September 17, 2009

The kids have decided to go without screen time for awhile.   They have given up their Gameboys.  They have given up movies on the VCR.  They have given up youtube.  This was all their own decision.  Something they chose for themselves.  It did not come from parents.  But after a week, I am reminded of something I knew when they were babies.  The less time kids spend in front of screens, the happier they are.  Sorry.  I wish it was not true.  I love my screens.  But, for our family, the evidence is irrefutable. 

They spent the day, yesterday, making Christmas stocking stuffers for grownup's stockings.  Normally Santa does not visit grownups in our house.  Then last year we told the kids where Santa really lives.  So now they are making their own rules for Christmas.  Yesterday I kept thinking of Charles Dickens and of keeping Christmas all the year.   I saw the light and excitement in the kid's faces because they were planning their giving and I felt and saw genuine love and gratitude and isn't that exactly what keeping Christmas is supposed to be about?   This was a random event in our house.  A thing the kids thought up to please themselves.  They got out a calendar and counted: exactly 100 days till Christmas. 

We listen to NPR on the way to the barn each morning.  Today there was a fascinating story about some scientists who have given colorblind monkeys the ability to see colors.   We noticed something important about their discovery.  These scientists asked neuroscientists if it might be possible for monkeys who were born colorblind to be genetically altered so they could see color.   The neuroscientists were unequivocal.  No, it would not be possible.  But they did it.  The kids and I loved hearing all about it.

An hour ago Ry said, "Mom, my spelling is getting better ever since I started writing a book."  I asked her if she knew what that is called?  "Reading?"  No, that is called learning. 

Henry has been playing with Legos again.  He asked if we could go to Walmart for candles and tinfoil.  These things, he needs for a secret project.   He still practices his Italian when the mood strikes him.

The kids have been folding laundry.  Seriously.  Let me repeat that.  The kids have been folding laundry. Spontaneously, without being asked, simply because it needed folding.  I know, it seems like I might be high or delusional.  But it is true.  Neuroscientists thought it was impossible.  But we've proved them wrong.

And I know tomorrow may be full of whining and pain and woe.  Tomorrow, I may feel despondent about our chaotic house and the endless amount of food I prepare and I may wish for a paying job.  But lately, the news is cheerful.  The kids are not bickering.  They are playing a game they've invented called, "Balance Me Bickers."   "Because, Mom, we do balancing and it always causes bickering."  They giggle and run upstairs.

And I sit here, avoiding cooking dinner, and think.  Money is tight this year.  We can't really afford the ballet classes that Ry wants to take.  But this might be our year to really relax into the truth of our life.  Unschooling works.   I keep saying it.  Obviously, I need to keep hearing it.  Can it be true?   I feel like a colorblind monkey raising them who can see the full spectrum.  It feels beautiful, like Christmas.   Even so, I get scared.  But look at them.  They live in such a colorful world.  And the colors aren't coming out of a screen.


Mommylion said...

I want to play Balance me Bickers too. Only my version it will be more of a mental balance I am going for. :)

What a lovely time, K :) Thank you for sharing it. I am bound to come reread this post on my doubting days.

rae said...

Isn't the phenomenon of no screen time amazing? I love days that the girls have no screens to occupy them - they do such a better job of filling their days with actual experiences. Why can't I remember that?

Faith asked me yesterday if books were better than the movies made from books? She told me she thought so. I love that she figured that out by herself - by READING. Right now she struggles to put down Lemony Snicket, and that makes me smile right down to my toes.

We have rich and beautiful lives, don't we?

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful post.
Money may be tight but you are obviously very wealthy in other areas.

Anonymous said...

You write so beautifully. Life is good. love, V

Anonymous said...

This is a lovely "keeper" post. Beautifully said. Beautiful children. Beautiful life lessons. And puts to rest all those nay sayers. How confirming to not only yourself but to all of us. Thanks for sharing.