Did you know that this week is Turn Off Your Television week? I was going to blog about it at the beginning of the week, to give everyone the opportunity to hop on board with us, but without the tv hypnotizing my son into a robotic stupor, I haven't had as much blogging time!
In truth, we had begun weaning for this about a month ago. JH was watching a lot of Nick Jr. but kept migrating to Nick, and I was noticing two things: He was being sassier than usual, and at every commercial, he'd say "Oh, that is SO cool! Can I have that?" So we cut waaaay back on Nick. No more Drake and Josh or iCarly. He can watch them when he's older, but at seven, I don't need him to be more of a smart ass than he already is naturally (because the apple doesn't fall far from the tree, as he reminds me). The only thing he can watch on Nick is Sponge Bob. Because, God Help Me, I like that little sponge! And as you know, Patrick and I have a history.
But the real reason I wanted to turn off the tv is to motivate myself. We hadn't eaten dinner at the dining room table in months. We'd sit in front of the tv for Jeopardy! every night, and my dining room table was piled with mail and paperwork and the remains of the day, with apologies to Mr. Forster. We wouldn't really converse much, except to bark at JH to finish his dinner. It was an occasional treat that had become a nightly habit, and I didn't like how I felt. It was like eating McDonald's every night. I could feel my brain getting blobbier by the second.
We had given JH the warning about it the minute I read that it was coming up. He looked at me with horror in his eyes, and complained for about a minute, but then he got used to the idea. For the month leading up to it, he'd ask when it was, and he'd come up with ideas about what we could do for fun instead. We gathered up books at the library, we planned art projects, we thought about how big we could build his train track.
I cleaned off the dining room table, put on a bright table cloth and candles, and we've had dinner there every night this week. It's been a blast. I've learned a lot too. When I asked him what would be the best and worst thing about being a bear, he said "You first, Mom". So I told him that the best thing would be hibernating, and the worst thing would be hunting for food. His jaw dropped and his eyes went so wide I thought his eyelids would disappear: "No WAY! I am THE EXACT OPPOSITE OF YOU! The WORST thing would be hibernating, and the BEST thing would be hunting! That would be FUN!" I think that was maybe the first time he realized that he was his own person and not just my extra arm.
Oh, and do you know how we spent our anniversary evening? I made a steak dinner, with beautiful, fresh meat from the local butcher shop (hey, I said we'd cut back 20 percent, and if you can't have steak on your anniversary, then you're a complete granola head), and because I had gotten Charley a cd of The City of Prague Symphony playing Music From StarWars, we listened to music and cracked open, for the first time, the Star Wars Trivial Pursuit that I had gotten him for his birthday about 8 years ago. I was definitely at a disadvantage, being the only non-geek at the table, but I acquitted myself pretty well for someone who watches Star Wars movies while folding laundry and doing dishes and reading the paper and picking my cuticles. It was a night I will always remember with a smile.
I don't know if we'll be able to keep it up: I'd like to hope so. It's been great for us as a family. But the grown-ups have already cheated twice after JH has gone to bed. BAD grownups. But I have read more at night, and have discovered a new favorite author: Tony Earley. I'm reading Jim The Boy, and can't wait to get my hands on the rest of his stuff. Like Kent Haruff, he writes with powerful simplicity. Love it, love it, love it. I also have Assassination Vacation and The Partly Cloudy Patriot by Sarah Vowell on hold at the library.
I would say the only real drawback to this week has been that I've had my reading glasses on more, so I've noticed that my chin hairs are more plentiful, nay, more luxurious, than I've ever seen them.
So I guess that means our next experiment is "Cover Up All The Mirrors Week".