She’s addicted

We’re pretty strict about how much tv we let our girls watch. For a while the rule has been one movie a day, and for the longest time they rarely asked for that. The tv is rarely on and I don’t think Reagan knew cartoons were on tv until recently. A month or two ago though somehow things went to pot (is that a saying a good Christian girl should use? I don’t know).

Right before our school ended, I must have been stressed or something, something about a move and not knowing exactly where we were moving, for some ungodly reason, I turned on the tv to give Ashlyn something to do instead of…um, how shall I say this, delaying and prolonging our educational adventure. She was mesmerized.

Before I knew it she was asking for the tv to be turned on all the time and then movies were being thrown into the mix. “One movie a day!” The girls could chant that. They probably do in their sleep. For a while I could delay the gratification and put off the movie and tv watching until after Reagan was done with school, or until after whatever I could make up and fathom had been completed.

Now though, we’re at the point where the desire is just too strong. The pull of the electric glow, the electrons rushing from the screen mummifying little brains, the high-pitched voices and cute little songs, the animals that talk and humans that do miraculous things (not to mention buses that can do that too); all of that has done its collective job to get my daughter addicted to movies.

As soon as she wakes up she’s begging. When I walk into her room to get her out of the crib I don’t here “good morning Mommy! I love you so much and missed you overnight. I slept so well and am ready to start my day with a healthy breakfast and a good dose of exercise.” Oh wait, that’s what I would hear in my dreams. I don’t even here “good morning” or “get me out of this stinking prison called a crib”.  The first words out of her mouth are “can we watch a moooveeee?!” with the hugest, most excited grin, and then she lists about three or four of her current favorites that have been in rotation so much in the past week that they’re on auto play in my own brain.

Used to, when she’d wake up, she would demand breakfast before I could even get to her crib. The girl was hungry and nothing needed to get in the way of her bolting to the fridge to get her yogurt. Now she has to be reminded that food indeed needs to be consumed after a long night’s sleep.

She not only asks to watch a movie as soon as she wakes up. Throughout the day I’m forced to hear the same question over and over again. “Can we watch a movie?” “I want to watch Mariposa.” “Let’s watch Felicity.” It doesn’t matter when the viewing occurs during the day. All her brain knows is that it loves those electrons and it needs them constantly. Get this, even during the playing of a movie she’ll ask to watch a different one.

This would be funny if I didn’t have to listen to the question day after day, hour after hour after….hour. I’ve formulated a plan though. I think this move is the perfect time to break the addiction. I’m contemplating letting the movies “get lost” during the move if she’s still showing signs of attachment after the girls come back from their trip to Colorado. Cold turkey. We can mitigate the withdrawal symptoms by taking her to see the Washington Monument and the Jefferson Memorial, and who knows, the metro ride will probably be entertainment enough.

Right now it’s just so hard to not allow the movie when I need to be busy cleaning and planning and organizing and can I just get forty-five minutes to assemble one complete thought? I am happy to report that the tv watching along with the movie viewing has been eliminated. For a while the girls were watching a movie and then requesting PBS Kids. Bad mother that I am, and not realizing how habit forming it is, and really needing to complete that thought (just one is all I’m asking for), I had acquiesced. Now they no longer ask for the PBS Kids. But for the next several days I have resigned myself to hearing “can we watch a mooovveeee?” every five minutes.

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15 thoughts on “She’s addicted

  1. my kids are somewhat addicted too. I had to stop it to one show a day and Eli had a hard time at first and now is better, but then when he got sick we let him and now we are trying to figure out what to do about it again. UGH. I feel your pain

  2. I have found that my kids are also begging for t.v. I usually just put it on. It ends up getting watched for about two minutes total and then they are off doing something else like entertaining eachother. I think the biggest factor is that Abigail (who is two) has no disire for t.v at all. Sometimes she will ask for it but she NEVER watches, ever! Where as Lilly (who is four) could sit and watch it if we let her 🙂

  3. My kids are addicted too! I’ve tried to steer them towards the Discovery Channel in hopes that they’ll learn something. I’m not sure if it’s working, but I get to hear Mike Rowe at least twice a day. Yum….

