After a week of sitting around the house over Christmas break Patricia and I resolved to get us and the kids some fresh air on Saturday. This was said Friday night as we climbed into bed after a day of doing absolutely nothing productive all day long. The strain of vacation was getting to us and the lack of structure was going to drive us insane.
Saturday morning greeted us with her frosty charm and warned us not to venture out into her icy realm for at least a few hours. We sighed deeply but agreed that throwing the younglings out in 29 degree weather, although tempting, was not the right decision. So we set back the expedition until after the sun came out and warmed up our California neighborhood a few degrees Fahrenheit.
We resigned ourselves to the pattern of the last few days. The annoying sound of a repeatedly played signing Christmas gift. The well meaning friend who gifted it to our daughter was now officially on our naughty list. We found what solace we could in our coffee regiment and braced ourselves for the first round of cartoons.
But instead...I did something crazy. I looked at my bride and had an idea. Something all couped up parents dream about but few attempt. We staged a coup for control of the TV. I announced that I would be watching a show. A real show. One with people and real sets in it. Not a single frame of animation would appear on the TV and no one would start signing or dancing, or counting to ten. It was a parental Coup d'état of the TV that we had paid for but rarely got to use!
The children had lost control! I then directed the tube to display live action shots of grown ups whining about their undersized kitchens out of control gardens or favorite recipes for baklava. It was exciting, fun and we could scarcely believe that we'd done it. Patricia and I reveled in our new found power and soaked up all the entertainment we could from what we knew would be a short lived rebellion.
My special needs daughter formed an anti-daddy movement almost instantly and stormed off to the bedroom to lash out at the mini-blinds in protest. The mini-blinds were just a causality of war and we marked it up to collateral damage. It didn't matter and we wouldn't be detoured. Mike Holmes was on and we were going to stand our ground.
Hannah, our youngest, decided on a more diplomatic approach.
"Uh, what is this?"
"Mommy and I are going to watch one of our programs."
"You do that we we go to bed."
"Today, we're going to do it now."
"For how long?"
I sized her up and threw out a little puzzle for her. "How long did you watch shows yesterday?"
I saw her brain trying to devise a strategically sound response. I could tell because she looked like her mind was aching. I presumed this was due to atrophy while she was on break. "Just becuase it was on a lot yesterday, didn't mean I watched it much."
It was a good stance, and well thought out. I countered.
"Perfect. Then I'll leave it on my show, and you don't have to watch it much today either."
The fun went on for about 3 hours or so. For us it was a major milestone and a welcome relief from the previous days. Days with little comfort from the annoyance of singing cartoon animals, dancing children, and puppet monsters insisting my little ones learn to count in Spanish. There is only so much insanity a parent can stand. We reached it on Saturday.
And even though we eventually retreated and lost the ground we had fought for, the children learned a valuable lesson. Parents have more power than they realized and the TV is not as safe as they once thought it to be...