Thursday, October 13, 2016

screen time and wanderlust

Remember those bumper stickers that said "Kill your TV"? I get that now, only in my house it's not about the TV, it's about the computer. Since when did daily screen time become a God-given right that should not be sacrificed for any reason whatsoever? This evening my 10yo complained that he didn't get enough computer time because his homework took too long. So unfair and unjust that he was limited to less than his usual time watching gamers on YouTube and playing whatever scrolling video game is the latest because his math took an extra 20 minutes.

My kids have limits on screen time and they're not allowed to have it until certain tasks are complete (homework if they have it, cleaning out their lunch box from school, setting the table for dinner, general pick up of their crap on the floor, and they also help with clean up after dinner), but still, I feel like I am failing as a parent in this regard. Like maybe they (the boy, especially) wouldn't be so insistent on getting screen time if they had more hobbies, or played more sports, or had lots of friends to roam the neighborhood with. Alas, I can't force them to have hobbies, I'm not a big fan of organized sports, and all the neighborhood kids are similarly busy or spending their time playing computer games, too. 

Taking away screen time would seem like a punishment, and that's not what I'm after. I just wish I could find a way to draw their interest to more productive activities in a positive and organic way. The first thing that comes to mind is that they should help more with dinner, but my late afternoon schedule is so crazy Monday through Thursday that we're lucky I haven't resorted to take out yet. If I had to allow even more time to have them help, we wouldn't eat until bedtime. 

Another thing I've thought of is just sending them outside. But that doesn't always work, like when it's raining, or when it's dark by 5:00 (which will be the case soon enough.) Much as I would like to have more or less free range kids, that just doesn't always work.

You know what I really want to do? Take off on a road trip. Spend a couple weeks driving someplace completely new, maybe out west. Go camping or rent a cabin (bears kind of freak me out), hike up a mountain, paddle around in a kayak, huddle around the campfire on a chilly evening. 

It seems I've got a touch of the wanderlust and I think it's a natural reaction to feeling bogged down and emotionally drained (not dangerously so, just a little spent) with daily life and the election and the more gnarly issues of parenting a soon-to-be teenager.

Sunday, October 09, 2016

snapshot: cello

5th grade strings started a couple weeks ago, and Daniel is enamored with the cello. Yes, my heart is a puddle. This is an opportunity I never had, and even if he's over it by the end of the year, I'm glad he got to try it and is enjoying it so much now.

Friday, October 07, 2016

Snapshot: I voted! (And a PSA)

I popped over to the library this afternoon and saw a huge sign outside that read: "VOTE HERE!" It turns out you can vote early - any time between now and November 4 - at any library location in the city, no matter what your usual polling place is. Tuesday can be a very busy day of the week for me, and while I always vote in every election, I was relieved to get it done with now. I am happy to see that the city of Madison has made it more convenient for people to vote. It's one bright spot in the scourge of voter ID laws blighting the state of Wisconsin.


In the middle of writing this brief post, I received a robocall from the school district that there has been a shooting in a neighborhood where many students who attend my kids' school happen to live. The shooter is still at large, and those kids can't ride the bus home until later in the afternoon, and can only go home if an authorized adult is there to pick them up. Imagine living in a neighborhood where it's not safe to go home. My heart is heavy.