When we lived with Bruce's parents, it got me through many a long day. When Emmie would nap, I would hide upstairs in our room and watch TV in bed. This was mainly because Bruce's dad was always in the living room, watching the TV down there, usually Rocky or Jaws for the bazillionth time. Who knew those movies are on every day?
|Emmie watches Super Why! too close. I am about to say, "Back up, baby!"|
Part of me feels guilty for letting her watch TV. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children under the age of two have no exposure to television, or any kind of screen in general (see: "Babies and Toddlers Should Learn from Play Not Screens"). One time we went to a garage sale, and the lady there tried to sell us her old Baby Einstein videos. "Put that on," she advised, "and you can get some house work done. The kids won't move a muscle." I remember thinking that I would never be the kind of parent who props her child in front of a TV. Ha!
When we bought the house, we made the conscious decision not to get cable because 1) we couldn't afford the atrocious cost, and 2) we felt we'd all be better off. We realized that both of our parents have TV on in their houses constantly. It's like a loud, black hole in the room; you can try to talk over it, but it ends up sucking everyone in.
Bruce and I do watch TV after Emmie goes to bed. It's so relaxing to plop down on the couch after a frenzied day of working/child-rearing and engage in passive entertainment. We have an HD TV antenna, which gets in a few local channels. Bruce's parents share their Netflix account with us. We also have access to On Demand via a shared password, which we watch together by plugging our laptop into the TV. This has all been more than sufficient.
Until Sunday, that is, when Bruce worried he wouldn't be able to get the Bears football game on the antenna. Suddenly, not having cable was a real detriment. Luckily, he found a way to stream the game live from the laptop. Crisis averted.
I was telling my friend Jeanette over the phone how Bruce ended up watching the game, and she laughed. She, like almost all my friends, doesn't have cable, either. She said, "You know what they call it, when people don't pay for TV and instead watch for free on their computers? Hipster cable."
My friend Lorelei is a social worker who's had "hipster cable" for longer than anyone I know. She made the decision years ago after being a nanny for a family who didn't have a TV. She said their house was so peaceful, the children were so alert and eager for learning and adventure. They were the coolest family.
We want to raise Emmie like that, in a house where we sit at the dinner table together and talk. One where she can pick up a book without distraction. For the past five months, we've lived in that house. Besides the hour Emmie gets to watch a show, the TV isn't on. We play outside or inside. We draw on the chalkboard wall or color in coloring books. We put on music and dance (all three of us - if you could see in our windows, you'd laugh). On nice days, we go for walks.
It looks like those days are over, however, unless we make a solid effort to stay true to our vision. Yesterday, the company that provides our internet called to remind us that our promotional rate was going to expire. Next month, the bill would be raised by $20. But wouldn't you know, they just so happened to have a new promotion for the next 12 months' billing cycles that would make our internet speed three times faster AND they'd throw in basic cable, for only $10 more than what we're paying now! We'd have to act fast, though, because this deal won't last for long!
Ugh. Those jerks, they got us. We live in a remote area without any other options for internet. We can't even shop around. We were looking at either paying $20 more for the same service, or $10 more for internet + cable. Bruce's eyes started sparkling at the thought of American Idol without spotty antenna reception and So. Much. Football. On a BIG SCREEN.
I have to admit, it would be nice to watch Downtown Abbey on PBS when it airs. It's hard to ignore Twitter and the media until you've caught up with your favorite popular show.
So we're doing it. Bye, bye hipster cable. Hello again, soul-sucking contraption. It's going to be hard not to tune in to prime time while Emmie's still awake, but I am determined to stay resolute. That black hole with its brain-washing commercials, warped news coverage, shocking imagery, and glorification of immorality will not overcome us.
I will never let the TV rule, for as long as I am lady of the house!