Could you survive a TV-less summer?

Our television recently died.

Well, six weeks, four days and 12 hours ago if you’re counting (which is what I thought my husband would do).

I know this would send many people into a panic but let me assure you we still have two other televisions–one in the basement and another tucked away in our bedroom. Both rarely get used due to their locations. The television in our family room had become as much a part of us as the family pet.

Except we don’t own any animals.

We did, however, feed our television daily. Sometimes several meals a day. We formed the habit of turning on the children’s cartoons as they ate breakfast. Out of laziness, it would sometimes remain on for a couple of hours as we went about our day. We would turn off the television for the often-insipid daytime programs but then would bring it back to life during our favorite Primetime shows.

We currently cannot afford to replace that television so discussed the possibility of bringing the television from our bedroom into the family room.

Until I proposed the unthinkable: to do an experiment and not watch TV for the summer.

To clarify, I wasn’t proposing we cut out our television-viewing habits completely, just limit ourselves and not replace the one that we watch 95% of the time in the most convenient location.

Out of the four of us, my husband probably watches the most television and has gotten into the bad habit of falling asleep in front of it. The kids need their early-morning Dora the Explorer fix like some adults need their caffeine. I probably watch the least but am not without my own sacrifices: I get a lot of work done when my children are plunked in front of it.

I feared the backlash would be similar to when we weaned Haddie from her binky at the ripe ol’ age of 18 months (think: heroin withdrawal). Do you know what, though? Six weeks, four days and 12 hours into (but who’s counting?) we’re surviving. In fact, I’d even say we’re thriving. I can’t say I will ever become one of those anti-television zealots because, welp, I need my Matt Lauer fix. And I cannot discount the educational value of television, as my daughter Hadley demonstrated when she was about to turn 2.

For several months, I had been incessantly reciting 123s and ABCs wherever we went. She would occasionally list off the occasional number just to shut me up but really, she was more focused on becoming am alphabet prodigy. One day we were in the car and I attempted to teach her how to say she was “2 years old,” in honor of her birthday at the end of the month.

She gave me her typical teen-aged “Why are you bothering me, Mother,” look and then casually blurted out, “1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10.” I stopped, shocked. “Did you just count to 10, Hadley?” She repeated herself, this time throwing in the number 11 for good measure. Showoff.

I was practically jumping for joy! Finally, all those countless hours of teaching her, of slaving over her growth had finally paid off! I had a glimmer of hope that I was making at least some difference in her life! Bursting with pride, I wanted acknowledgment and gratitude for my efforts. “Hadley, who taught you to count to 10?”


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