I have made the same simple promises to myself since the little man was born, and I can't tell you how many times I repeat them to myself. I promised that my house would not be overrun with his toys and that I would curb my incessant spending on him as well as not allowing the television to babysit him. Well, I have kept neither of the first two promises because not only do I have a spring horse, train table, and his ride on Winnie the pooh train in my living room, but I also have the majority of his other toys laying around too. To top it all off I keep buying the little monster more play things because I never think that he has enough toys.
I guess it wouldn’t be so bad if he didn’t use practically everything that he can pick up as a weapon against me. This morning he picked up his remote controlled smart car and hit my in the head with it while I was lying on the couch. I guess I wasn’t paying enough attention to him or something. Whatever happened to the good ole’ days when all he wanted was his multicolored inflatable ball? Oh well.
You know I am still not convinced that he actually enjoys having all these play things around. Every morning after my wife leaves for work he spends maybe ten or fifteen minutes just staring at his toy pile looking overwhelmed by the sheer amount of choices he has. Still about half of the time he goes right for the ball, but for a few minutes he actually looks concerned about what he should be playing with. It is like he is saying to himself, “I can’t just play with this ball. Da will be sad because he bought me all this other crap to play with too. Hmm...What should I do?” So, without fail, I will watch as he reluctantly puts down his favorite ball and pick up the talking mailbox or something. It is like this every morning. Then after we play for a little while it is story time. That is never a problem because he will just grab the first book and bring it to me to read to him. After that book is finished he will grab another and another until we have either read all his books, he gets bored, or my voice decides it doesn’t want to work anymore. I can usually get through 15 books before that happens, but that depends on the books he has me reading him. Our newest book is the “Itsy Bitsy Spider” that the pediatrician’s office gave him at his I year check-up. He likes it a lot because, like with many of the other books too, his da acts out the story with him. You will never know how much fun that is until you try it. His other favorite thing to do lately is dance to any kind of noise that has a rhythm to it, which I am all about because there is a slight chance that it will tire him out and give me a chance to catch my breathe.
You might have noticed that I conveniently left out that third promise to not allow the television to baby sit my son. Well, I haven’t forgotten it. I am still holding to it, but it is a tenuous hold the last couple of days because I have been sick more than my usual ailments. Therefore, the poor little man has been getting the shaft because I just don’t have the energy to run around and play like I usually do. Play time has been virtually cut in half and television time has practically doubled. I tell myself it isn’t that bad because we watch a kids show that promotes and teaches little ones to read called “Super Why.” But, watching t.v. is still watching t.v. It really doesn’t matter what it is you are watching.
I keep telling myself that this is only a temporary thing, but that doesn’t I am not getting worried that I will make it a more permanent thing because it is so easy to just leave the television on and let the little man veg out in front of it all day. I am afraid that it is going to ruin his imagination let alone turn him into a couch potato. I just don’t want him to revere the television like so many others do. I have seen so many kids and adults who need to have the thing on all the time and it doesn’t even matter what is playing as long as it is on. It is like it is a separate entity that is desperate for attention.
How do you discourage your children from “needing” television to amuse them though? Sure, you could try never having it on, but I am afraid that will make it that much more appealing once it is on. There has to be a healthy mix that doesn’t turn the TV into a reward. I am just not comfortable with making my TV set something that is all that special, but I also don’t want my baby boy to be the weird kid at school who isn’t allowed to watch TV either. It is a conundrum. Luckily I still have time to figure that out. So far, I am thinking that if I don’t make a big deal about it, it won’t be a big deal. If that doesn’t work then I will have to come up with a plan b.