On Palm Sunday, I posted this to my FB page:
We are in need of a serious detox at our house. This school week, we are going cold turkey on screen time. No surfing the internet on my phone. No ipad. No computer. No TV. Just each others' pretty faces. Books. Paper. Outside. ("But Mom, it's too cold!" Hey - that's what coats are for.) Bikes. Scissors. Glitter.Can anyone relate? Sometimes, I just have this deep-rooted desire to literally pull everything with a plug from our home and throw it all out the window. In fact, sometimes I threaten to do just that. My kids think I'm crazy. In a tech-saturated world, they don't know that this has only recently been deemed "normal" to stare at a lit-up screen, whether portable or not, for hours a day. If this is your job, slightly different story. If you are nine years old, inexcusable.
This week, I want us to be bored. To find creative, old-fashioned ways to fill the in-between moments. Maybe, just maybe, we'll catch some of that still, small voice.
I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways.
So...we pulled the plugs (figuratively). On Monday morning, I broke the news to the kids that there would be no tv in the mornings, no computer after school, no ipad, nothing. I braces myself, and to my surprise was not met with a backlash of tears or outright anger. I got a few shrugs of the shoulder, one "You mean NO screens?" inquiry, and that was it. Oh, me of little faith. My kids are so much more than I give them credit for.
As it turns out, I think that I was divinely moved to to pull the plugs that Sunday evening. Last week, as I'm sure you're well aware, social media was ablaze with opinion after slicing opinion on one of the same inflammatory social topics of our time due to something about Starbucks and something about the Supreme Court. (Okay, so I know it's a little more than that, but it's been hashed out so many times I'm sure you don't need to hear it again.) For two solid days, save a text conversation with a dear friend or two, I was cut off from the venom. I was not inundated with opinions. I did not have to fight with all of my self-discipline to not read things. It simply wasn't in front of my face. On Tuesday evening, I cheated a little, read some FB posts, and felt my heart sink.
So...I retreated back to the relative peace of my e-free world. I wouldn't call it blissful ignorance, by any means, but I do find solace in hanging out with these little people.
Instead of feeling a need to offer up my opinion in an opinion-saturated climate, I found myself occupied doing other things last week (that is, until Thursday when the e-free thing flew out the window, 'cuz when Mama gets the flu, exceptions are allowed if not essential).
We did things like...
...straighten up the bookshelves in Abby & Sarah's room, during which Abby held two small books in her hand and very seriously asked me, "Where should I put my diarrheas?" Umm, I think you should put your diaries on the bookshelf with the rest of the books.
...danced to the beat of the steamer on my espresso machine. I'll tell you what, little Leah got the party started, and no one else could resist a little booty shaking.
...entertained ourselves doing the silliest things, like marveling at how disgustingly dirty the water draining from the washing machine into our utility sink is. It's pretty amazing that all of that dirt was in our clothes!
...jumped off the coffee table in an attempt to reach the pull chain on the ceiling fan. SO close.
...carried Leah around, despite her protests. (So typical. E-free or not, they do this. Can't help themselves. Methinks little Leah is going to pack a powerful punch some day.)
...checked out books from the library befitting each childs' personality. Ben got the next three titles in the 39 Clues series. Sarah got multiple Wonder Woman and Backyardigans easy readers. Abby got "Animals Nobody Loves" and other "learning" books about venomous animals and sharks. She's always been a little unexpected.
...decorated our recently pruned rose bush with holly berries so it would be beautiful while we wait for the buds and leaves to return. (Any guesses who did this one?)
...used our imaginations to come up with some good, old-fashioned fun. Ben created his own form of "March Madness" by racing his matchbox cars, complete with brackets and everything. Of all the things that happened last week, this was probably my favorite. I just love seeing him be a little boy. Those moments feel like they are slipping away. But this. This was awesome.
...tried Leah on whole milk. Turns out, she wasn't impressed. Poured it everywhere.
Then...she and Sarah splashed around in it. Great fun, apparently.
...reorganized the drawers and closets in their room without letting Mommy know. Instead of alternating every other drawer, Abby/Sarah, Abby decided to make one set of drawers Sarah's and one set hers. It was a better idea, but it turned into Abby creating Sarah own room-within-their-room. Clothes piled everywhere, with a makeshift bed on the floor, and a wall of toys to separate her out. (Note to self: Check on them more frequently when they are "playing" in their room.)
...made an edible school project by carving a Greek war ship (part of the floating wooden wall used to defeat the Persians) out of a block of vanilla ice cream. It was definitely a hands-down favorite for the year so far. Sarah, our ice cream fiend, even enjoyed history that day. I consider this one a particular success because it happened on Friday, mid-flu, when I was so not in the mood. The kids were rock stars.
Somebody kept prematurely sneaking tastes.
...played pretend out the wazoo in the playroom. I can count on the girls to do this for hours a day. Even if they are saying things like, "We are the crotchy girls!" (Umm, what?)
...locked themselves in their room so they could make a surprise for me. This one was great too. Ben made a castle facade for me, complete with towers and a working drawbridge, all of which he calculated the areas for using his new math skills.
E-free week = Bliss
We are definitely doing that again. Like, maybe every week.
And I missed the day of record, but I can celebrate it every day if I want to and because we should -
Happy Resurrection Day from my crew to yours!!!
It's Tuesday. And the tomb is still empty.