Saturday, 4 May 2013

What I thought I would be better at by now....

For the inaugural link up at The Lounge. The theme: What did you think you would be better at by now? 

What did I think I would be better at by now?

Oh gosh - pretty much everything. 

But the one that springs into mind at the moment is that I thought I would be much better at not letting my children watch quite so much television.

I was one of those people ( you know the ones - you might have been one yourself) who formulated a lot of rules, goals, blanket statements about the type of parent I would be. I would never let my children....; my children will never be allowed to....; etc.

TV was one of those things. Until I had The Eldest and I discovered that newborns don't see the importance of you showering first thing in the day and will not obligingly lie quiet whilst you shower in a vain attempt to wake up, wash away the memory of being up to feed five times during the night and find some semblance of who you used to be in the zombie now walking around in your pyjamas. The Eldest had an objection to sleeping - at least while the sun was up. The Eldest did not to be left alone. The Eldest would only sleep during the day if she was in her pram being pushed around Lilyfield, Leichhardt, Rozelle or Balmain. Not a feat to be accomplished in ones pyjamas, bleary from lack of sleep and lack of shower. We lived away from our family, so there were no options for morning help.

And then I discovered Baby Einstein. For 20 minutes, The Eldest would happily sit in the rocker, watch the television while I did the 20 minute shower and dress dash. The television became my morning babysitter. I loved Baby Einstein. I said daily prayers of thanks for TV's, DVD players and a baby who loved to watch.

From Baby Einstein we moved onto In the Night Garden. The Eldest could be in a screaming frenzy - yet as soon as she heard the opening notes of the theme song, she would literally stop mid-scream. The calming down was instantaneous. Upsey Daisy, Iggle Piggle, Makka Pakka, The tombliboos. Instant new best friends - for me. I loved them. No matter that I often couldn't make heads nor tails of what was actually happening. I was after all a sleep deprived mum. So powerful was this show in calming down my child, I downloaded the In the Night CD onto my iphone. Screaming fits in the shops were a thing of the past. One press of the iphone and a half an hour of shopping bliss ensued. We bought the CD for the car and many of the journeys on the highway between Sydney and Canberra were done with the three of us listening to Upsey Daisy and Iggle piggle. Even now, on hearing the opening them song, my husband and I exchange glances. The Hume Highway. Only now, almost four years later, do we look back in nostalgia. At the time, I think we were close to going insane. But it was better (only just) than 3 hours of screaming.

We've been through many Tv fads now. Playschool, Hi-5, The wiggles, Giggle and Hoot, Sesame Street, Dora (bloody Dora - I swear this is the one that really gets me "I'm the map, I'm the Map, I'm the Map, I'm the map), Tinkerbell, Cinderella, Peppa Pig, Barbie.

I knew The Eldest loved TV. But it was the following conversation that hit me hard.
The Eldest: "Mummy - that's a hexagon"
Me (thrilled that my 3 year old recognised a 6 sided shape and knew it's name) "Who taught you that that's a hexagon?" (I knew I hadn't)
" Bubble Guppies"
Heart sinking moment.

And then there was the day. THE DAY. The Day I saw the terror in my children's faces when the TV was turned off - and WE WEREN'T EVEN LEAVING THE HOUSE. Crap.

So, yes. I thought I would be much better at limiting TV viewing. And I am improving. Now we love the CD player almost as much as the TV. Maybe one day we'll even get tot the point of no background noise in the house at all. Probably not though.

In the meantime, my children have developed active imaginations that they use in their play, they have learnt some stuff along the way - hexagons and even a smattering of spanish. They can spot Dora at a 100 paces so I know there is nothing wrong with their eyesight. My social capital is up with the 3-5 year old set as I know all the characters, plots and subplots - and can even sing out a theme song to two.

(I am trying to turn the TV off more than I used to).

Now, as The Youngest hands me a lemonade ice block first thing on a Sunday morning, I think I had best turn my attention to nutrition - cause I am sure I also vowed my children would never eat iceblocks for breakfast. Apparently I was wrong.

Jen x


  1. Ahh the bliss of In the Night Garden. I was able to cook dinner in peace and sometimes even eat it without interruption. Now we are in the Giggle and Hoot, and Playschool Phase.

    Thanks for Linking up with us at The Lounge.

    1. Your welcome - it was nice to have a topic to think about beyond my day to day ramblings...

  2. Well....I watched a fair bit of TV when I was young and it didn't do me any harm. I think whatever gives you a few minutes to cook dinner, have a shower or load of washing. TV is quite educational. I can rattle of lots of things I would never have known if I hadn't watched tv. As long as there is unconditional love...what does it matter.

    Oh...from one Jen to another :)

    1. Hubby and I still watch a lot of TV - it's a way that we enjoy unwinding - so it is something the girls see us do. And I know they have learned a whole heap of things - it's just finding that happy balance isn't it?

  3. I hated The Night Garden until my two year old loved it. With older boys racing in and out to soccer, drama, cricket and a whole lot of other after hours activities, The Night Garden provides a little calm and quiet in the chaos. The big boys complain about watching 'baby shows' but most nights I find them watching with him, and the whole family loves the Goodnight Song. Whatever works hey!

    Then there's fussy eaters. Not something we'd usually do but when we got home from our last camping trip my kids had chips and chocolate for dinner! Followed the advice of gourmet cooks the world over and selected from what was fresh in the pantry!

    1. :) It's amazing what you learn to love for the sake of peace and quiet! And as I said to a girlfriend of mine last Friday - sometimes the tired cranky mini dictators win in the food feeding stakes - sometimes it's not about what they ate, just that they did eat even if it is chips and chocolate :)

  4. I always liked "Swiper, no swiping!" myself!

    This one really rings true for me. My eldest was also allergic to sleep and the TV helped alot. He was mesmerised by the bight colours of High-5 and like you it helped me have a shower, or do a wee or anything where I had to put him down (which he was also allergic to.)

    These days my boys are 5, 8 & 10 and it's the Wii and computer that I have to monitor. I have recently limited time on these things to one hour a day on the weekends becuase they were taking over our lives. It was hard but it's working as they've started "playing" again and making up games which I now realised they'd stopped doing.

    Great post and hope to see you in The Lounge soon - Rach the Lounge Lizard from The Very Inappropriate Blog x

  5. My eldest didn't see ANY tv until he was one.....I was a smug nazi who used to tell everyone who'd listen that I was protecting his synapses. Then he watched half an hour of NightGarden before bed. Slowly it crept up and now?
    Needless to say, my youngest has grown up with the TV on as I couldn't work out how to police it.
    Their synapses have probably synapsed.

    Anyway, I try to keep it to limited times and those times only. But I'm pretty shit at that too.

  6. Oh Jen me too! ME TOO! Peppa Pig is my BFF. We watch so much more SO MUCH MORE than I ever thought we would. I was pretty good until my second baby was born. Then it was Peppa Pig and ABC2 24 hours a day for 6 months. Even now when the baby has his sleep, I put the TV on for the 3.5 year old. And again in the afternoon. And on rainy days - A LOT! I try really hard most days to limit it but some days it really gets out of control.
    My story is just like Mrs Holsby's. All good until the second baby arrived. Then - BAM!