We've spent this past week in Hilton Head and it's been wonderful. The resort is great, the weather is great, the food has been great and if you could see Sofia swimming, you'd bust open from happiness.
So why the anxiety? We're on vacation, it makes no sense. That's the funny thing about anxiety; everything in your life could be great and you could still be wide awake and not sleeping because your brain won't turn off and you can't calm down. Wanna hear how ridiculous it is this time? Sure you do.
I'm having anxiety over TV. That's how stupid anxiety is; you'd think I could be freaking out over the economy or the environment or something worth freaking out over, but nope. This little episode is brought to you by TV.
Specifically, my daughter watches too much TV and it's my fault because I let it happen. I'm the one who downloaded PBS Kids to the iPad. I'm the one who allowed her to have Drew's old phone and had him put all the episodes of Yo Gabba Gabba on it. It is my fault that the kid wakes up and says "May I see PBS Kids on the iPad?" "Mommy, want Sofia's phone." That was all me, and I'm kicking myself now because I can't sleep.
See, she wakes up before I do and on the weekends, Drew gets up with her so I can 'sleep in.' I put that in quotes because it's not like I really sleep, because mere seconds after the both of them are up, I hear either the big TV, or the iPad or her phone, showing whichever episode of Gabba or Martha Speaks or whatever movie he's put on for her.
I tell myself that I can't complain, that I should relish the few extra minutes I get to 'sleep.' But I don't, because all I can think about is how the kid doesn't freaking blink when she's watching TV. How her brain is turning to mush, how she's not being engaged, how she's probably being over-stimulated and of course, how I'm being selfish because I'm choosing to sleep when I should be up and out of bed and reading to her, or playing blocks with her, or coloring, or playing with her dollhouse, anything besides letting her watch TV.
And that's why I can't sleep - because I know that she'll wake up before me, that Drew will wake up with her and before she even knows what's happening, she'll have her phone in her hand and Yo Gabba Gabba all cued up. And it's my fault.
I mean, it's not 100% my fault - Drew could not give her the phone or the iPad. He's her parent too; he makes that choice too. It's just that he doesn't see the problem with her watching TV. He doesn't think it's that big a deal. But DUDE, the kid doesn't BLINK. And there is no study anywhere that says that screen time is good for you.
I searched Google Images for 'kids watching tv' and the results
were depressing. Nothing but a bunch of little zombie kids. It didn't do much for my anxiety.
And then of course there's the accompanying article that came
with this fun little image.
Yet, we're the ones who just bought a bigger TV less than a month ago. And I'll be the first one to put a movie on for Sofia when I have to do laundry because there is literally no clean underwear in the house or I have to get dinner started because Drew will be home any minute. I'm sure there are two-year-olds out there who can entertain themselves with books and toys and whatnot, but my kid is not one of them. I can set her up with her markers and paper and she'll play with them - for ten seconds. Again, maybe not all toddlers are that way, but kid has the attention span of a gnat. So, if I don't want her watching TV I have to stop what I'm doing and find another activity that might engage her, which if successful, will buy me about three minutes.
I've also tried to have her help me. I try to get her to fold laundry with me, which is a big fat joke. I'll give her a pile of washcloths, hoping that will occupy her long enough that I can get a few things folded.
Minute one: I can get the diaper covers and inserts sorted so I can
stuff the diapers.
Minute three: It's way more fun to knock over the piles and take the
inserts out of the diapers and then run away.
It's the same thing at dinner time. I'll pull her tower over to the sink and turn on the water, hoping that'll give me a few minutes to get stuff started. Except, we have one of those nozzle faucets and Sofia can pull it out, which means water all over her, the tower and the floor, so I have to stop and clean it up before she slips in it. Then we try non-water activities like sorting beans in a muffin tin, until she dumps the beans all over the floor and I have to clean it up, and aren't I supposed to be making dinner?
So I give up and hand over her phone and she happily runs to the sofa, plops down and zombies out. And I hate myself.
This is from the blog Daughter of the Sun and this is her daughter.
The caption says "Where would you rather have your child? In a field of
wild plants and flowers or in front of a television screen?"
I don't know that I'd have the courage to live like they do, but I sure do love the idea.
I mean, I'd love to live off the grid and be one with nature for real, but seriously?
My first thought is 'Nope! I'd get way too hairy, way too fast.'
And that's the truth.
But for real, I'm in love with that blog.
I flirt with the idea of doing a 30-day TV cleanse. No TV or iPads or phones, for any reason, at all. Nothing. I don't know how I'd get anything done, but I'd sure love to try. I've gone a day without TV and I'm embarrassed to say that I was sweating by the end of the day, telling myself that we went the whole day without TV, it's ok to let her watch one show. It's hard work being the sole entertainment for an active toddler, and not that I'm not up for it, but geez. We play dollhouse, we play blocks, we read, we eat, we go outside, we chase, we look for bugs, we go inside, we change diapers, we color, we ride the tricycle, we ride in the toy car, we play with stickers.... and I look at the clock and two hours have gone by. There are eight more hours to go. Then there's tomorrow, and it's all the same books and toys and games and stickers and how in the world are you supposed to make them fresh and interesting?
I read the stuff that says your kids should be able to entertain themselves, but I'm not entirely sure they're talking about toddlers, or that they're talking about toddlers who are only children and the mom stays at home, because expecting Sofia to play by herself while I'm in the next room and I'm waaaay more interesting than anything she's got going on? It doesn't happen.
I'm pretty sure I'm doing something wrong, but I'm not sure what it is. I just know that it's six in the morning on my vacation and I can't sleep because I don't want her watching TV tomorrow and I'm most certainly going to be made out to be the bad guy because of it. I just loooove being Bad Cop, btw. It makes me so proud to hear Drew all loud and over-dramatic going, "NO SOFIA. YOU CAN'T WATCH TV BECAUSE YOUR MOTHER DOESN'T WANT YOU TO." I feel so good when I get the privilege of whisper fighting with Drew and it's so much fun to be like "Turn off the GD tv! Be a fucking parent!" Oh yeah. Those are the moments I look forward to.
Well anyway, I got this off my chest. And I'm sure I'm going to get an earful when a certain someone reads it, but whatever. I need to speak to my people and I need to hear from you: Have you ever done a TV cleanse? How hard was it? Did your kid get the DTs from withdrawal? Would you die without TV? Because don't get me wrong - I love my programs. Supernatural is my favorite show and I love zoning out at the end of the day with some good trash tv - Million Dollar Listing New York is a good one. I love any and all design shows and could spend days watching them, so I'm definitely not on anybody's high horse. I'm just one addict talking to another.
Ok, I'm going to try and get some sleep so I can get up when Sofia does and try this whole 'standing in a field of flowers' thing. Wish me luck, and thanks for listening. You're the best.