"And this here's the TV. Two hours a day, either educational or football, so you don't ruin your appreciation of the finer things." H.I., Raising Arizona
I’d like to think that I’m going to be a parent that doesn’t let their child watch TV, but even as I sit here and type the words, there is doubt in my mind. Linda and I don’t watch a lot of TV, although those two words – “a lot” – are so subjective. It’s like when people find out we don’t eat meat and they say, “Oh, I don’t eat a lot of meat, either.” What does it really mean? I could say we don’t watch as much TV as we used to, but again, that could mean we’re down to six hours a day. To clarify, I’ll say we live in the sticks, so we get all of three television stations, so we watch no commercial TV. We pop in DVDs several nights a week, and I find myself feeling less and less guilty about that as I get older. Still, every once in a while, I’ll say to Linda, “Why don’t we just get rid of the TV? There will be so much more time for reading, for actually speaking to one another about something other than what’s on the screen in front of us.” I have visions of finishing the novels I’ve started writing or doing something really creative like making a table. Of course, on those evenings when we don’t turn on the TV, we usually fall asleep by 9 o’clock. Maybe our bodies would need time to acclimate to TV-less nights.
When it comes to our child, though, I’m conflicted. I watched a fair amount of TV as a child, probably too much, but I look back on some of those TV shows with fond, fond memories, especially Saturday morning cartoons. Who am I to deny those same experiences to my kid? I guess it comes down to my fear that I’ll allow the TV to turn into a babysitter. It must be very easy to let happen. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve brought this up with other people and they tell me, “Just wait until you have a crying kid in YOUR house. When the screaming hits a certain pitch, the TV starts looking like a very competent sitter.” I’d like to think that I’d be firm and find a non-boobtube solution. What will probably happen is that we’ll come up with some moderate solution; an hour a night or maybe just on the weekends, with exceptions now and then. Moderation in all things, even moderation.
26 days until baby.