Thursday, September 20, 2007

Vital as breathing

Since P died, I've fallen into a bad habit of letting G turn on the television when we get home and leave it on all evening. I do it because it keeps her occupied while I cook dinner and get stuff done around the house, but it really just starts a cascade of problems with homework and bathing and bedtime. She ends up going to bed too late, and then I can't get her out of bed in the morning and she's late to school. It's not quite three weeks into the year, and she's been late four times, which means that any day now I'm going to get a letter from the school scolding me about it. And I already have enough stress in my life without that, thanks very much.

So yesterday morning, as we were on the way to school (late), I told her that obviously she's not getting enough sleep, so from now on, every time I can't get her up in the morning, she will come home that night and eat, do homework, take a shower and go straight to bed -- no TV. It didn't seem to bother her at the time, but when we got home last night and she realized that I actually meant it, she had a FIT.

G: Can't I even watch one thing?
Me: No.
G: Not even one short show?
Me: No.
G (starts to cry): But I have a natural instinct to watch TV!
Me (turning away so she can't see me snorting at that): Sorry. I said no TV, so no TV.
G: I can't eat without TV! I can't LIVE without TV!
Me: You'll be fine.
G: (sobbing) If you won't let me watch TV, then I won't eat dinner.
Me: Well, that's your choice, but you sure are going to be sad and hungry while I eat this delicious spaghetti.
G: I might starve to death!
Me: Actually, it takes about two weeks of not eating to starve to death. Do you want sprinkle cheese on yours?
G (sullenly): Yes please.

She complained off and on for a while after that, but she did her homework and took a shower and was reading in bed by 8 p.m. And this morning she got up with no fuss and made it to school on time. I think I may have won a battle there.


Humincat said...

We had the same problem here in first grade, I think we were late about 30 times! So we started the rules about T.V.:
Only after homework is done
None before school.
Only if behavior is acceptable.
Children's choices are secondary to parents choices, and if you don't like what I'm watching, go read a book.
They have worked really well for us, and the stricter I am, the easier it goes.

FosterAbba said...

We decided that paying $70 a month for satellite TV was stupid. We have NO television at all.

Our kid moaned and complained for a day or two. Then that was the end of it.

Well-heeled mom said...

We have the same problem and I'm not quite sure how and when it happened. I remember being so proud of my son that didn't even know what a cartoon was and all the other kids were glued to a television set.

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