Holiday Yammerings

After being bamboozled two days ago with a 24 hour bug (flu, tummy thing, or just run down) I’m a bit less prepared for the Holiday Break that starts at 3:00pm today. I had all these plans of preparation for new art supplies, projects, library books, etc., but those will be coming today or tomorrow. On Wednesday I was hit with a fever and tummy ache that had me in bed most of the day. I’m not sure what hit me, but I was fine the following morning… I’d cleaned my new self-cleaning oven on Tuesday, and the entire house reeked intensely of chemicals, but I’ll never know if that’s what did it. Yes, chemical exposure can cause flu-like symptoms, and the minute I first smelled it my head didn’t feel right, and I experienced some major nausea… but still, we’ll never know. I do know that I’m not cleaning it again unless I absolutely have to, and only when it’s warm enough to open every single window in the house.

Anyway, today I’m rearranging our little house for a card table that we can do puzzles on. Daniel found a huge box of twelve really amazing, complex puzzles so the kids will be very busy. I’m not sure how most homes operate around here over the holidays, but I have a feeling most kids have a lot of electronic gadgetry to keep them busy. Prasad told me after school on Tuesday, “Everyone in my class is talking about the new video games they’re getting for Christmas. I mean EVERYBODY, Mom. Their brains are going to be the size of peanuts when they come back to school!” Of course, I laughed. When I hear comments like that, it brings me back into the modern world and I realize how odd it must be to be my kid, and live like we do in this day and age. Are we nuts? I can’t even imagine what they think or how they feel when kids talk about all their Xboxes, Playstations, Wii games, iPods, Disney Channel shows, etc. We don’t have cable TV, or even regular network TV for that matter, nor do we have video games (unless you count the retro Atari games like Pac Man and Pong). They don’t act deprived or upset about it at all, so that helps. I’m grateful to know they will have a rich childhood, filled with memories of reading great stories, writing plays together, playing games, chatting with family, dancing with Mom, playing with Amelie, and most of all their minds will be better off than most of their generation. Just my personal opinion, of course, with a lot of scientific research to back it up. This isn’t some lifelong thing we’re doing to our kids… in their teens I’m sure we’ll gradually bring in a few devices here and there, but the quality of these early, developmental years will impact them for a lifetime.

Without much ‘screen time’ we have to get creative over long breaks like these. Believe me, there are times when I wish I could just plop them in front of a TV or game and have them leave me alone for hours… I’ll feel that way more than once during the next 17 days! They will have special episodes of their favorite shows to watch on Netflix (through our computer) in the mornings, they’ll do computer games on their favorite websites, but those things are always special treats that are used as leverage. I found some ginormous word search, maze and crossword books to keep them busy, and a few of their presents should keep them occupied a while.

Sorin and Liam are leaving today for their dad’s house in Kansas City. They’ll stay until Monday or Tuesday, and then go back on the afternoon of Christmas day. We’ve decided to make a delicious Indian meal on Christmas Eve, and we are all drooling our way to that occasion! Well, Sorinis not thrilled… she’s not a fan of Indian food, but I’m planning a couple dishes she may like a lot.

Most of the gifts are wrapped and I’m done with shopping (cannot believe I’m saying that and it’s only the 17th). Interestingly, this ‘small house’ thing is really paying off, and in ways I didn’t expect. Somehow, Christmas isn’t that much work any more… I know I must have far more energy for it, but I don’t realize that until these big old stressors show up. I’ve been parenting for 19 years, and this is the very first year I have ever felt so carefree and productive during the holidays. What a special Christmas gift to me!

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5 Responses to Holiday Yammerings

  1. Lindsey says:

    I LOVE Prasad’s comment about how small his classmates brains will be when they get back to school.. haha. So cute. And nice to know that the kids really don’t miss the electronics. I hope to have an unplugged childhood for my kid(s) too. 🙂

    • jillpeebles says:

      I think letting them have a little plug in time (however small) keeps them from feeling deprived. Funny thing is, I think being plugged in a lot would be a form of childhood deprivation.

  2. Patti Dickinson says:

    We have a Wii. And the kids (and adults!) have a hilarious good time when we all get together and play — college kids, their friends and boy/girlfriends. I DO think it is possible to have a “rich childhood” with cable or video games in the house.

    Research tells us that those first three years are critical years for children’s development. And I think that plunking kids in front of Sesame Street as a babysitter is not good for kids. And if you take that a step further, I would guess that daycare wouldn’t qualify for the best possible childhood. I am grateful that I was able to stay home with my kids. But there are many women who cannot afford to do what I did. Single moms, or two-income families that just couldn’t make the dollars stretch far enough. It’s a complicated subject.

  3. roadtosam says:

    People are SHOCKED that Sam has just a couple videos and a couple shows he watches. The TV is NOT on non-stop and we have a lot of quiet play time with no electronic toys, just blocks, books, stuffed animals, hot wheels, drawing, etc. I made our stockings and a new hat for Sam and his cousin’s presents. Sam made his grandparents presents. Sam is getting 1 purchased present (a drawing easel) and the rest will be left-over hot wheels from his birthday, and drawing supplies. I have BEGGED for no electric/computer/anything for the holidays…just drawing supplies, books or clothing.
    I love being less commercial, less electronic. I remember the loveliness of reading a book on the porch as a child, or riding my bike, or making up a song…and want Sam to have THOSE memories, not WII 4.0 or whatever it is.

    • jillpeebles says:

      Awesome, Meg. It’s all about choices, but I usually find it difficult to explain our choices to other people. I understand that people have decent childhoods with Wii games and all sorts of electronics, but I do think a GREAT DEAL of time is wasted on them, and that they can be highly addictive. I know my kids, and if we had a lot of electronic stuff around, they’d be obsessed with it. Instead, their minds are focused on creativity, and they actually physically get outside and play games instead of virtual ones on a screen. Until their teens I think limiting screen time is very important.
      So glad to hear from you, Meg!

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