& a manifesto: the idiot box

First, a brief preamble.

I’m completely aware that one of the silliest things a parent can hear is someone without kids talking about how they’re going to raise their kids. It’s still not going to stop me. In fact, I’m partly writing this to future me—probably about nine months to a year from now—who can look back over these in his free time (ha!) and laugh at the silly, naïve schmuck who’d say such silly, stupid things. He can look back and see exactly what went out the window and when. Maybe I’ll write something about it at that point. Future Me, you’re welcome—both for the laughs and the idea for a post.

And now:

A Manifesto of the Uninformed

Part 1: Television

We’ll start my foray into clueless soapboxing with an area of consternation for some people: television. Specifically, kids watching the television.

First off, this is an area where Karli and I agree as far as Squatch is concerned, so that helps. And it’s one of the first things we came to a quick agreement on as far as child-rearing. We want it off. As much as humanly possible, we want it off. If it means removing the television to our room so that it’s not a constant presence, then so be it.

For most of our married life, we haven’t had cable. The only reason we have it now is because it’s supplied free with our rent. But we don’t watch it that much now as it is. So hopefully that’s a good step one toward our no TV goal. If we don’t have it on, then the kid won’t have it on, right?

“Oh, but you’ll want it on,” you say. “Your kid will want it on, and they’ll whine and cry, then you’ll want it on. You’ll be happy to hear Dora and Diego and those damn Wonder Pets if your kid is quiet and occupied.”

And maybe your right. Maybe this is the first thing I’ll look back on as a sleep-deprived parent and mock heartily. But this is where we’ve drawn a line in the sand. And not seeing Squatch staring slack-jawed and hazy-eyed at a colorful, manic buffoon (one that isn’t its father) will be a reward in itself.

One day, Squatch will return from visiting a friend, saying, “We watched this dimwit girl ask dumb questions that nobody answered for about 15 minutes before I got bored and we went outside to play. I think her name was Donna or something.” On that day, Karli and I will hold our heads high knowing we’ve done our jobs. Yeah, it’s a stupid dream, but it’s a dream. Stop laughing, it’s really gonna happen.

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2 thoughts on “& a manifesto: the idiot box

  1. No no, not a dumb idea at all. Some kids I used to babysit only got to watch TV right before bed (and when I was over). I thought it was fantastic and I that I’d do the same thing. Until I realize that I like to watch TV sometimes. Not all the time, mind you, but if I want to catch up on Dexter or Sunny or Vampire Diaries (don’t judge), I’ll watch it. And it turns out, with kids, there are times I need to clean, make breakfast, or go pee. And somehow my kid has gotten obsessed with Yo Gabba Gabba. At least it’s not TV in general?

    Your kid will do what you do, and if you don’t want it on, they won’t know the diff.

    Reply
    • Yeah, some people we know keep the TV on all. the time. It doesn’t even matter if the kids are paying attention. Then it just gets insane.

      We’ll probably end up trying to limit the amount of TV rather than none at all. And we’ll probably try just showing them limited things, like CSPAN or quilting shows, just so they think TV is boring. Maybe we can use TV as a punishment! Then they’ll never want to watch!

      Don’t mind me, I’m just thinking out loud here.

      Reply

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