  4. Good post! Just this week I was reading about TV watching in “A Family of Value” by John Rosemond. He calls television “a deprivational experience for the formative-years child.” (p.220). He wonders about the thousands of hours of TV most children in America watch and how it might intefere with “the establishment of key neural skills, including a long attention span and certain reasoning abilities.” (220)

    Your description of TV’s magnetic attraction is poetic: “The pull of the electric glow, the electrons rushing from the screen mummifying little brains, the high-pitched voices and cute little songs, the animals that talk and humans that do miraculous things …” I think you are right in teaching your children resistance to that attraction. Cheryl and I tried to with ours. It was/is hard.

    Good post. Very pertinent. wb

  5. Du says:

    When I come home from work – “Hi, Daddy. Can we watch a moooveeee? Will you watch it with me? I want to watch Elaina.”
    When I see her in the play room – “Dad, can I watch a moooveee?”
    Pretty much in every situation or as we move between activities: when we are arriving at church, departing church, going out to eat, going shopping, going outside.
    The good news is that I can tell her that since she’s already watched one that day, we can do something else and if I give her another recommendation, it seems to work well.
    She is a great kid! 🙂

  6. Oh, did I forget to tell you that I am going to send a “care package” to your new house…**all** of our Angelina Ballerina and Barbie movies…addressed Big Blue Eyes, herself!!! ha-ha! Sorry, couldn’t resist! I won’t actually do it…maybe. ♥

  7. I’m so conflicted on this. On the one hand, it must be super convenient to plop the kiddo down when you just HAVE to get something done. Even with a 5 month old I struggle to figure out how to keep him entertained while I do any number of things. Husband and I are both super big readers — love love love to read. Hoping the little guy picks up on our love of literature!

  8. I grew up without much tube time (just a movie or two on the weekends, and a couple of shows in the heat of the summer days), but I know that I watched a whole lot more when I was really little. After we moved, we were excited with exploring our new surroundings, and that was exactly when my mom took it away (I don’t know if she intended to or not, though). I don’t see why it wouldn’t work for you…this was going to be my suggestion even before I got to that point in your post.

  9. But you know what…
    Mamas who say they never allow the TV to babysit their children are flat out liars. Yeah, I said that. Our TV is rarely on, especially during the summer, as we’re outdoors–playing, swimming, riding the 4-wheeler, etc. In the winter they watch a bit more, admittedly. But some days I need to get stuff DONE–and that means they get to watch The Aristocrats or a Scooby movie…or both. And then we’re all happy. But that’s a rare occasion. It’s one thing to let the TV help out a bit…it’s another to sit them in front of it all day long. That saddens me.

    Today I had to fold/iron 4 loads of laundry. Libbey had never seen Mary Poppins, so she asked if we could watch that while we worked. (She loves to fold clothes–I know, right? Amazing.) So we did. And it was AWESOME. I sang along to all the songs, told her my memories of watching it when I was a kid, and explained some of the Brit stuff to her. (“What’s a ‘toppins’?”) It was a good time.

    p.s. Tell Ashlyn she can watch a mooooooveeee with us when y’all are living closer. But just one mooooooveeeee! 🙂

  10. Rae says:

    Hahahahaha! Ashlyn is a girl after my own heart. If it were up to me I would watch moooovveees all day long too! It happens to the best of us, what can I say.

    I will say this: letting your girls watch movies, tv whatever, doesn’t affect your greatness at mommyhood. You are a great mom! It also doesn’t affect their greatness at being kids either. They are great kids! If they didn’t watch any tv/movies, I would be afraid for their ability to relate with the world, which is what you are preparing them for as a great mom. It sounds like what you are letting them watch is all good healthy stuff. I am more afraid when I find out a ten year old watches CSI or Law & Order SVU. WOW, not such a great idea. When I was a kid, Electric Company and Seasame Street taught me letters and numbers in English and Spanish. It is healthy to have SOME tv, especially when it is good stuff. My guess is that it is just new. The newness always rubs off. Soon it will be can I go to dance class now? what about now? i have waited a whole minute, what about now?! Yeah, it’s coming. Just wait.

    God has great things planned for your girls. Apparently right now it is to be movie critics! Soon it will be monument aficionados. Good luck in DC.

    ~rae

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