We are not watching television anymore.
Can you smell it?? The smoke coming from the holes in my skin from all the burning eyes of other stay at home parents who use television as a 23 minute babysitter so they can take a bloody shower. The assumption that we are now super judgy about television and will be taking all of Pursy's Yo Gabba Gabba stuff to Goodwill for (patronizing sigh) all those parents who don't love their precious babes enough to play with them and instead put them in front of a show...
Don't get me wrong, I really, really like TV. I do not think it's evil or the cause of all the world's problems.
But we were at Disneyworld last week and Great and I were dumbfounded at the number of kids and adults who were wandering around the Magic Kingdom on their phones. Not using them to talk in, but two thumb scrolling through whatever was happening in the life of other people that was more interesting then what they were personally experiencing.
Has anyone seen the movie Her?? It wasn't far off from what we saw last week. Small pods of one wandering around completely disconnected and unaffected. Missing it.
And I know that smart phones have their place, do great things and have changed tons of relationships for the better. Lord knows I still can't get to my friend Chrissie's house without my GPS.
Whatever your personal feelings about Louis CK, I am convinced the man is a prophet. The way he gets people and himself is remarkable, and he has made a name for himself as someone who is unafraid of the dark side of humankind. Even finds it laugh worthy. This interview on Conan where he bloviated on why he hates cell phones is so right on it's almost chilling. Louis CK speaks about our fear of loneliness being at the heart of our constant need to communicate with people who aren't with us. The fear that sitting alone at a restaurant means that no one wanted to come with us. Sitting on a park bench just people watching means you don't have anything more important to do, and the casual passer by can't tell if your screen is your 401k portfolio or your Snapchat. The illusion of priority and popularity.
How does this translate to our decision about television? To be clear, we aren't tossing ours out nor will start looking at your with a sideways glance of suspicious fear. Our experience last week just got us thinking about how we spend our time and what we do with our lonely moments. As a stay at home parent, I don't have many lonely moments but I certainly use television as a distraction when I run out of energy to think of a new activity for Pursy and Knox or when I need to make a phone call in peace. We have made it a reward, a consequence, a special treat, a normative practice...basically, have given it a place of honor it doesn't deserve.
My kids need to learn how to be alone. How to not be entertained. How to sit on a bench and watch birds or sit in their airplane seat with crayons and color.
We are on Day 3 of this new normal, and my house is a disaster, I had a gin and tonic at two in the afternoon today, and both babes have required either band aids or ice for sundry mishaps while "entertaining themselves" in the back yard.