Days 6 & 7: THE WEEKEND! Television has returned with a vengeance. From the moment the boys awakened, it was cartoons, sports, and movies. You'd think they had been deprived of their favorite food. When we tried to get the kids to go out with us to run errands, it was like prying a pair of metal parts off a giant magnet. What is it about television that creates this kind of attachment? The boys don't understand why I'm being so strict and have started calling me "Monster Mama."
Day 8: After only one week with no nighttime TV, Paul says it's great. When he gets home from work, he's thrilled that the boys run to give him a big hug, and he's glad I'm not talking on the phone as much (which was easier to do when the kids were parked on the couch). Plus, the fights over which show to watch are gone.
Day 10: I found Douglas secretly watching TV in my bedroom when I returned from work this evening. He was checking out his favorite show, Ripley's Believe It or Not, which tonight featured a man who'd turned himself into a tiger with tattoos and massive plastic surgery. Doug was transfixed. Even I was unable to turn it off. This could be a problem. I watched the show with him and then let him know that he got lucky this one time -- his cute chuckle and twinkly green eyes make it hard to get really angry with him. But I reiterated the rules and asked that it not happen again.
Day 13: The kids say they no longer want to have their friends over to our house because it's more fun to go elsewhere (read: they can watch television at someone else's house). When they do visit friends, I gently remind them not to watch too much TV, but I don't really worry about it because they spend relatively little time away from home on school nights. However, if I hear that they've been watching inappropriate movies at their friends' homes, I let the parents know that I don't approve.
Day 16: The baseball season is starting, and Paul desperately wants to watch his Yankees and Mets games when he gets home from work. The kids want to watch with him, of course, so I've made that an exception to the rule. Though I'm not happy, I really don't want to fight this battle with them -- or Paul. Still, there have to be some limits. Paul has agreed to turn off the TV around the boys' bedtime and to wait until they're asleep before turning it back on. That way, the boys aren't tempted to stay awake trying to hear what's happening in the games.