I have been conducting an experiment for the past week. I have avoided, side-stepped and just plain didn't answer when the kids asked if they could turn the TV on after school - sometimes even the second they walk into the house. My kids, I've decided, watch way too much TV. It's not like they watch anything they shouldn't be - we're an all-PBS-all-the-time-house. No really, we are. Even at night, when Josh or I turn on the TV, sometimes we just sit there and watch whatever WWII-era-animal-hunting-Himalayan-trekking-documentary that's on - and we won't even realize we're watching something that we don't want to be watching. Also, sometimes we just can't find the remote and once we're sitting man, we're sitting.
So yeah, even my two-year-old has gotten into TV and this is a kid, who until about a month ago could not care less if the TV was on or not, ever. My boys, on the other hand, need it on all the time. It's not that they are always watching, it's almost like they need the background noise. But the background noise is making me crazy - and combine the noise from a TV that no one is actually watching with the incredible amount of noise four kids can make when they are tired and hungry in the late afternoon, and it's no wonder that I can feel my blood pressure rising. How tense am I? My shoulders have been living in my ears lately, and it's not pretty.
But I needed a diversion; something other than TV to keep their attention between 3:30 in the afternoon, and bedtime, which is around 7:30pm. Four hours. Okay, not really four whole hours - factor in 15 minutes for homework and another 15 minutes for dinner, maybe 10 minutes or so of cleaning up the toys, under duress. Always under duress. Then add in another 30 minutes for baths - although, and I admit this freely, that ain't happening every night. We do baths when Josh comes home before bedtime. If not, not. The last time I tried to give all four kids a bath by myself all the q-tips wound up dumped onto the floor and stepped on, moisturizer was squeezed out everywhere, all the bars of soap were used as building blocks and the sink was clogged up with tissues. Socks were in the garbage and underwear was on heads. And the kids were still not clean. All those things happened from the time they undressed and danced around naked to when the bathtub finally finally filled itself up with water. I mean, it was probably somewhat my fault because in my distracted state of trying not to let anyone fall headfirst into the toilet, I kind of forgot to flip the little thingy up in the bathtub to make the water not go down the other thing. Oy, what a sentence. That was terrible. I believe one of the words I was looking for was drain. I am still trying to pull the other word I was looking for out of my brain but I can't quite reach it. My youngest is a year now and stupid-mommy-brain is not fading away. I'm beginning to think my brain cells might not be coming back after all.
Anyway, I did have a point here. I was talking about activities that might distract us from watching TV. Yes, so we have been doing some projects lately - and this is the latest one. Nothing big, nothing fancy, just oaktag and markers. And we made clowns, freakishly large, child size clowns that hang on the wall in my front hall and scare the living daylights out of me when I come downstairs in the middle of the night to get a bottle for the baby. Yes, yes, I am aware that a 12-month-old does not at all need a bottle in the middle of the night, but please, just let it go.
Seen in the light of day though, these clowns are really very cute and work perfectly because Purim is right around the corner. No really, like it's tomorrow - or at least it feels that way.
So how did we do it? Super easy. I drew a picture of a very primitive looking clown on each kid's oaktag and they all sat on the floor in the hall and colored their clowns. And it's so very interesting to see how each one came out. The psychology is fascinating, but I believe I have mentioned this before.
And the baby was entertained too because she held the markers, licked the (mostly) covered ones and traded the kids for the colors they wanted. And it was good. All three big ones colored for a good hour and a half. We cut the clowns out, hung them up and were done. Pajamas, stories, bedtime. And no TV. Excellent. Now I just need some more activities for this week's edition of our new favorite game of "no-TV-mama's-on-duty". Tune in to see how it plays out.
Are you a Mom?
Of course you are,
your shirt is dirty :)