A Month Without TV

Days 1-5

Day 1: The first full night of the ban. At the start of the evening, the boys were still angry. But then an amazing transformation began to take place. Since the characters in a book that Doug was reading were playing Parcheesi, he got out our set. It had been so long since we'd played, we had to read the instructions all over again. So that we could play without the baby messing up the game, we decided to set up the board on the bathroom floor while she took a bath. About 45 minutes later, my husband, Paul, came home. He was awestruck at the site of the four of us, in the bathroom, playing!

Day 2: Tonight I hosted a meeting for a breast cancer awareness organization. Normally, I would have sent the boys into the bedroom and let them watch TV while the group met. But not this time. I told Greg (Doug was out on a playdate) that he was going to be working at the meeting. To my delight, my eldest was the perfect gentleman, taking coats, pouring soft drinks, and making sure the baby was occupied. He even participated in a conversation about which celebrities we might ask to be on our honorary committee. I was extremely proud, and the night was a big success. The whining I had expected from the boys about TV deprivation has not happened.

Day 3: The nagging has begun. "When will the experiment end?" the boys whined. "This isn't fair!" I used all my best mom lines -- that I know what's best for them and this is the way it has to be, that it would do them no good to complain.

Day 4: Our babysitter, Donna, says she's happy with this new version of life in our house. She has an easier time getting the boys to do their homework, and they're interacting more with their baby sister. However, she and I have both noticed that they're playing more roughly -- wrestling, playing football in the apartment, and generally releasing their energy physically. But that's much better than the blank stares of kids being pacified by electronic media.

Day 5: I'm wondering if I should have banned computer games after all: Greg played "Rollercoaster Tycoon" for two hours today. And since the boys are not allowed to watch TV at night, Casey is also not allowed to watch her baby videos. That means I don't have any personal downtime in the evenings, which is tiring.

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