for 5 days. They were completely supportive. We were so busy during their visit that we didn’t need the television.
It’s now July 16th and I couldn’t be more pleased with the decision.
It took two weeks of reprogramming, but Harper and Zane are now hitting their chores without complaining. Sure, there is a bit of a whine, but it hardly resembles the former tantrums that erupted when Harper, specifically, was asked to straighten her room. In fact, yesterday, when I asked her to clean her room, she disappeared. Upon checking up on her, I found hanging in her clean bedroom.
“Um, Harper, don’t you think you are forgetting something”, I teased.
“Mom. I put my clothes in the hamper and straightened my books and bed.”
“Yes, but your forgot to complain about it.”
She cracked a giggle, but I think she was secretly irritated with my humor.
Oh, and did I mentioned that Zane hasn’t asked for television even once? Not once.
Harper is a different story, but we’ve made an agreement that she can earn television for special movie nights or 30 minutes of Hannah Montana or That’s So Raven, (which, I, um, love), here and there.
So, proudly, I announce, that since July 1, Harper and Zane have only watched one episode of Hannah, one of Raven, and earned “The Wizard of Oz”. And this was a sacrifice on Harper’s part as she wanted to watch “Jump In”, (she’s in a boxing phase), but chose to go with Zane’s choice since I had a client upstairs and he was so very loudly expressing his disappointment over the possibility of watching Corbin Bleu again. (Let’s just mention right here, that the kids may get the opportunity to meet him next week when Justin opens for him in concert!) Compare this to the 1.5 hrs they used to watch daily, and we’re all celebrating this accomplishment and are definitely reaping the benefits.
For example, Zane built the most awesome structures tonight with his blocks while Harper read us a chapter of a Magic Treehouse book. In the middle of the chapter she stopped and screamed, “Oh! This is just so exciting!” Zane, listened as he built robots and, get this, the Stone Table from The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe, which he then cleverly “split” when “As-a-lan” (as he pronounces the lion) rose from the dead.
All of this came after a visit to the pool, which we were able to take in before the thunderstorm hit. Harper met up with Maya, Zane with Maya’s brother Alex, me with their mom, who I really enjoy, and George with the kids. He’s amazing. He deserves a post. Very soon.
We’ve been more active. The kids have taken to having more responsibility, even going above and beyond their lists at times, for which I reward with precious parking meter money. And most importantly, their responses to us have been so much more positive.
We’ll keep it up. We’ll save the television for family movie nights, or when Justin finally makes his debut on the Disney Channel. But until then, I’ll continue my fascinating conversations with Zane about what gifts Father Christmas brought Peter, Susan, and Lucy and why Edmund didn’t receive one, and will attempt to keep my little softball throwing, rugby playin‘, tennis ball hittin‘, gymnastic tumblin‘, swimmer, well fed through all her summer activities.
And sure, I’ll also hop on the couch and laugh with her during That’s So Raven. After all, if we just run this joint like Jamestown, “If you don’t contribute, you don’t get television”, we should be solid.