This year for Father’s Day, my husband’s only request – as sad and depressing as it sounds – was to watch TV with Blake like a normal person. This, after going nearly six months without turning the TV on during Blake-light hours (er, daylight hours) in accordance with our strictly no-TV routine.
Maybe it was the pain in his eyes … maybe it was the fact that NASCAR happened to be on that day (and B *loves* race cars) but I decided, against my super-strict mama judgment, to go along with it – fearing that by the end of the afternoon Blake would once again be a zombie-toddler-TV-addict, and we’d be back to cleansing his obsession with Elmo and Thomas Train all over again.
Strangely, what I feared most – Blake’s total TV regression – didn’t happen. Before we even turned the TV off that day, Blake had gone back to buzzing about with his trucks and blocks, losing interest in the television way before his father did. It was then that I realized that maybe the work we’d done to keep his mind on the creative track may have actually paid off. Maybe it was no longer necessary to avoid the TV 100 percent in our household. Maybe it was time for a little leniency. Maybe.
Indeed, having said that, I also have to admit that I still haven’t allowed Blake to watch TV since that day, and I don’t plan to. I have, however, taken him to a few movies, including Kung Fu Panda II after Rhett was born (mama-monster date night), the dollar movie showing of Monsters Vs. Aliens last week, and Cars II this morning (decidedly NOT a dollar movie judging by the $18 charged to my debit card). We’ve also had a few “family movie nights” at home (usually on Sunday nights, when both my husband and I are completely knocked out from a busy weekend), which is the closest Blake has come to realizing that our TV does actually in fact work, despite the fact that I told him otherwise six months ago.
The funny thing is, even though we act like we’re making these movie exceptions for Blake, I know that we’re making them for ourselves just as much. Blake wouldn’t even know Cars II existed if I hadn’t told him. It was more my desire to share something simple and fun with him that forced me to break my own rule. I loved hearing him scream, “Go, panda!” or “Lightning!!!!!!” when the movies were in swing … I loved see him wear the ridiculous 3D glasses the entire movie long … and seeing him try to grab the birds during the Lion King 3D preview … and I loved even more that he was able to “hold it” the entire movie long, and use the potty like a big boy afterward. Those things made me super happy – just as happy as going sans TV (and seeing how his development has soared because of it) has made me.
I guess there’s not really a point to this post, other than the fact that I’ve come to realize that sometimes just a little bit of leniency won’t kill him – or me, for that matter. That’s a hard thing for an extremist like myself to admit, but apparently it’s true. And perhaps, that lesson is also applicable to other areas of my life. Maybe