binary girl: the secret blog

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shh!

no screens

November 18th, 2013 at 11:59

We did a day entirely without screens yesterday, which sounds like it should be obvious, but in our world, is not. Brandon loves his phone because he is addicted to a couple of mobile games (on a rotating schedule — once it was Simspons Tapped Out, now it’s Puzzles and Dragons); I love my phone because I’m addicted to social networking and my gamut of RSS feeds; Katie and Max love TV and Kinect Party and abcmouse.com and lots of their iPad apps (currently Trees of Doom, Angry Birds, Pet Rescue Saga, Tiny Gods, and the Bob Books app). Normally we pepper our weekend activities with “breaks” of a show while breakfast is being made, etc., but we REALLY want to get out of that habit (and normally do for a while, and then something happens and it all reverts).

In the morning, the kids and I played a bit and had breakfast. Brandon and Katie took the dogs for a walk together while Max and I played t-ball outside, then the dog-walkers returned and they played while I took a shower. They then started playing alone together, so we waited until a natural pause to all pile in the car and drive down to a local furniture store to look at bunk beds — because we’ve already ordered a twin Jack-n-Jill trundle for Max’s room, and needed to get around to ordering a bigger bed for Katie, as well. (They’re currently in toddler beds converted from their cribs.) We ran around the store for a good while before finally deciding on the bed for Katie, and then decided to take part in their Toys For Tots No Sale Tax drive, so we walked to Tuesday Morning to get something to donate (which turned into quite the negotiation as to which toys they thought they were also getting). We got a play tent and brought it back to complete our purchase.

At this point, Mommy had fairly had it with the constant whining and yelling, but I took them all to lunch at Johnny Rocket’s anyway — a huge mistake, as they were having two parties and the place was packed/slow/not great, quality-wise. The kids were manageable enough, though, that I took them grocery shopping with me and B instead of taking them home first (partially influenced by the fact that Max is obsessed with Llama Llama books and wanted to reenact part of “Llama Llama Mad At Mama”). Next to our Safeway is a Blockbuster that’s going out of business, so we went in — and I had this weird moment of realization that my kids had never been into a video rental store before and that they really had no idea what they were seeing. Both of them picked every kid movie that looked remotely familiar and we narrowed them down (narrowing them down further upon checkout because wow, kid movies tend to be scratched to hell) to the two Nanny McPhees (and then B added Paul and Year One to the pile).

Grocery store was fine, even though Max was tired and I had to Mama Llama him a couple of times. Max has entirely given up napping at home, so when we got back, I laid two sleeping bags on the floor and told them it was quiet time, which persisted until 4 (and through a tantrum from the young sir). Then the three of us went to the hot tub for a while and I regaled them with stories about Disneyland, telling them how Ava and Shane had just taken Griffin and Storm for their second visit, and telling them about every ride. Both of them were enthralled with the idea of the Haunted Mansion (likely because it would scare them silly) and we talked about it for a long time, considering the fact that I told them we weren’t going anytime soon. :)

After the hot tub, I made dinner while Brandon played Zingo with them (a board game). Then we played dentist (so I could do some teeth cleaning) and they played together quietly for an hour… which was really weird. Not a single fight, good imaginative play, and lots of laughing. It was awesome! Then they went to bed!

Woo!

This morning no one asked for TV and they played games while eating breakfast. Let’s see how long the streak continues!

Pros: parents were more engaged overall, kid behavior was more manageable, kids entertained each other a lot.
Cons: totally behind on Facebook, didn’t get to alleviate frustrations at kidly behavior with a tv break. :P

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