at our house, as is the case in probably most homes with children that are quite young, we spend a lot of time changing diapers and outfits, stopping people from hurting themselves, a lot of time comforting people that have hurt themselves and a lot of time playing make-believe games and cleaning up messes. we are only now entering the phase with ruth where she is somewhat old enough to embark on some more grown-up type games and thank god. i was about to lose it if i had to somehow make it through another winter of repetitive fantasy land games with little to no rules alone. finally, we can integrate some more intellectually stimulating (for me and greg) stuff too.
i bought ruth a stack of uno cards last summer after visiting the park where the craft person who is there all summer had the kids playing board games. i thought there was a chance ruth could catch on to the game. she knew colors, after all, and some numbers. i could help and maybe it would be ok. well, our first game quickly degraded into frustration and boredom for us. frustration for me, boredom for ruth. i tucked the cards away, only bringing them back a few times to see if things would go better.
well, yesterday was daylights savings time, as you are all aware out there by how freakishly early it got dark. it was only 6:30 and the panic began to set in. two hours before bedtime, a wrecked house, two energetic kids. what should we do?? i decided to gamble and i broke the cards out once more.
and, would you know, ruth, greg, and i had a great time playing uno for about forty five minutes. ruth was giggling the whole time and especially liked it when she could tell one of us to “pick up two cards, dad!” then she broke out her maniacal four year old mad scientist laugh. i thought that joel might be a problem but he can be incredibly resourceful at times and busied himself nearly the entire time with ruth’s little people doll house.
it was just the small amount of stimulation and recreation that greg and i seem to have been missing for so long with the kids so young around here. the game finally ended abruptly when joel finally got fed up, crawled up on the card table and then crowd-surfed onto my lap, kicking over the entire deck of cards in the process. ruth, who had clearly been standing still for too long, soon joined suit, forgot all about the game and began climbing up and jumping off onto greg. we had to shrug our shoulders. we had played the game for a pretty long time. we were happy.
at times like these, i can finally express my satisfaction at us not having a tv because it feels like we’ve at last reached a place where we can begin integrating some fun (for adults and kids alike) games and activities that are a much more active and interactive way to pass the time than watching tv. i am thankful (though i haven’t always felt this way, especially in the doldrums of winter of the past few years) that we made the decision we did to kill our tv so long ago so that now, at this point, we don’t have to try and shift gears suddenly. we can just start building up things in the space left over by the tv (but that greg and i scarcely miss and the kids don’t even realize is there).
if you haven’t killed your tv yet, i strongly recommend it. it can feel oddly silent and lonely at first, but you quickly find things to fill up the space and your time that you might find brings you closer with the people you live with.
will i ever work up the gumption to kill facebook? god, i hope so. give me strength.