Interrupting regularly scheduled programming

When I shared that I'd hung a television on my wall all by my onesies, A'Dell responded: "Wait, wait, wait. You're allowed to have a TV in the house again? WHEN DID THAT POLICY SHIFT?"  As you'll remember, last spring we decided to pack up our television. Allow me to explain.

Sydney was getting bigger and more aware and we noticed that whenever we grabbed the remote she immediately whipped herself around to get a view of the light-up box.  While sometimes it was nice to get things done while Sydney zoned out to The Simpsons (inappropriate much, Manda?), the television was becoming a problem in our lives. Instead of spending time together after putting our daughter to bed, John and I found ourselves rotting on the couch with our dinner on our laps, more willing to comment on Dancing With the Stars or Fringe - or whatever happened to be on quite frankly – than talk to one another about our day. And we don't even have cable, people.

We decided that we needed to make a change. We needed to be forced into talking to each other, to reading to our daughter, to listening to more music … and putting our television in the garage did the trick. We now have a toddler whose favorite word is "BOOK!" We actually eat at our dinner table now and spend time TALKING. Putting away the telly? SO WORTH IT, and I highly recommend it.

At some point during the summer John and I got the notion that we'd like to watch a movie before we went to bed. We balanced a laptop on the bed between us. And this became our little once-in-a-while thing: We'd watch The Office on DVD or a movie together after the baby went to sleep. And the idea of having a television in our bedroom started to grow on us. 

So about a month ago we decided to hook up a television in our room. We didn't hook up the antennae, we just put the dvd player in there. It doesn't violate our dinners together and it doesn't allow me to zombie-fy our daughter while I unload the dishwasher or whatever (although it does come in handy while I'm trying to take a shower while Syd's awake. Showering is an activity that Sydney thoroughly refuses to accept to stay in her pack n play quietly for unless …

IMG_1689  oops).

BUT having a television on my dresser is not my favorite because dressertops are quite obviously for photo frames and knick-knacks and girlie things and NOT electronics. Soon after we decided on this setup we got one of those intimidating wall mounting thingies at Costco and it's been sitting on the floor in front of our bed for ages. The other night while John was teaching I decided to go crazy with a drill and socket wrench and hang it myself.



(And I only broke ONE LAMP in the process!)

(I also rearranged the bedroom furniture.  And repurposed a mug tree and a coat tree. Wanna see?)

(A necklace tree!  YAY!)

Anyway, there will probably come a point when the television resurfaces in our front room (hello, second child, wherever you are! You shall no doubt usher in the era of Veggie Tales so that Mama can nurse you without wanting to stab herself in the eye with a fork!). We do occasionally like having people over to watch movies, playing Wii, and working out in the living room with the 30 Day Shred. In my imagination we'll probably hang it up on the wall and try to keep things just as blissfully uncluttered as they are right now. Until then, we can keep updated on LOST and The Office via the internet (as a side note isn't it awesome to be able to watch television at your leisure!? I know many of you already sing the praises of the DVR. Perhaps I'll have to get one of those one day) and the rest of it – and its commercials – can go by the wayside. 

I once heard that it takes 21 days to break a habit.  I think this is probably very true. Once upon a time the background noise in my life was the drone of white noise, of a t.v. set tuned to whatever was on. Now the background noise of my life is my daughter "reading" a book and imitating animal sounds and laughing as Juicy barrels into her space trying to find a place to nap among the chaos of toys and books, airplanes off in the distance carrying travelers to and fro, the clack of dog nails on hardwood, the music of our favorite singers on the stereo, the sound of my husband's voice as he murmurs to himself at his desk. How sad that I missed out on the sounds of my own life for as long as I did, and how beautiful this new music is to me. Three cheers for new habits!

11 thoughts on “Interrupting regularly scheduled programming

  1. She Likes Purple says:

    I wish I could be more diligent about TVs. My sister didn’t let her son watch TV until he was 2-3, and that’s incredible and so admirable. I…just can’t find the energy to fight that particular battle. I just make Mike pause the TV 85 times per show so I can tell him this or that. It’s charming! Regardless what he says!

    Also, whoa, I’m impressed with your mounting skills.

    That…didn’t come out right.

  2. morgan s. says:

    We are trying to adhere to a “no tv during the week while children are awake” rule. I LOVE it.

    The weekends are a different story. We probably play Chitty Chitty Bang Bang 10 times over the course of the weekend. But Brooke LOOOOOOOOOOOVES it, such joy when Dick van Dyke dances and sings. And we have the direct tv football package WITH DVR, which means we can tape the games and watch them after the girls are asleep. Win-win for all!

    Hadley agrees with Sydney. When Mommy dares to take a shower, she must pay the price for abandoning her darling baby in the pack and play by listening to shreiking, wailing and TEARS, TEARS, TEARS the ENTIRE TIME.

  3. larmar says:

    I unfortunately cannot even contain Alex in a packandplay during shower time… because, oops, she climbs out and falls on her head. So i usually just get her down to a diaper because inevitably when she hears the shower turn on she is all, ‘what’s privacy?’ and in she comes. Then I spend the entirety of my shower trying not to get run-off body soap in my daughter’s eyes. How… refreshing.
    And… good for you for the TV thing. I try really hard to not give in. But sometimes… it’s just too tempting to nurse while sitting down resting instead of trying to get Alex out of the dog’s water dish or off of the kitchen counter. Although I have mastered this whole ‘carry-two-children’ at once thing, even with one on the boob. Hoo-rah!

  4. larmar says:

    ps- would it be creepy if the color on your bedroom walls magically appeared somewhere in my house? because it may.

  5. maggie says:

    My kids watch a ton of TV. Entirely too much. The fact is that *I* rely on television so much for my OWN self, not just with keeping the kids occupied, and it spills over. But this is a character flaw is so far down on my list of Things To Work On… it should probably be higher up, just for the effect on my kids. But I also took them to Disneyland and feed them preservatives and forget to wash their hands after they run around the baby gym, so they’re kind of screwed no matter what.

    But posts like these make me think. MAYBE I can live in a TV-less world. MAYBE.

  6. Raven says:

    We have a tv in the living room, kitchen, bedroom and my son’s room and yet somehow? We eat dinner together at the table every night as a family (unless we are eating out) with no tv and WE TALK TO EACH OTHER. I am as surprised as you.

    With the unholy amount of tv I watch, I don’t know where I find the time. Haha.

  7. A'Dell says:

    Ah ha! Thanks for the explanation; I knew it was new! We are discussing just such an arrangement for a television in our bedroom as well.

    You have to get a DVR. Chris built ours. It makes TV fun again. We don’t have cable either (just the antenna) but it’s so nice that when we want to sit down and watch tv? We usually have something good to watch.

    I actually like to listen to the radio if we’re just hanging out at the house…And Claire has started dancing so that’s funny too.

  8. Liz says:

    We have a TV and pay for cable. And never watch the thing. We pay for it for ESPN that A puts on once in a while, and maybe thursday night shows, which we hardly ever actually watch. We do watch an episode of something or other on hulu before bed. With the laptop balanced between us!

    NPR, however, is often on around these nerdy parts.

  9. free movies says:

    You know what’s the most annoying problem about having people over to watch movies? You never know what to watch (well, that is if you do that alot and run out of films). I just use MP for their recommendations. I find it very helpful.

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