Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Cartoon Wars

We are a one television household. I’m sure this is shocking to most of you, considering what TV junkies we all are, but our logic is solid. For one thing, we can only really afford one. But also, while most people have a second set in the bedroom, we do not. Neither Chip nor I enjoys watching while trying to fall asleep. I think it’s because we take TV too seriously to give it “background noise” status- if it’s on, we’re paying attention. I did have a small set with an antenna in the kitchen for a brief time. We didn’t watch during meals, since our 6:30 family dinner is strictly devoted to trying to get a word in edgewise while the kids giggle, whine, and shriek. Since I only really watched it while I was in the kitchen on NFL Sundays, it didn’t seem worth replacing after the crime spree our home hosted last year.

Things have been fine. When the kids watch a show, Chip and I do our best to use that half hour for something productive. When the kids aren’t around, Chip and I generally watch the same things. No big deal. Or so we thought.

Suddenly, about two weeks ago, someone turned Connor’s internal TV tuner from “Noggin” to “Nickelodeon.” I shouldn’t be surprised that he has finally lost patience with Dora and Diego and moved on to SpongeBob and the rest. In fact, I’ve been a little surprised that the primos had held his attention this long. But I was caught off guard by the swift and absolute nature of this channel change. What are we going to do? (Let’s get this out of the way up front- turning off the TV isn’t an option. Carry on.)

This would be an easy situation to handle if my children were capable of doing anything alone. But they are not. If I put Chloe in front of LazyTown and send Connor off to play, it only takes about five minutes before they are both tugging on my leg as I try to get the dishwasher filled up.
“Come play with me Mooooom!”
“Watch TV, Mommy?”
My response, “Entertain yourselves!” usually ends up with them “helping” me do whatever it is I’m trying to do, because driving me nuts is the ultimate entertainment. That’s just not going to work. If I talk Connor into playing in the same room as Chloe and Sportacus, he generally plays directly in her sight line, just to get her riled up. And so they're back to driving me nuts, and the dishes are still dirty.

For now, the compromise is that I turn something on for a half hour, and whichever kid doesn't like it can play or pout instead- as long as they leave me out of it. I hate denying one of them the pleasure of our TV's company, but until we learn some cartoon tolerance, that's just how it's going to be. For now, at least. I know that one day we'll look back on the days of only one television and laugh at our quaintness. Until then, at least I feel like I still have some control. Not as much as that burglar, but some.


Anonymous said...

Nickelodeon is the gateway to Adult Swim...

Stacey Greenberg said...

i like having just one TV for the most part. if the monkeys get to arguing over a show, i usually let one of them play games on the computer which is conveniently located in the same room.

Unknown said...

I'm just glad I don't have any kids.