The goddess watches too much TV. I aid and abet her in this enterprise by letting her get away with it because I don’t want to entertain her. I appease my conscience by telling myself that children’s television is MUCH more educational than it used to be. I mean, Dora is bilingual and Sesame Street teaches reading.
Unfortunately, however, she does not watch those shows. She exists on a steady diet of “Sponge Bob”, “Drake and Josh” and “Hannah Montana”. Not exactly programming aimed at getting your child into Harvard.
So this morning, after she had begun the Sunday Sponge Bob marathon, I girded my loins (thanks Nancy!) and went into my bedroom. She was draped over the foot of my bed, 7 inches from the television screen, her eyes bugging out of her head and brain cells slowly dying and being replaced with celluloid images of technicolor starfish. I turned the TV off and she whipped her head around and stared at me in horror.
“Sweetie, let’s try to do something other than watch TV this morning,” I chirped cheerily, mentally trying to prepare myself for the onslaught of whining. She did not disappoint.
“But it wasn’t oooooooooooooooooooovvvvvvvvvvvvvvvveerrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr,” she keened pitifully. Because she had only seen that episode a mere 37 times and how could I possibly deprive her of a chance to make it 38?
I had an unpleasant vision of what life would be like if my adult children became crack addicts and moved back into the house. I think it might be easier to get them off crack than off of Sponge Bob. The process of eliminating television could certainly be considered detox. I held her gently, murmuring to her that it would be fine, the tremors would pass and the bugs would stop crawling over her skin.
We moved into the kitchen and ate breakfast together, she trying to assimilate being at the table instead of eating in front of the TV. We ate our homemade, organic granola (no, I’m lying, it was Pillsbury cinnamon rolls) and she asked for music. Inspiration struck, and I located the XM kids channel on AOl. Suddenly, she was happy. Because that station plays music from Nickelodeon, so it was a lot like watching TV.
To keep her busy, I gave her a bunch of paper towels and some window cleaner and instructed her to clean the glass on the front door. That diverted her for awhile, but I could see she was clearly still uncomfortable, in the throes of physical withdrawal from her addiction. When she got tired of washing windows, she started vaccuuming.
That was scary. I let her use the wand attachment and she marched through the house with it held aloft. I was in mortal fear of her whacking out a window with it or sucking up one of the schnauzers, but she managed to eliminate a fair number of hairballs without causing any collateral damage.
When that got old, a whole fifteen minutes had passed since the TURNING OFF OF THE TELEVISION. She was sweating lightly and the tremors were more pronounced. In desperation, I told her to go upstairs and bring down some toys and she could play while I cleaned. She liked that idea, so she went upstairs and returned with the Littlest Pet Shop Mega Mansion.
For the uninitiated, Littlest Pet Shop animals are tiny, bobble headed creatures with exaggerated, googly eyes. They multiply in corners and are sharp and pointy and most uncomfortable when your bare foot comes down squarely on one of them. Anyway, they live in a giant pink and green mega mansion and the goddess brought this down and set it up in the living room, right by the front door where I was mopping. She then went back up to get the animals and could not find them.
After listening to her moan for ten minutes, I went up and found them, coincidentally, right where they belonged. I helped her pack up all 340 of them and helped her get them downstairs. And she actually began to play. Alone. Happily. With No Television!!
At this writing, it has been six hours since the Turning Off and she is feeling much better. One of her school friends has come over to play and I am hoping that keeps her mind off the television. I bet I’ve save at least six brain cells from permanent extinction today!