A Yabba Dabba Doo Time.
Under a crushing book deadline, I’ve noticed I’ve gotten a wee bit lax about a few things. Along with the multiplying dust bunnies in every corner, too many take-out dinners, and the piling up of unpaid bills and unread magazines, there’s been a slight relaxation of our family “screen time” rules. I can’t entirely blame this on my book deadline. My eleven-year-old son is a master twister and bender of rules; in fact rules for regular people don’t really apply to him. The “You get one hour a day of Runescape” is usually met with a “uh-huh.” As in, “Right, Mom. Just as soon as I’m finished with this game.” Lately, I’ve been finding him lying on the sofa, watching “The Simpsons.”
Me: “Since when are you allowed to watch TV on school days? We don’t watch TV on school days!”
He is shocked, shocked to find out that television is not allowed on school days. And he’ll be doing something about it, immediately. Just as soon as he finishes this show.
When my 17 year-old son was younger, he was shockingly compliant. If I said no he couldn’t do something, he would good-naturedly stop doing it. If I saw him heading towards an electrical outlet with an outstretched fork and I yelled “NO!” he would stop and put down the fork. Completely understood the deal. “Sure, Mom! Whatever you say!” I guess we got kind of spoiled. If my youngest son were heading towards an outlet with a fork and I yelled “NO!” he’d look at me with a kind of an amused, quizzical look on his face, and keep going. He’d poke at the electrical outlet a little, maybe look at me and say, “You don’t want me to do this?” Poke, poke. “How about this?” Then he’d grin at me and jam the fork into the outlet. Thankfully he was smart enough to not do that, but still.
Of course, six years ago when my oldest son was eleven – computers were not given out like candy at Christmas. Children didn’t come home from school and start I – Chatting with their friends. Most kids didn’t have their own cell phones, and in our house, we just didn’t watch a lot of TV. When our oldest son was little, because we hardly ever watched TV, he just never figured out that it was an entertainment option. And it wasn’t an entertainment option. The television was occasionally used on the weekends, to watch movies, and for his dad to watch his sports. Oh, and if there was a hurricane, or a bombing, or a flood, then we’d watch occasional news updates. That was pretty much it.