The Great TVless Experiment: Days Two and Three

Day two wasn’t that eventful and thankfully not painful.  I did forget to mention a moment my son asked, “What do you want me to make for dinner tomorrow, Mom?”  Translation:  If I cook dinner, can I watch TV?

I said, “How about you cook up an apology for your dad?”

“I did.”

“Really?  Did it involve begging to have your consequences removed?”

He did apologize. That’s a great start.

Day three: today.  The kids seem to be fighting less already and are taking time to bond with each other, like looking at road kill.  I came home today and when my boys should have been home, they had wandered off together to look at a dead cat, after which they described it in great detail.  Yesterday it was a dead rat right in our cul-de-sac.

This no TV thing might be a terrible idea.


The Great TVless Experiment: Day One

I know TVless isn’t a word, mostly because of the red squiggly line underneath it.  I don’t care.

This morning I expected the children to sleep in because there’s no point in getting up if you can’t watch TV, right?  No, it was a good opportunity to sulk in the silence and (attempt to) make me feel guilty.  Moments later my son complained, “This is going to be the worst birthday ever!”

Today is not his birthday.  He’s realizing three days from now is his birthday and that will fall within the one week TV ban.  That’s too bad his ill behavior wasn’t better timed. It’s even sadder that I wasn’t sensing any real remorse because I was contemplating letting him watch the movie I bought him – the one he has been begging for since Christmas.

I said, “I think you need to focus less on how awful your birthday is going to be and more on making things right with your dad.  Do you understand what you did wrong?”

“He thought I was playing when I was trying to go poop.”  (This was his excuse for not being in bed after at least the 5th time we told him to get in bed, so when we got mad about it, he claimed victim.  He wasn’t playing.  He was merely waiting his turn to use the bathroom.  In a very boisterous way.)

“No, it was because when he confronted you about it, you started yelling at him and then at me.”

“I wasn’t yelling!”

“Yes, you were yelling.”

“NO I WASN’T!”  He wasn’t really building a great case for himself here.

I dropped the subject.  A while later he was looking for a plastic bag for his lunch, I helped him find one, and he said I never listen to him, stormed upstairs, and started banging something on his metal bunkbed.  He’s mad that I won’t believe his convincing story about his sudden urge to poop that arrived at a very convenient time – 15 minutes after the first time we told him to go to bed.  He had a large window of pooping opportunity and he didn’t take it.   He can’t stand to be wrong and I have never been able to get him to admit to wrong doing or apologize for it.  It’s a huge frustration, but I know it is hard to admit when you’re wrong.  This is something he needs to learn because someday he will be a husband who doesn’t apologize or admit to being wrong.  He’s a sweet kid most of the time, but this is an issue that we really need to tackle.  I’m not sure how to handle it.  He thinks sucking up afterwards is an apology, which it is not.  His wife will want an apology – not just flowers to smooth things over.  People need an acknowledgment that you know what you did wrong and will try hard to avoid repeating the behavior in the future.

I was gone for the day and later my oldest son turned on the TV.  He wasn’t actually one of the offenders last night, but he watches too much TV and I’m sick of it.  I said, “No TV.”  “Does that apply to me?”  “Yes.”  Soon to be birthday boy asked, “Does that mean no TV tomorrow?”

I think he was hoping I was temporarily mad and that I’ve gone soft.  A week means a week.  “Do I get to watch TV on my birthday?”  “It depends.” “On what?”  “On good behavior.”

He then switched over a load of laundry.  “Was that good behavior?”  He’s really counting on a quick “Get Out of Jail Free” card, but it’s not happening.  Tomorrow I will be home all day and will get to enjoy hours of bargaining attempts.  Bring it.


Making a Comeback

I’ve been through quite the ordeal since about halfway through my pregnancy with my 5th child.  I had what is called “Irritable Uterus” and couldn’t walk more than 10 steps, bend over, etc. without having a contraction.  This happened with all of my pregnancies from about 20 weeks on, but it was especially bad this time.  Before I even got out of bed in the morning, I sometimes found myself crying that I had to endure another day when it felt like my due date would never be here.  I was fortunate that it didn’t cause any cervical changes, but it was miserable.  Everywhere I went, people thought I was going into labor or that I should be on bedrest.  My midwives weren’t worried because I had a history of keeping my babies in just fine.  I joke that I have the most competent cervix in the world.

We moved when I was about 24 weeks pregnant in late July.  The heat made things even more miserable and then I failed my glucose test by three measly points and had to test my blood sugar five times a day at first.  Just as things were starting to level out blood sugar wise and I felt comfortable trying to push myself more physically without worrying about going into premature labor, I was rear ended at 35 weeks pregnant.  I was in terrible pain from my mid spine down to my thighs.  I had a difficult time lifting even an empty pot, putting on flip flops, getting in and out of the car, walking, getting in and out of bed, etc.  Worst of all, my frequent contractions were now making my spine throb.  As I attended my kids’ concerts and other events, I left crying.  I don’t cry easily and I only cried once during my previous four drug-free labors.  The one time was after a week of labor and two hours feeling the urge to push without being allowed to yet.

I was also a lame mother who couldn’t seem to follow through with anything and the kids knew it.  Of course, I had the baby shortly after that which comes with other physical ailments and had a rather long postpartum recovery.  Eight week later, I still had issues from the car accident.  I finally scheduled some physical therapy visits, but dreaded figuring out how to make it work with my baby.  It has been an absolute joy having her here with us and the kids adore her, but there has also been a lot of fighting and disrespectful behavior because I struggle even to do some of the most basic things, let alone chase kids up and down the stairs and make them comply with the rules.  I couldn’t even seem to tell my husband where I wanted him to hang up pictures on the walls in our new home.  On one hand, I didn’t want to walk into the room and look because of pain.  On the other, I felt strangely mentally unable to even make the decision.  I thought we would end up with holes everywhere after I decided I didn’t like it there after all.

Between two of our boys in particular, there has been a lot of name calling, teasing, and rough housing that leads to someone crying.  They also make a joke out of it when we expect them to go to bed.  We don’t care if they want to read for a while in their rooms, but for them to run downstairs to play or continue fighting with each other at almost 10pm, I had had it.  I suddenly found myself uttering this horrifying phrase.


I believe his exact words were, “NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!”

Hmmm.  Dr. Phil once said, “Find your child’s currency.”  Found it!

The disrespectful behavior not only continued, but escalated.  I had to follow through and actually feel like I can deal with it!  Hallelujah!  It’s going to be a miserable week of groveling though and questions like, “If I do x, y, and z, can I watch TV?”


“What can I do to get my TV privileges back?”

“Nothing.  You’re being punished after being warned.  This is so you will know next time that I mean it.”

“WHAT?!?!  You mean there’s no way I can watch TV?!”

“Nope.  But good behavior will prevent me from extending the time you don’t get to watch TV.”

I have now set parental codes on the TV which will make it impossible for them to even watch a DVD.  No Netflix.  Nothing.

I will use this blog space of mine to scientifically document their TVless anguish.  I’m starting to feel like me again!