I wish I could say that I do everything right when it comes to motherhood. I wish I could find that elusive handbook and read it cover to cover. Until then, I need to trust my gut, and my gut is telling me that video games and TV is the devil. The boys don’t watch much TV or play any video games during the week. On the weekends, they got up early and played that stupid Minecraft and watched those annoying Stampy Longhead videos.
This week was the first week of summer vacation and I, thinking I would do something indulgent before they started swim team next week, let them play video games and watch TV all week. I’ve noticed over the years that too much results in bad behavior, but this week was something else. Mikey got in fights with his best friend over an iphone game. The argued over handball. In the pool the squabbled about something else, and then Mikey and Nico got in a fight over a pool toy. Nico started crying. He interrupted me in the middle of conversations with adults. Their room, normally messy, was a veritable fire hazard.
By Wednesday afternoon, the 3rd day of summer vacation, I had enough. On Thursday I woke up and found them playing video games even though I told them the day before they were not to play without my permission. Needless to say, many words flew out of my mouth. Mikey and Nico found themselves deeply regretting their decision to put off making their beds.
I put a moratorium on video games until I say so. I limited TV to Doctor Who with dad when he gets home. I told them to enjoy the summer the way I used to enjoy it as a kid: no video games, no cable, no long drives to amusement parks and special events where a hamburger costs $11. In short, God gave you an imagination. Use it.
We played Monopoly for almost 3 hours. Nico, with three railroads and Boardwalk, was the dominator of board games. They made their lunch. Mikey had a cheese sandwich and Nico a veggie burger. We sat outside. The boys played a game of kick ball with the neighborhood kids while I read a book. Later, they had a Nerf gun war in the backyard. They played a game of chess until the Mister came home. We ate dinner and watched Doctor Who. When it was time to go to bed, Nico fell asleep quickly and Mikey finished the third book in the Wereworld series.
It’s possible they were on their best behavior because I lost my temper that morning, but I still think video games and TV are devils. I know that yesterday, after a week of annoyances and outbursts, there wasn’t a single fight between brothers. There were no tears of misunderstanding. There was no sass or defiance. It was nice. Really, really nice.
Have a happy, happy weekend, everyone!